December 13, 1961 – Italy

Quirinale Hotel, Rome, Italy – Clear, cold

     I woke up the next morning feeling great and I was glad because of the scare I’d had last night.  Edith and I ordered room service for our breakfast rather than going down to the dining room to give us more time to get ready for our day in Rome.  I saw the menu had one of my favorite meals – Eggs Benedict so I decided to order it.  It was so good and the hollandaise sauce was the best I’d ever had.  Edith had an omelet and she really liked that as well. 

     While waiting to go downstairs to meet our driver I decided to write Ramona a quick little note to thank her for getting me the money:

Dec 13, 1961 – Rome, Italy

Dear Ramona and Everyone;

     We arrived here yesterday and I received the two letters from you and the check and some news. 

     We went to the American Express and there changed it into traveler checks.  I gave $300 to Edith and then we went shopping.  Everything is sky high in cost here.  Edith tried to find a pair of shoes but $30 was too much and they didn’t fit too well.  I looked at purses – $30 and up.  If I found the right one for $30 I would buy it but not for what I’ve seen. 

     We go sightseeing in 15 minutes so will close this.  Enclosed is a receipt for the money paid back on the $2500 so you have it. 

     Loved the letter.  Tell Anna hello for me.  Love Mother

     Our tour agency had arranged for us to have a car at our disposal for the next few days to make things easier on us.  We’d made arrangements yesterday to meet our car at 10am and I hoped that we would have another great driver like we had had the day before with Antonio.  My poor suitcase had been used so badly on this trip that it had started to fall apart so I knew I needed to get it repaired.  When I had checked in I’d had Antonio inquire about how I could get it repaired.  The clerk had told me to drop off my bag at the front desk this morning so they could try and get it fixed so I brought it with me when Edith and I went to the lobby to meet our driver.

Fountain of Four Seasons in Front of Hotel

     In the lobby I handed over my suitcase to the clerk and then we met our driver for the day – Rafael.  Rafael turned out to be just as nice and helpful as Antonio had been.  First we went to the Quirinal Palace which had been used for several papal conclaves and the papal residency for awhile too.  Later it became the residency for President of the Italian Republic and I could see why. 

     We also decided to go to St. Peter’s Basilica which was awe inspiring and had the largest and foremost shrine in the world.  We were told that marble had been removed from the Roman Coliseum to help build St. Peters.  In addition to the wonderful ceiling there were statuary and stucco designs executed by such masters as Bernini, Canova and Della Parta and Michelangelo.

Close up View of St Peter's Basilica with Obelisk

St Peter's Square

Another View of St. Peter's Square

     Our next stop was one I had always wanted to see – the Trevi Fountain and I loved every minute we were there.  It turned out to be such an interesting place to people watch.  I loved seeing the people throw coins in the fountain and make a wish.  At that moment I wished I could read their minds and find out what their wishes were.  While was there I too threw a coin into it and made a wish.  When Edith asked me what I wished for I told her, of course, I couldn’t tell her or it wouldn’t come true.  However, she told me she wished that we could find all the things on our shopping list.

Treve Fountain

     After we left the fountain our next stop was Janiculum Hill.  It turned out to have a wonderful view of the domes and bell towers in Rome.  It was quite an amazing sight to see.  Afterward Rafael took us back to our hotel by way of the Piazza del Popolo and the Villa Borghese gardens, Gallery and Museum which had a priceless collection of art enabling us to see some of the work done by Michelangelo.  The museum had noteworthy sculptures like Daphne, Apollo, David and the Rape of Proserpina.  We saw Canova’s Marble of Pauline Borghese, Napoleon’s sister and St. John the Baptist.

Statue of David by Michelangelo

     Back at the hotel Edith and I had a splendid lunch.  After eating I made an appointment to get my hair colored, cut and fixed.  I hadn’t had my hair done in so long I was feeling pretty shaggy. 

     Our afternoon tour was just as interesting as the one in the morning.  We went to see the Coliseum, St. Paul’s outside the Walls, Circus Maximus, Palatine Hill, Imperial Fora, Roman Forum and Church of St. Peter in Chains with its well known statue of Moses by Michelangelo.  We saw the Tiber Islands, Temple of Vesta and panoramic views of the Roman Forum.  Each one of these places was quite amazing and made my mouth drop.  We’d seen some wonderful places on our trip but Rome seemed to be jam packed with magnificence.  By the time Rafael said we would return to our hotel at 4pm, I was ready to get off my feet and Edith was exhausted as well. 

Colisseum

Roman Bath Ruins

     While I went to get my hair done Edith returned to our room to rest.  As I settled into the beauticians chair it felt good to be able to relax and turn myself over to her care.  The beautician talked to me while she worked on my hair and although I didn’t understand most of what she was saying I loved hearing her talk.  She had a sweet voice and her accent was delightful.  When I was done I was quite pleased with her work and thought I looked quite glamorous.  I was amazed that it only cost me $7 including a generous tip that I felt she earned. 

     Once I was back in my room I found Edith adding to package she hadn’t been able to mail earlier in our trip.  I decided she was right that now was the time to try and send out the package I had also been holding onto.  I pulled it out and added a couple of items and got it ready to send off in the morning.

      As we got ready to go down for dinner I was surprised to hear someone knock on our door.  To my amazement when I opened it I found a boy standing there holding my suitcase and it looked as good as new.  I couldn’t believe that it had been repaired so well and so quickly.  I asked him if he had been the one to repair it and he said it had been his father who owned a shoe shop nearby.  He handed me a bill for 50 cents which seemed so little to me that I gave him a dollar as a tip. 

      Edith and I had made reservations to eat dinner at 8pm for dinner and we made sure we were on time because both of us were famished.  Each of pondered for awhile on what to order because there were so many obviously good things to choose from.  When our meal came it was just as good as it had been the night before if not better.  Tonight though we limited ourselves to one drink before dinner, wine during our meal and a coffee drink after we ate. 

     By the time our meal was over it was getting rather late but Edith and I played Canasta for a little while anyway before going to bed for the night.

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