Via Francigena – Rome – secret view

One of the best viewing places Follow Me on Pinterest
One of the best viewing places

We were in Siena on the Via Francigena heading towards Rome. Hungry after the day’s activities, we enjoyed dinner in the hotel’s restaurant where we met Nick and Izaskum.

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They had just returned from Rome and Nick suggested, that when we got to Rome, to walk up the Aventine Hill and look through a keyhole. This sounded suitably mysterious, so I made a note to do exactly that when we arrived in Rome.
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Some days later we arrived in Rome and began our goggle-eyed visits to the ancient sites, especially St. Peter’s. Wow! So much to see and take in. I’d had enough for the time being and Carol also needed a break. It was important to remember to pace our visits to these sites to minimise cultural overdose.
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We walked back to our apartment for lunch. Carol wanted to do some shopping so I thought that I would take up Nick’s suggestion (we had met him in Siena), “to walk up the Aventine Hill and look through a keyhole.” This would be a good break from the intensive visit to St. Peter’s. I caught a bus to Piazza Venezia and then proceeded on foot.
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Across from a small park that contained the old Roman Tempio di Vesta, originally dedicated to the conquering god, Hercules Victor, was the church of Santa Maria in Cosmedin which had attracted a line of people. Curiosity prompted me to join the line. I soon saw what people had lined up for, the famous Mouth of Truth – (Bocca della Verita).
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Set into the wall of the church’s portico, the circular stone may have been a drain cover back in ancient Roman times, but medieval tradition held that its stone jaws would snap shut over the hands of any who told lies or had committed adultery. In earlier times, to support the legend, a priest was said to have hidden behind the stone to smack the fingers of those known to be guilty. Many of the visitors had their photos taken alongside the stone, but I didn’t see anyone slide a hand in between those solid stone jaws.
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I followed the map up to the Aventine Hill. It was in this area that the first Christian meetings took place in honour of St. Paul. There were two churches on the hill, Santa Sabina and San Alessio, separated by a park.
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From the grounds of the park there was a fantastic view of Rome including the dome of St. Peter’s. I entered Santa Sabina and marveled at the old engraved marble pieces that had been recovered from Roman and early Christian monuments.
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I also looked inside San Alessio, thinking that a keyhole may have been strategically placed somewhere, but did not find one. I returned to the street and walked until I reached the piazza of the Knights of Malta where I noticed a woman looking through a keyhole. The door she had attached herself to was that of the Villa del Priorato di Malta (the Maltese Embassy). After she had left, I peered through the keyhole and saw a marvelous sight.
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As I left the doorway, well rewarded for my efforts, another seeker was scanning the area in hope of finding similar treasure.
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