We took weird route at dinner time, aiming for the street where we ate last night but somehow ending up on the backside of the Pantheon. An interesting perspective – unlike the frontside, the back is all exposed brick, the result of the Popes stealing all the marble cladding from the Roman buildings in the years after the fall of the Empire. Some bits of marble remained here and there, but overall it was stripped bare.
Stumbling on this spot was propitious – I was looking for Santa Maria de Minerva, a nice Baroque church with one more of the thirteen obelisks in Rome out front. Found both, diagonally from the Pantheon. This obelisk is special because someone had the brilliant idea of erecting it on the back of a very charming elephant, carved by Bernini. And there it was, right out in front of the church. We stepped inside to have a look, and Saturday night mass was underway so we were quiet and respectful. It was beautiful, with the ceilings painted in sky blue with golden stats instead of the normal depictions of angels and saints soaring in the firmament.
We chose a very traditional restaurant for dinner, the walls were lined with the kind of photos, paintings and knick-knacks you’d find in your Sicilian grandmother’s farmhouse. MLW had Fettuccini with Porcini Mushrooms, I had Maialino da Latte, baby roast pig served in milk with roasted potatoes. It was unquestionably my favorite meal so far.
Walking home it started to rain lightly and we made it to the door just in time.