20 June 2016

We had a good holiday in Rome. Riviera took us to all the usual tourist sites, and we looked and listened attentively, so came home overflowing with culture.
The sculpture of Pauline, Napoleon’s sister, in the Borghese Gallery is beautiful but we wondered if Canova had “photo-shopped” it a little bit. No one has a body that beach-ready. The equestrian statue of King Umberto the Good in the grounds is also impressive but obviously not everyone agreed with the description as the king was assassinated in 1900.
NB It is always advisable to take reading glasses on excursions. One of our party, bewildered by the huge choice of gelati on offer, picked what she thought was Brazil (nut) flavour. It was actually basil and, she reported, horrible.
One small triumph was finding a souvenir for which we had been searching for a number of years, following a discussion about the ultimate item of tourist tat. The general consensus was that it would be the Pope in a snow globe. Outside the Church of St. John Lateran is a barrow with the usual stuff attempting to part visitors from their euros – and a display of glass globes each with a tiny plaster figure dressed in white inside. Never can a badly-moulded lump of plaster of Paris been pounced on with such excitement.
Our friend, Mary, who was part of the original discussion, is delighted to have a conversation piece when clergy visit to bring her Communion.

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