We sang at the Florence Cathedral and then headed to Assisi. We were there before that devastating earthquake that
significantly damaged the Basilica. I love Assisi. Walking around, it was easy to see why St. Francis loved nature – so very
peaceful there, gazing down to the green fields far below. We sang in the Basilica. It was the 4th of July, and after the
concert there was a small group of people standing outside. They wanted more – especially this little black-kerchiefed,
smiling woman. We sang a short reprise. More! We sang Windy. We even sang the Star Spangled Banner for her. I wanted
to hug that little black-kerchiefed woman.
We had two other scheduled engagements: at St. Mark’s in Venice (which has an amazingly long reverberation), and at the
Vatican. We were scheduled to sing in the Sistine Chapel, but that got canceled at the very last moment because of a
change in the Pope’s schedule. I am frankly not exceptionally fond of Rome, but Venice? Venice is simply magical. Rome is
crowded and touristy – unless you take a walk. One Sunday morning I took myself out for a stroll. The streets were totally
empty - I ended up at this old abandoned villa: I don’t know how old it was. It was a two-story edifice shaped like a “U”,
the second story had an arched catwalk with a stone railing overlooking the courtyard. It was in shambles, in a glorious,
ancient sort of way, and had marble statuary and broken columns pushed over and scattered around: all I could think of
was that this gorgeous place; these gorgeous pieces of ancient Rome, tossed around like old wine bottles in some New
York alley. That’s how rich the history of Rome is.
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