Love in the Eternal City Part 4: Dinner the Night Before
The Captain and I did not have a wedding rehearsal since they’re not permitted at Saint Peter’s Basilica. We did, however, have a dinner party at Ristorante Da Pancrazio which was hosted by my in-laws. Since we only had thirty guests they were all invited to the dinner event which took place in the cellar downstairs. What makes the restaurant so fascinating besides the location near Campo di Fiori is its history. Ristorante Da Pancrazio is located in the Theatre of Pompeii the famous site where Julius Caesar was assassinated. The restaurant’s cellar was a private section with a intimate, earthen dining area. I remarked on how the pillars that still dotted the room could have come right out of a Roman ruin. It turns out they had! The restaurant had been built over part of Pompeii’s Theatre and many of the stonework was incorporated into the building. One could almost feel the history of Rome’s greatest general surrounding us.
Julius Caesar was perhaps the most pivotal figure in Rome’s storied history. Having returned from Gaul with the victorious 13th Legion at his back, he crossed the Rubicon River into Italy (An act of treason to do so with an army), chased Pompey Magnus out of Rome, and set himself up as Dictator Perpetuo. His brief rule and resulting assassination forever changed the course of the Roman Republic and set the stage for the Roman Empire to become the preeminent power of its day.
Having spent most of the afternoon with my family left me in good spirits. I also got around to making the final arrangements for our wedding reception, but was still slightly perturbed because the florist had yet to return my emails. Like most brides, I too, wanted perfection on my wedding day and not having a bouquet nor flowers for my wedding party upset me. What bride doesn’t have a bouquet? Luckily, there were countless flower shops all over Rome and my dear mother and sister went out of their way to throw together some flowers for me. Being creative types, they had no trouble coming up with a beautiful assortment of flowers for the bridesmaids and myself. I am truly grateful to have such a thoughtful, supportive, and loving family who go out of their way for me.
Later that evening, dressed in a fashionable red cocktail dress and sassy Louboutin pumps, I arrived at the restaurant with my family. We made our way down narrow spiral stairs and into the cellar where the dinner party was being held. The Captain and his parents had arrived earlier and I found him mingling with some of the guests who were already present. Joining him, I greeted relatives and friends and even took the initiative in introducing guests to one another. I’m the introverted one in the relationship so I tend to become uncomfortable in social situations and even find them to be draining at times, but for some reason I didn’t mind chatting with my guests and had an excellent time. If only I could be a social butterfly more often!
A few minutes later everyone took their seats and the waiters started serving dinner. The food was unsurprisingly delectable and kept right on coming. I even lost count of how many courses were served. Right before dessert the Captain got up from his seat to make an announcement. He made a toast to our family and friends thanking them for making the long journey and even toasted me! After that he handed me a gift wrapped box. I wasn’t expecting anything so I was a bit taken aback but ecstatic at the same time so I stood up and started opening the present in front of the guests. It was a black Coach wallet! I turned to the Captain and was about to hug him when he told me to open it. Inside I discovered several different types of currency – Euros, Turkish Liras, and Croatian Kunas and that’s when he revealed that we would need them all for our honeymoon! The Captain had kept the honeymoon a secret, and he had waited until tonight to announce that we would travel to Venice, Dubrovnik, Santorini, Corfu and Kusadasi. I was already jubilant to begin with but finding out about our cruise along the Mediterranean made me even more exultant!
The rest of the night was spent conversing, eating, and taking pictures with our delightful guests before heading back to our hotels. After saying goodbye to family and friends I kissed my betrothed goodnight and got into the taxi cab. Once I took my seat my eyes searched for the Captain – I spotted him by the building talking to his father with a mirthful expression on his face. As I watched him I couldn’t help but smile. The next time we would see each other would be at the Chapel of the Choir in Saint Peter’s Basilica where we would take our vows of marriage in front of our family and friends. Morning couldn’t come soon enough!