Crossing the Tiber

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Australians can always squeeze in one more bit of sightseeing. Today the conference for members of the Society of Catholic Priests commences but before I move to accommodation adjacent to the Vatican, it was decided that a group of our Australian contingent would make a dash for the Basilica San Clemente. I started by descending the Spanish Steps, seen here looking along the via Condotti at 8.30 am. We then boldly went where few normally go – on public transport, despite plural warnings about gypsy attacks.

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Despite the eerie lack of tour buses and no queues to get in, we found this to be a fascinating experience and an amazing Insight into early Roman life and worship.

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Here Matthew (Burnley), Robyn (Burwood East) and Shane (Mount Eliza) join me in entering the twelfth century basilica which is adorned with marvelous mosaics. Below it are two further levels evidencing the earlier fourth century church and further below first and second century dwellings and a pagan place of worship. It was great to have the opportunity to see these wonders including the original Roman spring still flowing with water and equally good to get back up and out into fresh air.

We then walked to the Santi Quatro Coronati where we were allowed into the sisters’ cloisters which must be the most peaceful spot in Rome.

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After a much needed coffee, we made for San Giovanni in Laterino (St John’s Lateran) decorated as it is with some decent sized statues!

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I was keen to get back to my hotel for the move to Residenza Madre Pio adjacent to The Holy Sea so we hopped a train to Piazza Barberino (possibly for the last time?).

And across the Tiber went I, in a taxi!

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