I recently added another year to my personal speedo. In those years I've had some dumb ideas and made some dumb plans. But I suspect that right up the top of that list would be my idea to avoid the crowds at St. Peter's Basilica by arriving bright and early on a Sunday morning.
I figured that the first mass was not until 9am, so the window from opening time at 7am until about 8 might be a relatively quiet period. How utterly wrong!
The first photo below shows the scene outside the colonnades when we first arrived at 6.50am.
With typical Italian efficiency no public admission occurred until 7.40am, and by then the scene where we were was as depicted in he second image.
We stayed to see how quickly those at the front of he grid got away, and which of those further down the starting order did something radical to make up ground early (almost all of them), then we turned and set off against the flood tide of further pilgrims to find coffee and cornetto. I'm beginning to think that the gods do not want me to see inside the Basilica. They have pre-disposed me to abhorring queues, then massed crowds at each attempt I have made (three so far) at getting in. I'll have one further crack before we depart the city.
Have you ever tasted a sauce, or a stock, or even a wine for that matter, and found it to be so complex, and to contain so many layers of competing and complimentary flavours, that it takes a little time to form an immediate impression about whether you like it or not?
Rome is that flavour.
Rome goes way beyond sweet, sour, salty, spicy. These are just some of the elements I've detected in the past several days that go to making up the flavour of Rome: