Peregrination

Walking around Rome

Despite it being September, Rome was hot. And humid. Not that I had a good reason to expect Rome to be anything other than hot and humid. I managed to get sun-burned my first day. Also unexpected, as I usually don’t get burned. After a few days, I discovered a great escape from the heat – churches! I’m not much for religion, but the churches in Rome are filled with art – sculptures, stained glass, paintings, gold leaf, and explosions of color. Much of it didn’t even seem all that Christian. Certainly not as pushy Christian. Moses could be anybody. What’s a few angels? Very few Jesus on the Cross, and no Jesus dying after being removed from the Cross stuff.

Most churches were open to visitors. Many had pews, vast space, and best of all – they were cool! One could walk in, sit down, and rest in blissful relief from the heat. Sip some water (discreetly) or eat a snack (even more discreetly), study one’s map and tourist notes. Or just breathe. One could meditate. One could be any religion and be comfortable in these spaces. Not sure about napping. The pews weren’t really designed for that and not sure if you’d be let stay or not.

When I planned my trip to Rome, I really had not planned to visit churches, other than the famed St. Peter’s Basilica (which is best visited when it open in the morning – beat the crowds, and the sun shining in the big upper level windows. Not even a line for the dome tour!) And the Pantheon (which I did not know had been converted to a church.) But I felt compelled to go see Peter’s chains and Moses with his horns, and discovered that visiting churches was a great way to rest and cool off.

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