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On foot in The Eternal City

June 6, 2008

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Then in the morning, we are out the door and racing -- two in the ancient tiny elevator and two down the ridiculously wide marble steps, four flights down from the second floor. And out onto the cobblestone streets, dodging motorcycles and little cars, to the Campo dei Fiori. The guide book says it was once a field of flowers, but has been a marketplace fairly consistently for the past couple millenia or so. There, we buy some strawberries, a crepe, some candies that look like sunnyside-up eggs (why are we not surprised when they taste awful?). And we meet Pupa, the dachsund who works at one of the flower stalls. He will become something of a touchstone for us over the next few days, a wiry wriggly back for the girls to pet while Tommy is 6,000 miles away.

Down another alley to a big boulevard lined by by brick buildings that bounce the roars of Ducatis and passenger busses back and forth down the canyon. To the west, we spot the enormous dome of St. Peter's Basilica and make our way towards it, stopping at the Tiber to admire the Castel Sant'Angelo (where the Pope and some followers, including the famous goldsmith and artillary master, Benvenuto Cellini, held out during the 1526 sacking of Rome) before heading into the very tiny country next door.