Sweet Rome, Italia: Parte Finale

Last year Traveler Nell and I visited Europe starting in Rome. Before we had even left Lazio we had agreed that we had to return someday to the Eternal City. And so we are…only ten months later. Leading up to our return trip I am posting some of the things I love about Rome.

Numero seis: Città del Vaticano

I don’t think I could do St. Peter’s justice trying to describe it, so I put this together.

Vatican City from Traveler Bill on Vimeo.

Sweet Rome, Italia: Parte Quinta

Last year Traveler Nell and I visited Europe starting in Rome. Before we had even left Lazio we had agreed that we had to return someday to the Eternal City. And so we are…only ten months later. Leading up to our return trip I am posting some of the things I love about Rome.

Numero Cinque: Euro in contanti (Euro cash)

We are nearing the days of a cashless society but we aren’t there yet. You always need to have a couple bills here and there for a cab, espresso or whatever. So before we head to the airport we make sure to have some local currency. In this case Euros.

When I bought these the exchange rate (and charges) were such that I got €355 for $500.  We will get an additional €50 or so in €1 and €2 coins for offerings when we visit all the churches we love to explore.

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Sweet Rome, Italia: Parte Quarta

Last year Traveler Nell and I visited Europe starting in Rome. Before we had even left Lazio we had agreed that we had to return someday to the Eternal City. And so we are…only ten months later. Leading up to our return trip I am posting some of the things I love about Rome.

Numero Quattro: il nostro allogio (Our lodging)

As you know Traveler Nell and I live and work out of our home at Two Travelers Plaza in the Clinton Hill neighborhood of Brooklyn. And while we have countless holiday estates and manors where we will take up residence when abroad, there is only one that we consider “Home”.¹

Domus Australia. Via Cernaia 14/B 00185 ROME, ITALY


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We came to stay at Domus Australia in the most unexpected manner. It was October 2011 and we were traveling through rural New South Wales on our way to Parkes.  One of the towns we stopped at along the way was Gundagai.  There atop a hill, at the high point of town, is St. Patrick’s Roman Catholic Church.

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St. Patrick’s Roman Catholic Church, Gundagai, NSW

Wherever we go, Traveler Nell and I like to explore the various Catholic churches we encounter.  Among the various pamphlets near the entrance was a sheet of paper announcing the grand opening of Domus Australia in April 2012.  Domus is the brainchild of Australian Cardinal George Pell as a reasonably priced place to stay for Australian Catholic pilgrims to Rome.  I have no idea why Nell picked up that pamphlet but when we decided to go to Europe just a few months later our Roman accommodations were already settled.

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Domus Australia

On of the things that is so special about Domus is that your accommodation includes a full Australian brekky (breakfast). This is important as in Italy, “Colazione” a continental breakfast.  This is (along with a cup of coffee) is what you will find for breakfast in Italy.

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Typical Italian Colazione (Breakfast)

But when you stay at Domus you get all that plus some meats, cheeses and tomatoes…

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Fruit, cereal, and lamingtons…

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Eggs, bacon, sausage, beans and roasted tomatoes.

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Despite being owned by the Church, Domus is open to everyone.  That said it IS owned by the Church.  The hallways are appointed with photos of the Australian parishes that supported the creation of Domus.  And I previously wrote about the San Damiano Cross that was in our room.

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The star of Domus Australia is the Chapel of St. Peter Chanel.  Below is a panorama I shot while there last year.

¹ Please note that we would also count our parents domiciles in Melbourne, Victoria and Albany, New York as “Home” as well.

Sweet Rome, Italia: Terza parte.

Last year Traveler Nell and I visited Europe starting in Rome. Before we had even left Lazio we had agreed that we had to return someday to the Eternal City. And so we are…only ten months later. Leading up to our return trip I am posting some of the things I love about Rome.

