Castel Sant’Angelo, Chiesa del Gesù, and Arya’s First Metro Ride!

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I’m starting to have so many things to write about that I don’t even know where to start. Unfortunately, feeling overwhelmed does nothing for my creative juices, which is why I’ve been MIA for a few days. That, and the fact that finding an apartment in Rome is by no means as easy as I hoped it would be. But alas, that will be a story for a future post.

A few weeks ago (probably the first weekend we were here), we decided to go to Castel Sant’Angelo’s Summer Nights (or Notte d’Estate, for those Italian speakers) events. During the summer months, up until the 1st September or so, Castel Sant’Angelo opens at 8:30 p.m. and remains open until 1 a.m. It’s a cool and different way to see the castle and it also adds to the mystique of certain parts, such as the pope’s fortified corridor between Saint Peter’s and the castle. This was once used as an escape route in case the city was under attack. Unfortunately, keep in mind that the darkness does nothing for good pictures, so if this is one of the prime reasons you go places (as it happens with us), you will become very frustrated.

Picture of Castel Sant' Angelo at night.
Pope’s Escape Corridor and St. Peter’s from Castel Sant’Angelo
Last weekend, we also went to our first mass here in Rome, at La Chiesa del Gesù, or the Church of the Gesù. Now, we figured there’s more churches than days of the year in Rome, so the best way to have a chance at seeing a lot of them, is to just attend mass at a different church every Sunday. So we started with this one.
Picture of Chiesa del Gesù in Rome, Italy

Why this one? It is the mother church of the Jesuits and Jaime’s a big fan of those guys. It is one of the first truly Baroque churches, completed in 1580, and also became the model for many other Jesuit churches. This church is just absolutely beautiful and absolutely excessive in it’s decorations inside. It has statues of angels on the walls and ceilings, and everything is so perfectly detailed that they just feel like they’re real. As for the mass, it was very simple, just a priest and the organ player. I loved it because frankly, it allowed the ceremony to “get to the point” and not focus on other things that don’t really add to the spiritual message. All in all, mass ended in 40 minutes, yet I felt I learned more than I have in any church in the United States.

Picture of Chiesa del Gesù in Rome, Italy
Religion Overthrowing Heresy and Hatred By Legros

Picture of Chiesa del Gesù in Rome, Italy

Finally, this past Saturday was very important because it was my birthday of course! We spent the day getting lost around Rome with Arya (figuratively) and taking pictures at some places we hadn’t had a chance to yet. It was also an important day because Arya went on her first metro ride! One of the best parts of Rome is how pet-friendly they are! Apart from the fact that you can pretty much take your dog with you anywhere, the Romans also don’t make a big deal about it. You just walk into the station as you normally would and get on the metro and nobody gives you a weird look about it. In contrast, the U.S. is such a big pet country (almost everyone has a dog or a cat) and to take your pet anywhere is like pretty much impossible! For an example, let me just remind you of my story in the Dulles Airport.

Picture of Colosseum from Parco del Colle Oppio

I also want to let you guys know about this awesome restaurant we went to on Saturday night for my birthday. It’s called Baires and it’s an Argentinean Restaurant. Now, I know what you want to say. “You’re in Italy! Why would you go to an Argentinean restaurant in ITALY?” Listen, I love Italian food as much as the next person, but sometimes a girl just needs a big, fat, juicy, well-made steak. And as they gladly like to boast, nobody makes steaks like Argentineans.

This place was fabulous. We made a reservation for 8 p.m., and it was pretty empty when we got there, but by 9, it was packed. It was a cozy place, with more tables in the basement. The walls decorated with Argentinean paintings and the music very latin. Not just tango, because at one point Shakira was being played but I guess they stuck to the South American continent. The wine was delicious, the appetizer (a Garbanzo and Chorizo soup) could literally wake up the dead, and the steaks were…pretty much perfect. I highly highly HIGHLY recommend this place. The best part? The price was more than fair for everything we ate. We hadn’t felt that full in a month.

You can check out my review on Yelp for this or other Roman Restaurants (and D.C. restaurants and NYC restaurants) here.