Our last day in Rome, which was Sunday, we decided to have a low stress day-too much of our trip was planned, with an agenda. So we woke up late, had breakfast at the hotel, and left our bags there. We picked up our train tickets, and then had a (forgettable) last lunch at Gran Caffe Roma (not recommended). We found a place that had homemade Toblerone while wandering around looking for bees on buildings (the Barberini family signified the buildings that they had built by putting their symbol, the bee, in hidden places -once you know that, you'll see little bees everywhere in trim, crests, etc). We visited a few places that we had missed, and sat in the Borghese park, watching the ducks in the pond, and Romans out strolling and biking (in high heels). Finally, we walked to the hotel to get our luggage, and to the Termini station to catch our train.
We saw the famous St. Teresa in Esctasy by Bernini which was amazing. I didn't like Bernini much in Art History classes but his sculpture is beautiful in person. I still hate Baroque and Rococco, though.
For me, the highlight of the day was the Capuchin Crypts. The theme is "What you are now, we used to be. What we are now, you will be" and the crypt was built in the late 1600's. People more familiar with Catholicism will probably correct me, but I understood the Capuchins to be be an offshoot of Franciscans, which I found interesting. While we were in Rome, I found myself repelled by the extreme wealth that the popes (admittedly a different situation in Renaissance times and later) had. I tend to like people who are a little different, and admired St. Francis of Assisi after I had done some reading about him. So after being so drawn by the Capuchin Crypts, it made sense to me that they were related to St. Francis. You can't take photos in the crypts, but you can see photos online here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Capuchin_Crypt
The Crypt is decorated with literally thousands of bones from the skeletons of friars of the sect- bones made into garlands, arches, even a chandelier. But the idea is not to be like a house of horrors, but to confront each person with the undeniable fact of their mortality. We will be this someday, because we were standing like you one day. Even Nate, who I think was curious but not prepared to like the crypts, was visibly and profoundly moved by the experience. I had tears in my eyes.
I even went looking for a book about the history of the sect, but couldn't find a good one -this sect supports themselves with handouts, and on their website, even a bake sale. No joke. I think people might be getting their cookies from me for Christmas. I struggle somewhat with the idea that this religious group is related to a pope who wears Gucci shoes, and Prada, while many of the religion's adherents struggle in poverty (http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2005/12/22/AR2005122201914.html). I feel like this group, and St. Francis, had more the right idea.
Anyway, we arrived home, and Godiva the dog threw an enormous happy fit, and hasn't stopped his doggy smile since. Back to work tomorrow.
Thanks for taking the time to keep up with our honeymoon!