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Kathleen and I have been arguing about going to Rome for years. She has wanted to go. I've had other priorities. Rome is so, well, Roman. "Eternal City" my hat. It was a pestilential swamp during most of the Middle Ages, and the presence of the Vatican City, astonishing as the great basilica of St Peter's might be, is hardly endearing.

Jake Morrissey's book about the rivalry between and respective careers of Franceso Borromini and Gianlorenzo Bernini changed my mind. I've got to go.

The Genius in the Design: Bernini, Borromini, and the Rivalry That Transformed Rome.


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Versailles was once a pestilential swamp too, "without woods, water or view" to quote the duc de Saint-Simon.

Kathleen is right, go to Eternal Rome; and report back!

I'd go anywhere in Italy. I've talked to one work friend who is Italian and we agree, we'd simply pack a fork and a napkin and one extra pair of pants that were a larger waist size. Aside from the art and the history, there's the food.

"Rome.... by all means, Rome." Audrey Hepburn as the visiting princess royal of an unnamed kingdom, in an undiplomatic but heartfelt response to a reporter's question, "Which is your favorite of the cities you have visited your Highness?" in the film, "Roman Holiday"

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