Vignettes to bring you up to date:
The Christmas season in Rome is always lovely and refreshingly simple. You won’t find fat Santas or any such secular kitsch. The shopping heats up slightly but the commercial drive is never overdone. I received an email from my favorite Roman dress shop explaining the American concept of Black Friday and inviting me to a sale. It read:
Che cosa è il Black Friday ? Nasce da una tradizione americana , è un’idea prenatalizia nata negli Stati Uniti e legata al giorno del Ringraziamento che si festeggia giovedì 26 Novembre ( sempre l’ultimo giovedì del mese di Novembre ). What is Black Friday? It is an American tradition born in the US and linked to the Thanksgiving holiday which is always the last Thursday of November.
Our holidays also included a Christmas eve prosecco overlooking Rome at sunset and a retreat to the mountains to celebrate the new year.
Don’t miss the photo below of men eating a holiday meal at The Joel Nafuma Refugee Center. The seats turned several times and the men transitioned peacefully even though it’s not easy to leave a warm room or a warm meal when you don’t have a home. The men reflected a collective sadness yet each person was gracious and polite and thankful for our service. There were smiles, too…
A holiday meal for refugees in Rome.
Lala, Christmas morning.
A surreal landscape for skiing this year.
Proud local chefs and their New Year’s Eve feast..
Lunch with a view.
A little Bombardino to warm the spirit.
I believe mama won this poker game…
Our hotel. Simple and sweet.
Christmas Eve, 2015.
A photo I love for the memory of summer and a modern family reunion.
For my 50th birthday in January, five friends surprised me and flew to Rome for a weekend celebration. They scattered their arrivals to string-along the surprise multiple times over, each appearing at different moments as my weekend unfolded: Kristi arrived during dinner while I ate at a favorite bar with Jim; Becky came during dessert. Jennifer snuck into the house the next morning while I curled on the sofa nursing a headache after celebrating the night before with wickedly strong margaritas. Vivian appeared a few hours later while I was still on the sofa. After a day had passed with my gorgeous global posse and when I thought for sure the surprises were over, I found Tao in the kitchen drinking tea on Saturday morning as if it were natural to eat dinner in Hong Kong the night before and have breakfast in Rome the next day.
Ladies, I will never forget your gift of travel and friendship and the joy I felt being surrounded with all that love. And a special shout-out to my wonderful husband who orchestrated the weekend to perfection. He not only arranged for my friends to come, but he rented for us a separate penthouse apartment and threw a surprise party with local friends at two exceptional venues: the Bramante Cloisters and the roof-top terrace of the Hotel Raphael, with one of the most stunning views in all of Rome.
I think we were well into a few tequilas at this point…
Columns of the Pantheon.
A rare cold night in Rome made warm in a huddle with friends.
Dress shopping… My blue smock was a bust but the three sexy numbers on the right all sold!
Sunning on the terrace.
Morning wakeup walk on the hill above our apartment.
With George at the surprise party.
Selfie on the Spanish Steps.
Lala made me a yummy glutine-free cake.
How do you pass a random day in Rome? You go to an abandoned, crumbling hilltop village now habited by squatter-artists who promote the scandalous myth that the village church once housed the foreskin of Jesus. The relic mysteriously disappeared a few decades ago but the story and the eclectic collection of ateliers calls to the curious – like me!
We dined in a cave…
… the kitchen in the cave.
George being George
The divine Miss O.
And finally, a few random photos to mark the days here. Don’t miss the first one of a homeless man sleeping along my running route. He’s there every day, sometimes awake, sometimes bundled and asleep, like here. Notice the seagull sitting by his side. Is that you, Jonathan Livingston?
“Overcome space, and all we have left is Here. Overcome time, and all we have left is Now.”
Dogs at my hair dresser
Dressed to clean the fountain – is there Anthrax in there?
A run with a view…
The American cemetery at Anzio.
Maiga and Rakeen bring their refugee stories to school children.
The window across the street from my bedroom. I love opening the shutters and seeing this combination of Cyclamen and Bonsai.