The Abbey of the Three Fountains, located off the busy Via Laurentina in south east Rome, is where association members met on a rainy Saturday morning. Greeted by their guide Silvia and a larger than life statue of Saint Benedict, hushing visitors as they enter the abbey to ora et labora.
The monastery is the site of three churches, the church of St. Paul, the church of Santa Maria Scala Coeli and the church of Saints Vincent and Anastasius. The site is best known for the martyrdom of St. Paul the Apostle who was imprisoned and eventually beheaded on these grounds. Tradition says that his severed head fell and bounced three times and on each bounce, a fountain of water sprang.
We visited the Church of SS Vincent and Anastasius, an unadorned church echoing the simplicity of the site, built by Pope Honorius I in 626 and given to the Benedictines who occupied the site at that time.
At the end of a pathway used for meditation, lies the Church of St. Paul, built on the spot where the apostle was beheaded. St. Paul’s is a small unconventional chapel with the alter situated on the left. A tribute to the three fountains occupies the back wall whilst the centre nave displays a beautiful Roman mosaic donated by Pope Piux IX, said to have been brought here from the port of Ostia.
Today the abbey is occupied by the monks of the Cistercian order, more commonly known as the Trappists. Famous for their lambswool which is used to make the vestments of new archbishops. They also make and sell homemade beer, chocolate and other produce from the eucalyptus trees surrounding the site. Our tour terminated with a visit to the shop where members were able to purchase some of the local delicacies. Thank you Silvia, for a lovely morning!
With Spring at the door and the arrival of warm weather, the Association is launching a photo competition. Members are invited to take a photo of a sunset from their balcony or garden. The member who takes the best photo will win free renewal membership for the year 2020-2021.
To enter, you must be a member or a member offspring. The best photograph will be selected by a jury of committee members who will not know the author of the photo. Entry deadline is May 31at, giving you ample opportunity to catch a stunning sunset. Send your photo to the Association email.
The winner will be announced in the June newsletter.
In the historic neighbourhood of Campo Mazio, just across the road from Richard Meier’s Ara Pacis lies Il Marchese, a Roman Osteria loosely based on Alberto Sordi’s acclaimed film, “Il Marchese del Grillo”. Though when one steps inside the association to the film is quite hard to distinguish.
The interior mixes warm wood with long marble counters and a graphic black and white floor, giving you a sense of trendy Milan as opposed to historic Rome. An open space kitchen with only glass separating the cooks busy at work, from customers at their tables enjoying typical Roman dishes. Their menu is available online and includes some unusual takes on restaurant dining such as poached egg with parmesan cheese and grilled bread or octopus “mortazza” and “bagna cuada” sause. The first courses are what you would expect from a Roman Osteria, though their choice of serving dishes are quite unusual, with the Amatriciana being served in small frying pans, though there is nothing unusual about the taste, cooked al dente with crunchy bacon it would make the town of Amatrice proud.
After our desert, Pistacchio Tiramisu we were approached by the Amaro bar barman. Il Marchese boasts a huge collection of “Amari”, the Italian digestif herbal liquor, and claim to have the first Amaro bar in Europe. With something to please all tastes from very amaro (bitter) to something a little sweeter, all ingredients are natural and quality controlled. Be warned though that even a small taste will impact your final bill.
The lively and casual environment, interesting retro come modern décor and friendly staff, make this a nice spot to lunch or dine with friends.
Two association members had Sunday lunch at Il Marchese in February 2020.
At 9.30am, on a sunny Saturday in May, a group of British Ex-pat members and their friends met up with Prof. Ferruccio Trabalzi for a tour of the Aqueduct Park along the Via Appia. Prof. Ferruccio is a professor of Sociology and Anthropology at The American University of Rome. His area of interest is Roman urban spaces and how they relate to identity and culture.