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The Eternal City, a birthday and a farewell party

Sad and happy moments. Yesterday was Flavian's birthday, although it's today that we go to the Flavian Amphitheatre (aka The Colosseum) and it was also the sad moment of having to say farewell to Angus Stainton, the son of two students who had met on the John Hall Course in 1987 (correct me if I'm wrong)...hopefully his lovely sister Tilly, who was one of the students of 2020 will be able to come back to us next year... but yesterday Frank and I took the group around, to a beautifully empty Piazza Navona where the various Bernini fountains are, then to the fascinating Pasquino statue, one of Rome's 'talking statues', on which were posted complaints, gossip, observations etc. The statue is part of what was left of a 1st century BC image of Menelaus with the body of Patrocolus, the 'restored' version of which is in Florence's Loggia dei Lanzi.

After that a group went up to St Peter's to hear the Pope deliver his Urbi e Orbi blessing and then after lunch is was back up the hill to the Capitoline Museum, and finally to the two great Jesuit churches, Sant'Ignazio and the Gesu, where we got to watch the 'Baroque Machine', where Pozzo's fantastic altarpiece of Sant'Ignazio, the founder of the Jesuit movement, sinks into the altar, with 17th century music, song and light, the Counter-Reformation certainly pulled out the stops!

An impromptu birthday party/ farewell event finished off the evening