This afternoon, I decided to do a dry run getting to and from the site of my "studium," presumably hoping to eliminate in advance at least one more of the many accumulated sources of anxiety and dread as I anticipate the first day of class on Monday. So I took the #62 bus to the Ponte Vittorio Emmanuele, then walked over to the next bridge, Ponte Principe Amadeo d'Aosta, to cross the Tiber. (The Royal Family may have been ousted in 1946, but their names are on enough places and streets that they certainly won't be forgotten!). Once across the river, it was a shot (uphill) walk - up the Gianicolo to the Pontificia Università Urbaniana on the Via Urbano VIII. The guard was friendly, but explained that the building were all closed and I would have to wait till Monday to go inside the building where the class will be held.
My companion and I then walked along the Via Gianicolo, past the gated North American College and the headquarters of the Equestrian order of the Holy Sepulcher to the park-like area around the Garibaldi Monument, which offers a panoramic view of the City below - and the snow-capped mountains in the distance. Then we walked back down the hill - appropriately, like the Magi, returning by a different route, that took us through the most familiar sections of Trastevere, past several famous churches, among them Sant' Egidio and Santa Maria in Trastevere. Churches are always popular stops for tourists, but especially in this Christmas season, when each church shows off its praesepio. Even "secular" sites have such nativity scenes. I was quite taken with the tall Christmas Tree and illuminated praesepio on display right in fron of the Vittoriano (the famous monument to Vittorio Emmanuele II, dedicated just over 100 years ago, when Church and State were still so vehemently at odds in Italy).
It was a lot of walking. Rome, like New York, is often described as a walking city. Knoxville, for all its many other charms, is not a walking city, and I have sadly gotten out of the habit of walkign to places since moving there. Rome, however, is a city whose stone pavements can be hard on one's feet (and disastrous, I suspect, for one's shoes). So I was worn out considerably by the time we caught the bus at largo Argentina and returned home. But I was glad, not just that I had satisfied my original purpose in checking out the route to Monday's class, but also that I had had the endurance to walk again after my current sedentary and automotive life, however worn out i was from the infelicitous pavements.
Three cheers for urban pedestrian life!