Love in the Eternal City Part 2

Date of Travel: May 07, 2010

From the very moment I opened my eyes I knew that it was going to be a hectic day.  The Captain and I had to obtain the Nulla Osta from the US Embassy in Rome, meet with the parish priest at Santa Susanna to confer about the ceremony, and get together with our wedding photographer to discuss details.  There was still so much to do and only a limited amount of time to complete our tasks.

Before heading down for breakfast with the Captain, his parents, and M I got dressed and checked my voicemail.  My parents along with my little sister and her fiance were all supposed to fly to Rome the day before and arrive in the afternoon.  Sure enough I did receive a couple of voicemails from them.  The first was to inform me that they were in an aircraft at Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport, delayed because of the volcano and another reassuring me that they were on their way and should be arriving later than expected.  Relieved, I made my way downstairs and into the restaurant where I met up with the Captain and his parents who were already seated at a table.

They all said good morning and as I took my seat a waiter asked what I would like to drink.  I ordered cappuccino and after making small talk I made my way to the buffet table where a huge selection of decadent varieties of food were waiting.  There were pastries, scrambled eggs, bacon, ham, boiled eggs, toast, english muffins, etc.  To my delight they had Nutella croissants!  I love Nutella croissants so I shamelessly put several on my plate and got a glass of blood orange juice.  Breakfast was delicious and I even got seconds!

Afterward we waited around the hotel for the arrival of the Captain’s brother D, his best friend from childhood A, and other guests.  Once they arrived we all went to Piazza Navona for a tour.  The Captain, M, and I had walked around the piazza’s ancient cobblestones the previous day, but didn’t enter the marvelous architectural wonders before us.  The Captain’s mother hired two tour guides to show us around Rome.  They were very informative and we learned quite a bit.  Our very first stop were the fountains and then we went to the church of Sant’ Agnese in Agone.

The opulent interior of the Baroque church was so exquisite that I found myself breaking away from the group to take photographs.  The church of Sant’ Agnese in Agone was commissioned by Pope Innocent X in 1652 to several architects like Girolamo Rainaldi and his son Carlo Rainaldi.  Also included to the construction of the church were two of the most famous Baroque architects of the time; the sculptor Gian Lorenzo Bernini and Francesco Borromini.  It is said that they had a fierce rivalry as depicted through their sculptures – one of the figures in Bernini’s Rio de la Plata is sculpted cowering in fear as if he thought that the facade designed by Borromini would fall on top of him.

The Pantheon was the next stop of the tour.  Unfortunately, the exterior was undergoing construction so I was unable to take any photographs of the Pantheon in it’s full unrivaled splendor.  However, we did go inside where I took several photographs.  The Pantheon was built as a temple to the ancient Roman Gods and rebuilt by Emperor Hadrian.

We made several stops before taking a gelato break.  It was at the gelataria where my parents called to tell me that they had landed and were on their way to the Atlante Star Hotel.  Knowing about our busy schedule they offered to meet us in the evening for dinner.  I felt a bit melancholy as I hung up because I really wanted to see them.

Our trip to the US Embassy was an enlightening look into the bureaucratic workings of the Department of State.  That being said, it was not at all what we expected.  Once we cleared the security checkpoint and passed through the grand courtyard, it became much more like an Italian version of the DMV.  There was a small waiting area for those seeking forms with a sign saying “now serving number 50” on the wall.  There was no place to take a number and we were later told that the numbers were not used.  I guess the sign was just a decoration. There were four booths, none of which were manned.  An elderly gentleman finally arrived at one but informed us that he was just the cashier and couldn’t help us.  In time another person arrived and started randomly selecting people from the waiting crowd and conversing with them in Italian.  We started to get a little worried as the embassy was only open Tuesdays and Thursdays, and even then only for a very limited time. If we couldn’t get our Nulla Osta today, we wouldn’t be allowed to marry at St. Peters.  We finally were called up and told the man what we needed.  He produced a form (mostly in Italian) and helped us fill it out.  It took the Captain three tries before they would accept it, once because the date was filled in with the clerks blue pen while the rest was in black.  Apparently blue ink was acceptable as was black ink, but any combination of the two voided the whole form!  We were then called in to see the consul who asked us some questions and sealed the document.  We left the embassy to rejoin our family and friends outside, but were a little worried as to whether or not we had the right documentation because the form didn’t say Nulla Osta anywhere on it.  We would soon find out, however, because our next stop was a visit to Father G; the witty and surprisingly cool priest from Santa Susanna Parish.

The meeting with Father G went well and I started to feel a little bit more relaxed.  Prior to the meeting I had no idea what to do, where to go, what time to show up, or whether we even had the right paperwork.  Father G answered all of our questions and gave us hologramed security passes to the back gate of Saint Peter’s Basilica to hand to our guests.  By the time the Captain and I got back to the hotel we were exhausted from running around the city but we still had to meet up with our wedding photographer to take some pre wedding pictures.  I ran to my room and changed into black slacks, top, a cute vest and high heeled ankle boots. Inspired by the fashionable and gorgeous Italians, I was originally going to wear a short and trendy black and white dress paired with sexy sky high Christian Louboutin pumps but decided to wear pants instead.

I went to the lobby to wait for the photographer to arrive.  Fifteen minutes later the Captain and I were sitting across from her discussing photography ideas and locations.  RC is a very talented American photographer living in Rome so we knew we were in good hands.  Her work is stunning and we couldn’t have picked a better photographer to capture the most important day of our lives.  Also RC is very helpful – she gave me recommendations to make up artists, transportation, and florists.  Her information helped me greatly since I didn’t have a wedding planner.

One of the things that I admired about RC besides her talent was that she put the Captain and I at ease.  When someone takes photographs of you and you are uncomfortable it will show.  Once the photography session ended the Captain and I walked to the Atlante Star Hotel where my parents were staying.  We didn’t have to walk far because we found them wandering the streets taking in the sites.  It felt so wonderful to finally see them and they went with us back to the Hotel Raphael to have dinner with the Captain’s family at the restaurant.

Having dinner at the rooftop restaurant was the perfect way to end our long day.  The food was delicious and there were even fireworks lighting up the sky and further enhancing the gorgeous view.  It was a treat to watch our families bond and I felt closer to the Captain.  That night I went to bed feeling relaxed and looked forward to our trip to Florence in the morning.

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