in Rome was non-existent—with numerous holidays or frequent strikes, the result is the same—a piede (on foot)! We'd walked the entire day. Along with us were my sister, Lorraine and her friend, Harriet. Our touring had included the Campo Di Fiori (Field of Flowers) overseen by a statue of Friar Giordano Bruno in hooded regalia who, branded a heretic by the thought police of his day, was later burned at the stake in this very square for professing scientific heresy; the Roman Forum; San Giovanni Laterno, home to the graves of six popes; the archiological sub-basement of San Clemente, a place that inhabits the past, and site of a 3rd century temple dedicated to the sun god, Mithras; the Trevi Fountain; the Spanish Steps; Piazza Popalo and a brief stop at Santa Maria in Aracoeli (Altar of Heaven) to see paintings by Carvaggio before arriving at the Pantheon. It ranked with a death march, though everything considered, a pleasurable one. Plumb tuckered out by this time, we felt like Trireme galley slaves and needed a drink. Afternoon had taken hold when we settled in welcomed relief at a table of an outdoor cafe to the side of Fontana del Pantheon, the fountain located in the center of Piazza della Rotonda in front of the Pantheon.
No longer participants in the melee, we'd transitioned into self-made observers. At a table beside ours, so close that they touched in an almost intimate act, which considering the significance of the real estate we were squatting on made sense, a young couple was already enjoying their drinks. The ice-bound, bright orange-tangerine, almost fluorescent color of their cocktails caught my attention. As close as we were, no more demanding then talking to my sister, I inquired what they had there and thus proper introductions were made to the Aperol Spritz. That first swallow of its unique flavor was a invigorating awakening, reveille to thirsty taste buds. Between cathartic sips of our own coolers, we learned that our neighbors were on a six week honeymoon all the way from distant Australia. This, their first stop, would be followed by Paris and then London. About then, Maria Elena reminded me how on our honeymoon drive to Cape Cod, we'd opened the wedding gift envelopes we'd received that day in the modest hope it would pay for our brief stay. Boy, how times have changed. Thinly stuffed envelope memories aside, a second round for the four of us only added to our relaxation there in the piazza under a shading umbrella. It was transporting, for now, well past relaxed, we were without a care in the world. Its prescriptive 11% alcohol by volume had kicked-in, so, so nicely.
ships that disgorge tender-loads of too-eager passengers. From the fountain square, Piazza del Duomo, it meanders but a few hundred yards, if that far, along Via Lorenzo D’Amalfi, before it changes name to Via Pietro Capuano and dwindles into hillside paths when the ravine ends. Essentially just as long Via Spaccanapoli splits Naples down its ancient center, so Via Lorenzo D’Amalfi and Via Pietro Capuano do to Amalfi.
official spirit—the Aperol brand advertized and served during home games—this signature drink had become the official drink of our little company as well. Without the least hesitation, our waiter brewed a few and was even kind enough to top them off, table-side, with additional Prosecco after a few sips and the fizz had subsided. We could have remained there indefinitely, one longish draw after another, but there was a boat to catch.