Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Just another day in Urbe...

This afternoon was spent swimming in the sea off the Port of Rome, Civitavecchia (it's old Latin name was better, Centumcellae). Civitavecchia was founded by the Emperor Trajan and built between 103-110. In May of 1943 it was bombed and was never rebuilt properly. If you ever have the interest be sure to visit their giant outdoor grocery market some morning (70 km from Rome).

Italians have little sense of real estate development. Their shores remain underdeveloped. The lousy beach in Civitavecchia is covered with sharp stones with little to no sand. But the joy is to swim out and then to look back from the waters and see the Michelangelo Fortress at the entrance to the port (where Santa Fermina once lived) and then the Villa dei Principi Odescalchi on the lovely Borgo Odescalchi (where Elettra Marconi was born).

Yesterday I had 17 tour clients from Iowa. One had last seen the Pietà at the World's Fair in New York in 1964. He mentioned how at the Vatican pavilion there was a colored light on the statue and they passed it on a moving floor and that it was behind glass. Another client in the same group mentioned how she saw Nikita Khrushchev with her new husband in Iowa in 1959.

Makes me think of the client I had earlier this year who saw Cardinal Pacelli in New York in 1936 or of the elderly New Jersey lady I met in the lobby of the Vatican Museums this July who was born in 1918, soon will be turning ninety, and just came to Rome for the first time with her twin daughters to fulfill a dream.

So much wisdom, history and knowledge in the elderly. May they be respected and admired.

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