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Rome Day One: Vaticano, Castel St. Angelo, Piazza Navona, Campo Dei Fiori

Photo of Anne Thompson By Anne Thompson | Thompson on Hollywood August 29, 2010 at 9:08AM

After a long travel day, I was up bright and early to grab a caffe latte and walk briskly along the ancient Tiber River--my apartment is one block from Ponte Sisto in the old center city--to huge bright St. Peter's Square and the Vatican. The scale of St. Peter's Basilica is so stunning that more than one visitor gasps at the entrance. Michelangelo's Pieta is on your immediate right, and I particularly loved the statue of St. Peter with his right foot worn from centuries of caresses. I stayed for Latin Mass, very cool, reminding me of the weekly sung Episcopal mass from my youth at St. Hilda's. I got the gist of the homily, even in Italian (don't lust for career, success, winning and material possessions; being humble before God and loving friends and family is more important. Aren't they all like that?).
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Thompson on Hollywood

After a long travel day, I was up bright and early to grab a caffe latte and walk briskly along the ancient Tiber River--my apartment is one block from Ponte Sisto in the old center city--to huge bright St. Peter's Square and the Vatican. The scale of St. Peter's Basilica is so stunning that more than one visitor gasps at the entrance. Michelangelo's Pieta is on your immediate right, and I particularly loved the statue of St. Peter with his right foot worn from centuries of caresses. I stayed for Latin Mass, very cool, reminding me of the weekly sung Episcopal mass from my youth at St. Hilda's. I got the gist of the homily, even in Italian (don't lust for career, success, winning and material possessions; being humble before God and loving friends and family is more important. Aren't they all like that?).

Thompson on Hollywood
Thompson on Hollywood
Thompson on Hollywood
Thompson on Hollywood
Thompson on Hollywood
Thompson on Hollywood
Thompson on Hollywood
Thompson on Hollywood

After checking out the imposing Castel St. Angelo, I met up with Variety critic Justin Chang and his girlfriend for a cool lunch in the shade (insalata di mare, pasta with red peppers). They're off to Florence today; we'll meet again in work-mode at the Venice Film Fest.I walked back through winding streets to the Piazza Navona, full of tourists and schlock art, but adored Bernini's cleverly over-the-top Four Rivers fountain. I found my way to a fun Cinema store and to the deserted Campo dei Fiori, which comes to life in the mornings and at night. It's quiet in the late afternoon on an August Sunday. Then I meandered down Via Giulia, a lovely quiet street, back to Ponte Sisto and my air conditioned apartment. Yes it's true. I ordered pasta again at dinner.

This article is related to: Festivals, On the Town


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Thompson on Hollywood

Born and raised in Manhattan, Anne Thompson grew up going to the Thalia and The New Yorker and wound up at grad Cinema Studies at NYU. She worked at United Artists and Film Comment before heading west as that magazine's west coast editor. She wrote for the LA Weekly, Sight and Sound, Empire, The New York Times and Entertainment Weekly before serving as West Coast Editor of Premiere. She wrote for The Washington Post, The London Observer, Wired, More, and Vanity Fair, and did staff stints at The Hollywood Reporter and Variety. She eventually took her blog Thompson on Hollywood to Indiewire. She taught film criticism at USC Critical Studies, and continues to host the fall semester of “Sneak Previews” for UCLA Extension.