Facts, Food & Fun

Vespers and Gelato! 

Today our Jan Term class is so blessed and lucky to attend a Vespers service with the Holy Father Benedict XVI.
The service was held at Saint Paul outside the walls and it was quite an adventure trying to reach our destination. We began our trip to the Vespers service by boarding the line A metro and switching over to line B at the Termini station. Once we approached the line B platform we encountered a huge crowd that overfilled trains. We decided to wait a few minutes and take the next train which was a better idea.
Once onboard, maybe we were overly cautious of pickpockets, so we stood close together, finally got off at the San Paulo metro station. We walked a few blocks and we finally reached he church and immediately proceeded to the line which was already filled with people. We waited in line for an hour until we were allowed to go inside.
Once inside the vast cathedral, you could feel the anticipation for the pope’s arrival that was rising through the air. Once the gigantic front doors opened, priests and prelates of every ranking proceeded down the aisle followed by the pope himself.
The vesper service in Latin and Italian was long, very long but enjoyable, festive and an amazing experience.
Once the service ended, we proceeded back to the Metro and began another journey to famed Giolitti’s gelato shop, located nearby Pantheon. Our journey was a success, and, of course, the gelato, was delicious. It was a great ending to a great day. Hector  Rodriquez
Roma Sparita

The other night, a group of us went out for dinner in the Trastevere section of Rome. More specifically, we ate at a restaurant called “Roma Sparita,” which was recently filmed for Anthony Bourdain’s “No Reservations.” We were told that it will air in the U.S. in the fall of 2011. The restaurant is situated nearby the Church of Saint Cecelia, and among the most quaint shops, tiny alleyways, and cobble stone streets.

As we walked into the restaurant, none of us could have ever imagined what we were about to eat. As an appetizer, I had an artichoke, which appeared to be fried, so that the outside leaves could be eaten like potato chips while the inside was soft and completely edible. For the main course, the waiter convinced me to have their specialty, which was a healthy serving of cheesy pasta in a bowl of melted parmesan cheese.  This was definitely a cheese lovers delight! To top it off, the entire meal was reasonably priced, so should you ever find yourself in Trastevere be sure to stop at Roma Sparita.

To quote Fr. Mike R, “This is Pasta Heaven!”

Matt Soares

Travel Tips

1) Food
If you are tired of McDonalds and want something substantial, there is a small pizza place along Via di Boccea called Antica Pizzeria (just keep walking past Ristorante Joseph). Aside from pizza, they have a delicious whole chicken chicken cooked on a rotisserie for 6.80 Euro. You can also buy a half piece of chicken for 3.40 Euro. I really recommend this place if you need some sort of protein in your diet.

2) Papal Audience – St. Paul’s Outside the Walls
If you ever find yourself on the feast of the Conversion of St. Paul at St. Paul Outside the Walls, in the presence of the Pope, try to get there early. Once you go through security and are successfully inside, get a seat closest to the middle where the Pope will walk by both at the beginning and the end of the service. Watch out, though, because there are many other “holy” people who want to hug the center and who want to take your spot.

Joseph Ramirez

Subiaco’s “Room with a View”

High atop Subiaco – our tour took in the vistas of the small town that resides under the shadow of Saint Benedict’s historic abbey. From this vantage point, we feasted on the scene and on the monastery food. If this is the way monks eat, bring it on!  What a colorful and generous lunch-time to satisfy our spiritual hungers. To Saint Benedict’s “Ora et Labora” (Work & Pray), we add “Mangiare e bere!” (“Eat and Drink up!”). Father Mike R

To give you a taste of this banquet, Joanne Angerame provides expert comments on the food and wine; Alex Louie caught these snap-shots with his Nikon.

Arriving at St. Scholastic’s Monastery in Subiaco, we were greeted with a clear blue sky and a magnificent vista of this ancient hillside town.  We were warmly welcomed and escorted to the dining room, which was a large, light and airy  room with contemporary frescoes and floor to ceiling windows so we could continue to enjoy the view.  The facility was opened especially for our visit and our group occupied only three of the beautifully set tables which were laid out with sky blue and white plaid cloth, carafs of agua regular, local red wine and baskets of homemade bread.  We are most grateful for this accommodation and send our sincere thanks and appreciation to all those who made this visit possible. Thankfully our waiter announced that our lunch would be served in four courses, so we all knew we should pace ourselves.  Keep in mind that we have been eating like this for days.  We each received a large plate with generous portions of antipasti, an entire lunch on its own.  Even with the awareness of the three courses to follow, not a morsel was left behind.

We enjoyed crostini with cheese, salami, slices of yellow potato with rosemary, prosciutto wrapped around an egg custard, rapini baked in a tart, a fried puff filled with broccoli and a fritter of spinach (yes, this is just the antipasti course!).Then our waiter came around with huge platters filled with handmade pasta by the unique and entertaining name (especially for Fr. Sal and Fr. Mike), Strozza Prete – strangled priests.  He held the platter in one hand and two huge spoons in the other for serving.  We smiled with the first giant spoonful, which must have indicated to him that more was desired, so two or three more scoops were piled on.

Yet again, not a single little priest was left behind. Secondi piatti was served in a similar way and I think we were all amazed, not only at the fantastic taste, but how heartily it was consumed.  The best roasted pork, with porcini sauce and perfectly prepared yellow potatoes.  Obviously we completely forgot that we ate all antipasti and those strangled priests. Apple and fig crosata and little glasses of espresso were the perfect ending to this amazing feast.

Our Knight at Clementina’s

Christopher Alex Louie, what a guy! Our hero! What table manners! Junior, Bio Major and Lowell High grad. He came to Rome to get away from the sciences; and got into a jam over the mistaken identity of a lady’s coat.

In between the courses of pasta carbonara and the chicken dish at Osteria Clementina, Alex  made a pit-stop. As Alex was exiting the banquet room, he noticed that a young woman was also leaving the room, and had left her coat on her seat.  At least that’s what he observed.

Thinking that woman #1 had gone into tiny unisex lavatory – he politely picked up the coat and had every good intention to return it to her. Instead, woman #1 had gone outdoors for a smoke break with her boyfriend.

As Alex attempted to give the coat to women #2, the lady of mistaken identity, coming out of the facility, became very upset about the rude behavior of this random Asian guy. Woman #2 had no clue what he was trying to doing – pushing into her hands what was clearly not hers; and not in a privacy of the “Ladies Room.”

Witnessing this ruckus was Adrianna, the manager of the restaurant, who came to rescue Alex’s rescue.

So this “Knight of the Woeful Countenance,” our gallant Don Quixote returned to the banquet room – blush with embarrassment over his mistake — and plenty of laughs, as Adrianna explained to us this complex experiment in social grace. Thanks, Alex.

Father Mike R

Italian Bubbly

Some come fizzy others are “naturale.” Of course we’re talking  about the bottled mineral water you drink at most meals in Italy. This comment comes from “Facts About Italy” by David Hoffman.

Did you know that there are 600 brands of mineral water in Italy and each brand must pass a series of complicated tests and are regulated by law. Labels must list the mineral contents, identify them by name and state, and the specific medical properties of the springs form which the water is collected.

So now you know! Father Salvatore Ragusa, SDS/Chaplain


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