Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Tre Fontane, 240 Gelato

We had beautiful weather for a full day of sightseeing today. We met my friend Philip Johnson who is a recent graduate of the Naval Academy and is serving on his first deployment. His ship was in Gaeta (near Naples) for 6 days and so he came up to Rome for his leave time. Here is a picture of us near Laurentina, squinting into the sunlight of a hot Roman summer day.

Because it was hot we decided to get some gelato. We went to Gelato C again, where there's 100 flavors, and tried several. The blueberry I had and the peach Alex had, along with the watermelon Andrew had were all wonderful.

Then we went with a priest friend of ours Fr. Gregory to San Paulo a Tre Fontane. This church marks the spot where St. Paul was beheaded between 64 and 67 AD. When he was beheaded, (under the Emperor Nero) his head bounced three times down the hill. Each time his head bounced a miraculous spring of water gushed forth from the ground. The springs are still there today, marking the spot where he was beheaded, still emitting water from the ground. Today the church is under the care of the Trappist monks, who have a monastery and church there as well. The entrance to the grounds was tree-lined and cool, and very nice.

At the end of the walkway was this grotto with a huge statue of St. Benedict.

Immediately as you enter the church there is a marble relief showing the beheading of St. Paul. Note in the picture the column he is tied to. St. Paul was beheaded because as a Roman citizen, he could request that he be exempt from the punishment of crucifixion, usually reserved only for criminals and slaves.

In the back of the church is the actual column St. Paul was tied to when he was beheaded.

The church was built over some ancient Roman ruins, hence these mosaics on the floor. They date back to the 1st century and contain representations of the four seasons.

Here is a closeup of the image for Autumn.

And here is one of the altars built over the three fountains. The grate down below allows you to look into the well and see the water. There are three such altars, all exactly the same, built right next to eachother on the spots where St. Paul's head bounced/rolled down the hill.

Next we went into the gift shop where they were selling these amazing icons. Each icon was made by the monks of Mt. Athos in Greece, and painted using all-natural pigments on wood from the old monastery. Some of the wood used dates back to the 18th century.

This illuminated Bible was also for sale.

Next we went to the church of the Trappist monks, adjacent to the church of St. Paul. This Romanesque building dates back to the 11th or 12th century, and was built entirely by the monks.

The interior of the church was typically Benedictine, stark, austere, yet amazing.

Next we took the metro North to Pietralata where we went to this store called Panorama. It's basically a cross between Sam's Club, Kohl's, and Super Wal-Mart. It's HUGE, and had lots of stuff, including JAPALENO peppers which we've been looking for!

Just to give you an idea of the size....here is the red wine section.

And here is the white. They also had equally large selections of licquors and beer.

We ended the day with another trip to a gelato shop, courtesy of Fr. Gregory. This time we went to Delle Palme, which had 140 flavors, all handmade everyday, with the freshest ingredients. Check out this selection. This made 240 flavors of gelato we had seen in one day.

Mom was really happy with her espresso, gianduia, and chocolate combination.

Thought you guys would enjoy this picture of the park benches near Piramide. They pulled off half the slats on them so that gypsies wouldn't camp out on them.


Anonymous said...

Now here in Bogota Colombia
Will be here thru Sat
We did get your post card and wanted to thank you for taking the time to think about us and send it .

There are really great pictures and "stories" as usual . Really do like the one of your mother and the ice cream .

Hope that you will soon see the Fishing pictures" as I gave your Aunt Pat the CD with them on it and she was going to up load the whole lot of them .
Your Aunt Maryann has a construction project going on at her house and hope to be doen with it by the end of next month

Keep up the good work
Hope to get over to see you guys before too long

Best to everyone

Please tell everyone hello for us

Mary Ann said...

Another amazing set of pictures! How great .. & really good to talk to you guys today. I didn't realize there were so many different "flavors" to make ice cream with. I'm looking forward to the pics of your adventures in Spain!. How exciting

Aggie said...

Kath, is that low fat gelato?

marelo said...

the pics are wonderful
just wondering whether i could go there someday..:)


marelo said...

the pics are great..

just wondering whether i could be there someday.