Emerging from the catacombs of darkness into the light...
Anyhow, I recently returned from my first ever holiday in Italy (I started learning Italian two years ago) and I had an awesome time.
I was mostly based in Rome but I took a few day trips away to Tivili (ended up crashing an Italian period drama charting the de Medici dynasty starring Dustin Hoffman and I was not invited to become an extra. I am still sad) and Orvieto. All I can say is that I walked over 30 miles or 50km during my holiday. Probably partly counterbalancing all the food and wine .
On the first day, I decided that I would do the Vatican so I did all the usual things (went around the Museums twice because there was so much to see!). The Sistine Chapel was beautiful but surprisingly small. After walking for around six hours, I foolishly decided to walk to the top of St Peters. THE PAIN. However, the view from the cuppola was amazing - I took a video on my phone and it was awesome - sunny clear blue skies. It was really nice to see the Tomb of St Peter and be present during a German Mass that was going on. However, whilst the cathedral was beautiful I didn't really get the "feel" for it. It felt too touristy.
SS Maria Maggiore on the other hand I loved and I was present (front row seats essentially) when they were breaking down the door seal for the Jubilee Year (lots of cardinals, bishiops, priests and two two Ukrainian Catholics (a bishop and a deacon I believe). I also ended up having a chat with Monsignor Guido Marini (the Master of Pontifical Liturgical Celebrations) who was really nice. I ended up complaining about the difficulty of the Italian grammar (?!) to which he replied "slowly, slowly, it will come to you". That trip was towards the end of my holiday and I did find a very nice church which was being adopted to serve the needs of the Eritrean or Ethiopian Orthodox Church (not sure which one).
I also visited the Pontifical Oriental Institute and saw / prayed at the beautiful chapel there along with Fr Samir Khalil Samir (former pro-rector) with whom I had a very pleasant long chat about Italy, history, the churches, etc. It turns out he used to teach Metropolitan John (one of the kidnapped Syrian bishops).
Last edited by AntonI; 12/07/15 06:41 AM.