When you think about Rome you probably think of pizza, pasta, wine, and the Colosseum, right? Well I admit to enjoying (more than) my fair share of pizza, pasta, and wine and I thoroughly enjoyed the Coloseum. The highlight for me however was the Vatican. Works of art, religious relics, and history surrounded me and I couldn't help but be speechless at times. Going to the papal audience was the one thing I HAD TO DO and it did not disappoint.
It is no secret that I seek out the paranormal on my international trips, and I don't hesitate to run through a cemetery or two. Cemeteries in other countries are often absolutely stunning and such a great learning experience about their history, culture, and superstitions. I made it to the catacombs (you will read about it in a separate blog) but unfortunately did not make it to a public cemetery. I guess a return visit to Italy is required.....
Our Airbnb was in the Monti district of Rome. Not far from the Coloseum, it oddly seemed to bea separate city unto itself. With stores, restaurants, and a train station nearby, we didn't lack a thing. Around the corner from the apartment was a church nestled within a cluster of businesses, its architecture in stark contrast to the rest of the neighborhood yet easy to overlook. Once I entered, it was as if the rest of the world disappeared. Chiesa di San Lorenzo in Fonte was a hidden gem right in our neighborhood!
The story of San Lorenzo is that he was arrested in 258 by troops of the Emperor Valerian and was locked up by a centurion in an underground prison of what was then a palace. While incarcerated, San Lorenzo met a blind man by the name of Lucillo. Lorenzo baptized Lucillo with water from an underground spring and immediately restored his sight. Over a thousand years later, sometime in the early 1300's, the church was built over the site of the miracle and the well still remains with water from the underground spring. Lorenzo was martyred when he was burned alive in August of 258.
It is hard to get people to talk about the paranormal in some countries, and Italy is no different. Ask a few questions and I am often told they don't know anything about it but, once in a while, I get a look that will tell you they believe but can't or don't want to talk about it. Still it won't deter me from at least getting the ghost stories of the area and checking things out for myself. If you ever get a chance to visit Rome, I highly recommend making a special trip to find this church. Not far from the Cavour-Termini train station, you will have the opportunity to experience some unusual history and being spitting distance to some great food! If you haven't used Airbnb before and want to give it a try (I love the privacy), you can use my link and get a $40 credit (www.airbnb.com/c/aporterfield1).