Noon On High


In this city of bells another sound hails the arrival of noon:



The boom comes from a cannon that’s ignited every day to commemorate the liberation of Italy.  It reminds me of the end of Tchaikovsky’s 1812 Overture when bells and booms crescendo in victory.  My backyard version of the music includes the chatter of birds surprised by the explosion.

The cannon sits on top of the Janiculum hill just above our apartment.  I still jump with surprise if I’m not braced for the sound even though I’ve heard its thunder nearly every day for a year.

Last week I climbed the hill to witness the daily ceremony.  I live only a few hundred meters away but my rituals take me downhill so I hadn’t yet met the cannon.  It was time to be neighbourly.

And envious.

She occupies prime real estate on a bluff overlooking the city.  It’s one of the best views in town:



A few minutes before noon soldiers wheel the cannon out of storage and pack it with an empty shot:




What do you do with a herd of 10-year-old boys who have no school on an odd Friday?You take them to Piazza Farnese to play soccer.  They prefer to play on a grassy field but the mommies are in charge on this day and we choose a cobblestone pitch in the shadow of a Michelangelo masterpiece that is decidedly good as any stretch of dirt and grass.  We know the boys will chase a ball on any surface.  Not long after the game started a few bigger guys visiting from Hungary joined the fun and other tourists stopped to watch and cheer:



And the mommies?  We sat at a corner café with a perfect view of it all and sipped an aperitivo…



October kicked off with an afternoon boat ride in the bay of Naples to celebrate a friend’s 40th birthday:


And more of Rome this month:

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