Tuesday, January 10, 2012

My Daily Commute

One unambiguous benefit of this experience is that I don't have to drive anywhere! Commuting, however, remains an integral component of my daily routine. Whatever else I may have done earlier that day, towards mid-afternoon Monday through Friday, I leave the Paulist apartment on Via Antonio Salandra to board the #62 Bus on Via XX Settembre. The bus immediately turns right at Largo Santa Susanna and then continues down two little streets (Via Bissolati and Via San Basilio) to Piazza Barberini (which is also one of the two nearby subway stops). There it follows Via del Tritone to Piazza Colonna, where it turns left onto Via del Corso. The bus follows that busy, shopping street all the way to its end at Piazza Venezia and the famous 1911 monument to King Vittorio Emmanuele II (which since 1921 also houses the Tomb of Italy's Unknown Solider). There it turns left onto Corso Vittorio Emmanuele II, passing the Palazzo Venezia (where Benito Mussoline once had his office and from whose balcony he often orated), the Jesuit Church of the Gesu, and St. Philip Neri's Chiesa Nuova. Two stops after Chiesa Nuova, I get off in front of the Ponte Vittorio Emmanuele II;, but, instead of crossing the Tiber there, I walk the short distance to the bridge named after Victor Emmanuel's popular nephew Prince Amadeo of Savoia, 2nd Duke of Aosta. Once across the river, then I begin the tedious walk up the Gianicolo Hill to the Universita Urbaniana. (The attached photo of of the back of St. Peter's Basilica as seen from the 3rd floor window of the building where my class meets).
Promptly at 4:00 p.m., we stand and pray (in Latin), then class commences (in Italian). Today we continued our introductory analysis of the concept of sanctity - focusing in particular on St. Thomas Aquinas' treatment of the topic. At 5:45, we finish. By then, of course, it is dark. Walking down the hill is a lot easier - and faster - than walking up. Across the Ponte Principe Amadeo is the bus stop. The return route is more or less the same, but at this hour the bus is much more crowded. I get off at Largo Santa Susanna, and I am home in under an hour from the end of class.
Being in a foreign country makes everything seem initially more complex and difficult - and tiring too. Other than the historically older buildings I pass each day and my more religiously interesting destination, however, the experience of commuting is probably not that much different from a bus ride in Manhattan!

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