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Archive for March, 2008

My favorite place

My favorite place in the whole wide world- other than my cosy home, of course- is Rome. I love the contrast of the ancient and modern, I love the mixture of smells- car exhust, basil, honeysuckle, garbage- I love the frantic pace of mopeds, but most of all I love the Aventine Hill.

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My favorite part of Rome begins at a steep, steep street, Clivo di Rocca Savella, which I call Cleopatra’s Way. I was told a storey that this steep street was the street that Cleopatra escaped to the Tiber in the dead of night. The street has high, ancient stone walls and the cobblestones are flat and smooth from years of feet climbing up and down the path. The moss and ferns give off a musty smell and there is little sound, so you can imagine Cleopatra running down the incline to her bark on the Tiber.

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Up Cleopatra’s way past the Orange Garden to Santa Sabina, the church that I imagine in my mind when I need a surge of faith. In Santa Sabina the high windows flood the nave and apse with filtered light through lead-lined panes, painting an intricate pattern on the walls and marble floor. The church is almost 1,500 years old and very simple in design. I feel the Spirit of God and Jesus when I think of the beauty of Santa Sabina.

Down the road from Santa Sabina is the keyhole of the Knights of Malta. Peer into the keyhole and see a beautiful cypress-lined path shooting a straight line-of-sight to Saint Peter’s! The world feels timeless peering through the keyhole- the image of Saint Peter’s unchanged to the thousands of eyes that have gazed upon it. I feel a connection to everyone who discovered the secret of the keyhole- they know, too, the beauty of Roma.

A little while a way, past a park and down a tree lined street is my old hotel, now someone’s home. I remember how I hated the hot little room they gave us. Now I wish more than anything to relive that hot summer I spent on Aventine Hill and savor the sights, tastes and smell of my beloved Italy.

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