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Rome

Four days

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Rome, then, embraces our final wandering paths of Italian soil in 2022. So much history is fixed here, events we learned about (or should have) since grammar school. Romulus and Remus, Catullus, Cicero, Julius Caesar and adopted heir Augustus, first-bishop Peter, pre-Stradivarius Nero, a whole catalog of Popes, famous and infamous.

Much of the history has its own mementos in the artifacts that are both carefully tended and explained — with a fun mixture of scholar's acuity and imaginative humor. For myself, it is again a conflict between sites with whole hordes of visitors, standing shoulder to shoulder with smartphones held aloft toward, say, the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel ... between that scenario, as I say, and less-traveled paths through ruins with their own stories clutched between bricks held with Roman-invented mortar. Under the Colosseum (see below photo), that is, rather than revisiting its more calendar-page skyline.

Incredible sights, from art to archaeology to church history

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There must be time to visit the Palatine Hill and ancient Roman Forum, to walk around and touch the old stones. To imagine and contemplate, to try to capture what visual/audio reminders as I may be able to — a video is under mental pre-construction even now.

And this ... I want to spend reflective time in the presence of shadows of my centuries-ago spiritual siblings. Not to get a shiver or buzz walking past a stash of old monks' bones piled high, as in some Capuchin-guarded ossuary, either. No, it's more just being

in the little rooms down there in the catacombs, where those faithful to Jesus assembled, where they buried their dead, declaring their certainty that even mighty (pre-Constantine) Rome did not have the final authority. Not on earth and certainly never in Heaven.

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is nothing like the sterile and boring habitations offered by gigantic hotel chains. It's a warm and homey yet truly artistic place.

I like to show just the feel of the places we will inhabit as the weeks pass, while we're not out coping with Italian signs and odd traffic and new sights — met while getting from here to way the heck south of this temporary neighborhood (as in bicycling on the Via Appia for several miles). This representative room

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So next an inter-city train to a week

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They're Going Again!