The Rome Diaries - Week 5
From 2006 to 2011 Paulist Father Tom Holahan served as vice rector of the Paulist
church in Rome. During that time he had the opportunity to spend time exploring the
historic sites of Rome as well as the hidden ones. The blog features excerpts from this
travel diary. A new selection appears each week.
Nov. 7, 2006
I hear about a Trastevere restaurant, Spirito di Vino, which was the discovery site of the Vatican Museums’ Roman copy of Lysippus’s Athlete. The building in which it was found probably dates back to Etruscan times. Another area of the basement was the first synagogue in Rome. Unsurprisingly, the management still rents it out for wedding receptions.
Nov. 17, 2006
Today I spend some time sitting in the Church of San Lorenzo in Lucina. The church is named for the Roman matron, Lucina, who first welcomed early Christians to her home on that spot. A few hundred years later, it became a basilica to the deacon Lawrence, martyred during the third Century persecutions of Valerian. The church has an enormous and powerful 16th painting of the crucifix by Guido Reni. It feels as if conversations are going back and forth between all those different generations. The question that arises is, “How do I measure up?” in following this Christ. Earlier in the day I go to a showing of the reinstallation of the two works by Caravaggio that are in Santa Maria del Populo. They are now back in the Cerasi Chapel which also holds an Assumption by Caracci. These Baroque masters clash grandly there. The pink Assumption floats squarely above the altar while the Caravaggios (one of Peter the other of Paul) are foreshortened and appear boldly squeezed into their space.