Tuesday, March 2
Went to St. Agnes with the group and Constanza’s (daughter of Constantine) Mausoleum… a chapel that would hold Constanza and her sister’s bodies when they died. Her sarcophagus is in the Vatican..a wooden replica was there in the small, but high domed chapel…
St. Agnes’ chapel was beautiful, and very serene. Sort of tucked away, but still beautiful with its paintings and such. St. Agnes became a martyr at 13 years old. It’s actually rather disturbing. She had been recently converted to Christianity…and was being forced to marry a non Christian. She refused. And the emperor commanded her. She still refused. And he wanted her executed. (but back then you couldn’t execute a virgin) so he sent her to a brothel. Apparently no man would have her..one tried but he was struck blind. She put her hands on him and prayed for him and he was healed. Then the emperor ordered her to be burnt at the stake..but the torch wouldn’t light. (this is the part in the story where I wish the handsome prince came in). instead she was beheaded.
The Crypt was below her chapel. And we got to go into it!!! It was dark, creepy, claustrophobic. I kind of liked it. It was carved out of the sandstone from all the volcanic rock. And apparently beneath via Nomentana these catacombs spread. We followed a guide who explained certain areas and symbols carved on stone or (for the wealthy) marble plaques. I was so happy for my small-ness…because tall people were NOT meant to sidle through those narrow passages.
Back to the convent for lunch. Pasta from a little grocery I found while running. (with an older lady who spoke no English, and whose daughter handled “talking”with me. I suspect it being made there…because the bread sure was!
So the pasta, melted some cheese on it, then smeared a little pesto on as well and chopped tomatoes! Jill and I have skill when it comes to simple and delicious-ness…. And by this I mostly mean jill.. i just follow her lead.