Our walk continues but packless, poleless and pedestrian. Strolling the streets of Rome was delightful. The tourists are always there, because the Sistine chapel is always there. The weather is temperate, and on the odd hot and humid day, there is shade in abundance in those tall narrow streets that have not forgotten the past.

rome-2016-2Walking anywhere in Rome provides so many feasts. Bars are everywhere, and if you don’t mind leaning against one (as opposed to sitting) while you slurp or munch, then it’s village prices. We feasted on ruins at every corner; instant markets on idle streets; parks on vacant hills; and gelato.

A small but artistic church was the setting for the 3 new tenors who brought new life into an old building; applause replaced silence; and there were sounds that seemed to shake the fading frescoes. Enthralled by these 3 Italians, we let them massage our tired bodies and entertain our busy minds. Old Italian favourites that I ruin in the shower, were joined by Tosca and La Traviata that I also destroy on numerous other platforms.

Galleria Borghese escaped our previous attempts to visit but not this time. A long walk from our hotel home along those ancient streets, through the early dawn in Villa Borghese, along its simple broken pathways, brought us to its open doors. It wasn’t the Sistine, but those painted ceilings were enough to entice our arthritic necks skyward for longer than we should; the Bernini sculptures had us marvel at what he could find within a single slab of stone; and Caravaggio once again had us searching for his subtle mysteries.

We dipped in and out of some old favourites: the Trevi fountain that first drew Corrie to Europe decades ago; the Spanish steps that rekindle past romances and ignite new ones; a coffee shop in the ‘hanging vine back streets’ on the way to Michelangelo’s forgotten home in Piazza Venezia; and a bookshop where I found a short biography on Michel, called “The Pope’s Ceiling”, 10 years prior.

Amongst all this old, however, I discovered something new, at least for me. My bookshop had yet another pearl waiting for me – “The Sistine Secrets”. I am only halfway through this exciting and revealing book but already it has reconfirmed in me the greatness of this famous Florentine. The authors and writer of its foreword, have seen the Sistine ceiling close up after its recent cleaning which has revealed some fascinating truths about this so often misinterpreted masterpiece. We leave Rome in a thoughtful and reflective mood on a train to Assisi – who knows what secrets may lie there!