Dwight Peck's personal website

Two weeks in the Lazio region, 2016

Avoiding news of Trump's nightmare "transition team" to the extent possible

You may not find this terribly rewarding unless you're included here, so this is a good time for casual and random browsers to turn back before they get too caught up in the sweep and majesty of the proceedings and can't let go.

The plan is to luxuriate for twelve days in Viterbo, with enthusiastic sight-seeing in the region, and a few days tacked onto either side of that for getting there and back.

A day trip to Rome

-- Sure hope this clears off.

It did. We've come over from Viterbo to Orte to catch the main-line train down the Tiber to Rome, 27 November 2016.

From the rail station Roma Termini via the Metro to the Via Flamina north out of town to a weekly street market that Kristin's been frequenting since yonks.

Here we meet son George and Kristin's longtime best buddy and jewelry expert Ewa, for a fast walk around looking for objects whose vendors don't realize what they have.

It's also a time for one of us to relax for a while near the coffee tent.

"The world is too much with us; late and soon, getting and spending," and lining up again at the coffee tent

Son George, lovely Ewa, and Kristin, with only a few good finds this time

Back along the Via Flaminia to the Piazza del Popolo, dashing for a lunch date

The Porta del Popolo at the start of the Via Flaminia -- it was reworked by Bernini for the Roman reception in 1655 of the 28-year-old learned Queen Christina of Sweden, daughter of Gustavus Adolphus, when she abdicated the throne and came to Rome as a convert to Catholicism, mainly to party.

The Church of Santa Maria del Popolo just inside the gate

We've just got time for a look-in.
Nope, can't do it, it's Sunday, the religious people are all in there pulling rank.

A reassuring police presence

Rome's ubiquitous squads of laid-back cops help to keep the lid on.

The Flaminio Obelisk, removed from Egypt by Augustus Caesar in 10 B.C.

The church of Santa Maria in Montesanto

The Piazza del Popolo on a Sunday morning . . .

. . . nearing lunchtime.

The building, constructed in 2006, housing the Augustan Ara Pacis or Altar of Peace, consecrated in 9 B.C. on the Campus Martius along the Tiber

The Mausoleum of Augustine on the Campus Martius

"The Real Alfredo", one of two Roman restaurants once owned by Alfredo himself, both claiming to be the original home of his famous Sauce Alfredo. His Fettuccini Alfredo (pasta, butter, and parmesan cheese) is popular with tourists in these two restaurants and all over the United States; elsewhere in Italy, it's just fettuccine al burro.

The elegant statue of St Ambrose, 4th century Bishop of Milan, in front of the back of the church of Sant'Ambrogio e San Carlo al Corso (dedicated to Ambrose and St Charles Borromeo, built to honor the latter's canonization in 1610), on the Piazza Augusto Imperatore facing the Mausoleum. (The front of the church faces onto the Via del Corso.)

As one of the four celebrated "Doctors of the Church", he deserves to be treated with a little more dignity than this.

An upcoming exhibition of Artemisia Gentileschi in the Museo di Roma (Kristin and George were able to make it a few days later)

We're waiting for our lunch partners, arriving by car. Thank goodness for cellphones.

Elier, the guest of honor, and his dinosaur

Deciding on a nearby restaurant

A stroll along the Via del Corso

With musical accompaniment

And some nuns accosted by a god-knows-what

The Flaminio Obelisk

A cri de coeur

A table for five adults, one child, and an inflated dinosaur

Kristin's carry-on is filled with children's books in a variety of useful languages

Taking leave of Ludovica, Javier, and Elier, we're in the Piazza del Popolo passing the preparations for the huge NO demonstration planned for this evening.

Breathlessly up the Pincian hill from the Piazza del Popolo

A breather at the Terrazza del Pincio

We're hurrying along bound for the Galleria Borghese exhibition on 'the origin of still life in Italy: Caravaggio and the Master of Hartford', with our tickets for 3 p.m. promptly.

The enormous parks of the Villa Borghese

Circular vehicle races with no winners or losers

Soap bubble competitions

An opportunity for some ice cream and sandwiches (and balloons) -- if only we had time

An opportunity for some ice cream and cold drinks

The fountain of the sea horses -- our destination is in sight.

A last opportunity from some cold drinks and ice cream

The Galleria Borghese, in the former Villa Borghese Pinciana (built in 1613) -- don't forget to reserve your tickets some days in advance.

The Galleria Borghese is a no-nonsense NO PHOTO establishment, with a lively trade in postcards and reproductions in the book store. So No Photos here (except this one), any more than on previous visits. The museum's highlights are amazing Bernini statues and several Caravaggio pictures, but the exhibit consisted mainly of the museum's own Caravaggios and a bunch of still lifes by the mysterious 'Maestro di Hartford', all quite instructive if you like still lifes

Even more exciting, here, just outside the gallery, is a Dotto Train Muson River 1894, preparing to transport enthusiastic passengers all round the neighborhood at dusk.

(I collect photos of European city tourist trains, but since 90% of them seem to be Dottos the only variety is pretty much the color and scenic background.)

Off they go, those lucky sightseers.

A day well spent, we're on our way to the nearest Metro stop. But something's up.

The traffic's been stopped several streets back, and the irritated drivers are outside their cars waving their arms and shouting well-chosen words. It's a demonstration of the NO campaign against Prime Minister Renzi's referendum on constitutional reforms.

There are legions of police massed on all the side streets along the way, but they're well-mannered, as are the demonstrators.

Police vans passing underneath us for strategic advantage

In the absence of any strong opinions for or against the referendum, we're probably best moving along in another direction.

We'll just move along now.

A bee line for the Metro station

From the surface city into the subterranean one . . .

. . . for about 15 minutes of 'built environment' to the Metro station


And back to the San Pellegrino quarter in Viterbo, in time for dinner

The dinner gong has sounded and we're at a full run.

-- Wait up!

Tomorrow: Civita di Bagnoregio and Orvieto

Feedback and suggestions are welcome if positive, resented if negative, . All rights reserved, all wrongs avenged. Posted 10 January 2017.

Viterbo trip,
Nov-Dec. 2016