Today I visited Radio Vaticana (Vatican Radio) with my new friend from the palestra (gym), Leena Monti. She is a delightful 70ish yo Finnish woman who is a journalist. She has lived in Rome for over 30 yrs, having married a Roman, who she met in Finland. Her husband passed away many years ago, and she continues to live in the same flat around the corner from the palestra, that was originally his parents. She refers to her building as a “palace” and I’m sure when it was built and she moved in, it seemed like a palace! We met at the palestra one day a few weeks ago and started talking, having noticed each other because we were the only women working out who were working hard enough to sweat. She speaks some English, along with Italian and Finnish, and last week she invited me to accompany her to her office one day for a tour.
I met her outside her palace and we took the bus together towards her office. She pointed out that once we entered the building, we would be in Vatican City. She showed me around, and introduced me to her coworkers as her “American friend who doesn’t speak any Italian”.
Vatican Radio (there’s a link to it on the right) provides radio programs in 45 languages, to people around the world not only about the going-ons of the Pope and religious programing, but also about politics, music and human interest stories. Each journalist writes, records, mixes and basically produces their own show. I met a woman from New Jersey, who told me she was from “the Garden State”. She had come to Rome during her last semester of college 30 yrs ago, married a Roman, and today was working on her music program highlighting the music of Bruce Springsteen! This week Leena interviewed both the Prime Ministers of Italy and Finland for material for her radio program. She shared with me that she had a close relationship with the prior Pope, having corresponded with him for many years. She’s quite amazing.
To get home, I took a bus suggested by Leena. Unfortunately, I didn’t ask specifically where the bus would let me off close to home, so it was a bit of an adventure. I got off at the Basilica di San Giovanni in Laterano, which is about a 15 minute walk from home. Michael and I have passed it many times, usually in a cab headed somewhere else, and although I was tired, I decided to take a look. The Basilica is well known for begin the “Pope’s Church”, the only basilica in Rome outside of the Vatican where he will perform mass. It is very big and quite impressive and I snapped a few pictures on my iPhone which I can’t seem to post yet, so I’ll get them up soon.
Michael just told me there will be a transportation strike tomorrow, with the Metro only running in the morning and evening so people can get to and from work. It will be a good day for me to stay local. Until the next time…Arrividerci!
p.s I think I got the pics up now!