Our final day in Rome was our least hectic. Again the weather was ideal, less hot than the previous day, which came in handy for the amount of walking that was ahead of us. We made a leisurely stroll to St. Peter's square, realized that it was extremely crowded, and instead headed back to Castel Sant'Angelo. We stopped into a random baroque church on the way and enjoyed a short break from the noise outside, then proceeded to the Castel. It is a very medieval structure, though impressive, with musty passages that lead upward to the papal rooms. Many of the underground passages bring to mind an Indiana Jones film. The most interesting sights to see in the Castel are of the exterior. The outer walls and parapets are well preserved but their age is evident, with inner courtyards and towers containing ancient trebuchets, cannons, and crude cannon balls. The papal apartments were a bit disappointing, as I would have liked to have seen more information on the Borgias there.
We ate lunch in the park which once was a moat surrounding the Castel, tried to win the affections of a skittish yet curious kitty, grabbed the best gelato in Rome near the pantheon (creme carmel and chocolate mousse) then returned to the apartment to rest.
After feeling recharged, we returned to St. Peters. It was wonderful to fully absorb the place one last time, when not feeling completely exhausted. I received a fantastic surprise as we walked into the nave, a mass had just begun and the single voice of the choir resonated throughout the massive chamber. No experience could match it.
I had the great opportunity of completing a new sketch of the greatest cathedral on earth. I have found a much greater comfort in drawing perspective and architecture in recent years, something which has a
lways eluded me. Now even moreso I feel as though I can successfully communicate what I'm seeing. I stood for nearly an hour with the voices of the choir and organ immersing me fully in pure beauty.
With reluctance we bid farewell to St Peters, returned to our neighborhood and meandered down Via dei Corallo (the street where my mom and I stayed three years ago). We ate at a small restaurant near Piazza Navona, splurging on more expensive dinners, as we had been careful with our expenditures, and still came out under budget.
Making one final return to the Pantheon, we enjoyed our second gelato of the day from the Montecito cremeria on the porch of the Pantheon. The sun cast an orange glow on the piazza, the lights flickered to life and the music echoed through the square. One could not ask for a better ending to a fantastic adventure in the eternal city.