When I put away the guidebook, Rome unfolds… Church doors open to masterpieces. Open the door of Sant’Ivo della Sapienza (Corso di Rinascimento 40, around the corner from Piazza Navona) and there’s this snowflake of a dome, designed by the Renaissance superstar Borromini. This is open ONLY on Sunday mornings, when there’s a folk mass–guitars and kids singing.
Mass is usually at 9:30, but check in case they’ve changed the schedules. It’s a small church that fills up with the locals, which means you get to be amidst another Italian masterpiece: beautiful faces.
It could set you off on a Golden Sunday morning of Church Door Opening. Free art. Cool in the summer, warm in winter. Candles. Peaceful feeling.
As long as you’re in the Sant’Ivo della Sapienza area, wander over to…
San Luigi dei Francesi ( Via Di S. Giovanna D’Arco, 5–Closed Thursday afternoons). Open the door with the star on it. Go to your left for 3 Caravaggio masterpieces–the Inspiration of Saint Matthew is breathtaking.
There’s another stunning Caravaggio at nearby Sant’Agostino (Piazza Agostino): Madonna di Loreto.
Wind your way through Piazza Navona, past Bernini’s Fountain of the Four Rivers–a scene that will be crowded on Sunday.
It’s time fora long lunch in the narrow streets tucked behind the Piazza: Virginiae Cucina Romana, Via di Parione 41 (06 6875 150), where mamma cooks lasagna.
Best Caffe around: Caffe della Pace, Via della Pace 3
In the evening, if the timing is right, there may be a classical music concert happening at the Baroque Borromini Sacristy in Piazza Navona or in the courtyard that fronts Sant’Ivo. Check out In Rome Now for listings: http://www.inromenow.com
At the Borromini Sacristy, the 12 euro ticket price includes a free post-concert glass of prosecco at Cul de Sac, one of Rome’s most beloved wine bars.