Numero tre: Storia Romana (Roman history)

After we returned from Europe I found a podcast that provided a very detailed history of the City of Seven Hills. It is aptly titled The History of Rome Podcast. I am still making my way through the episodes but I have enjoyed what I have listened to thus far. Bear with the podcast through the occasional mispronunciation and audio issue that do tend to pop up every now an then.

Sweet Rome, Italia: Seconda parte.

Last year Traveler Nell and I visited Europe starting in Rome. Before we had even left Lazio we had agreed that we had to return someday to the Eternal City. And so we are…only ten months later. Leading up to our return trip I am posting some of the things I love about Rome.

Numero Due: Cucina Romana!

Before we left for Rome our parish priest, Fr. Joe assured us “there are no bad restaurants in Rome.” Now that is something I’ve heard before, occasionally before a rotten meal. But Fr. Joe knew what he was talking about. Every place we at was simply delicious. Now granted, we were only there four full days, but the city batted 1.000 as far as we experienced.

From a casual pizzeria across from Archbasilica Papale do San Giovanni in Laterano that sold pizza by the kilo…

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Or a fancier restaurant renown for its carbonara.

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Even the train station had decent pizza and arancini.

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Sweet Rome, Italia: Prima Parte

Last May and April Traveler Nell and I took a trip to Europe. I had hoped to “live-blog” the trip but it was just too fun and busy a time to keep up with daily posts and midway through I lost the ability to post all together.
But that won’t happen this time!
Because we are going back to Rome in just over five weeks!

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When Traveler Nell and I decided to go to Europe I figured I would like Rome…but I loved Rome. Before we had finished our train trip to the next leg of our journey, Venice, we had determined that we would be returning to to the Eternal City.

What did I love about Rome? Below is the first entry in my list of what I loved about Rome.

The Taxis-they were universally polite and reasonably priced. They were everywhere and good in a pinch when public transport was not convenient or when you wanted a little quicker trip. The only rub is that the traffic in Rome is crazy. The video below does not even come close to conveying how terrifying it can be.

Updated with a better video. I apologize for any inconvenience for the two people who read the Bill-og.

Roman Taxi from Traveler Bill on Vimeo.

Grand European Tour: Day 02 – Ruins, Religion and Restaurants PART II

Blogsy was a little “pitchy” yesterday. Hopefully tonight the photos will upload seemlessly.

When last I wrote we were on our way to St. John Lateran’s Archbasilica. But visiting Rome is hungry work so once we arrived we stopped to eat at the nearest pizzeria, which turned out to be “King SNCC Di Ahmed H. & C.”; so real authentic. But Mark Bittman recently said in the NYTimes tha tRome abounds with good pizza so we gave it a try.

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Grand European Tour: Day 02 – Ruins, Religion and Restaurants

Our second day in the ancient capital was action packed and activity filled. So after a nice “brekky” at Domus Australia we headed out full of lamingtons and Vegemite.

Walking to the train we came across what appeared to be a sadly delapitated church so we decided to stick our heads in for a quick look see.

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Grand European Tour – Coincidences of the Cross

It was about a year and a half ago that Traveler Nell and I were married in a nuptial mass at my childhood parish of Church of the Holy Spirit in East Greenbush, NY. Above the altar at that church is a very distinctive crucifix, with a very Greek Orthodox feeling.

Below is a more detailed photo from Holy Spirit’s website.

Well, here we are 4,000 miles away staying at Domus Australia in Rome Italy and would you look at the crucifix that is in our room.

I was floored. Turns out this is what is called a San Damiano Cross and it has a great deal of significance to the Franciscans.

As an aside here is a panorama of the Chapel of St. Peter Chanel here in Domus Australia. Traveler Nell’s post will have more detailed photos when it goes up, until then enjoy this and the enhanced version you can see online here.

I hope to have Day 02′s post up tomorrow. I would do it tonight but we have to get up early to go to mass…

At Saint Peter’s Basilica…

In an ordination mass being celebrated by Pope Benedict XVI.

CORRECTION: An earlier version of this blog post incorrectly identified the chapel in Domus Australia as St. John Chanel.