Friday, April 10, 2009


Thursday, April 09, 2009 Borghese Galleria on Holy Thursday

Slept in a bit this morning and did some blogging before heading out for our reservations to tour the Borghese Gallery. A magnificent villa set in the middle of the vast Borghese Gardens that was built by Cardinal Scipione Borghese to showplace his art and entertain his guests. Many of the pieces of art were created specifically to b

The last time they closed for restoration it took fourteen years and finally reopened in 1997. To enter this museum, advanced reservations are required. You are given a two hour time period to be in the museum. All cameras, purses, backpacks, etc. are required to be checked prior to your entry. But, the museum is well worth the extra effort as one is truly transported to Roman times as you wander through the rooms at your own pace; with audio guides, Rick Steve’s Tour Book or using the detailed cards in each room that are in English and Italian. It’s hard to believe that people actually resided in this treasure trove of art.

After the museum we caught the bus and got off at the Piazza del Republica to tour the basilica of Santa Maria degil Angeli that is built within the ruins of the Roman Public Baths of Diocletian. It is a cavernous building that incorporates the cooling off room of the baths with an open skylight (now glassed over) for the church and is the size of a football field and seven stories high at its center.

After enjoying a sidewalk cafĂ© for a lunch treat by daughter Mary; we headed by Metro for San Giovanni in Laterano about three pm for the five thirty mass of the Lord’s Supper. We had tickets but knew that the crowds would be massive as the Pope was the main celebrant. We stood for over an hour and finally entered the church after being crushed in a massive line through security. By that time the seats in the center aisle were all taken but we managed to find a seat on the side where we were able to comfortably hear the Mass as opposed to the hundreds that were milling about and/or sitting on the cold marble floor. Our view of the main altar was blocked by a massive pillar but the Pope was sitting in the Bishop’s Chair in the very front of the church so very few people were able to actually see him. But, the acoustics were wonderful and the choir and speakers, including the Pope, could easily be heard throughout the church. The Mass lasted for two hours but was a once in a lifetime Holy Thursday experience.e displayed in the rooms in which they are still shown.

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