Well, I guess God, the Pope, and Julian Caesar are going to have to forgive me for Wednesday's sins. I did the unthinkable and skipped the Vatican. Now, before you get all judgemental on me, just remember that I've been there before...on at least five separate occasions. Been there, done that, got the t-shirt. Basically, I needed a break. And as much as she is my passion, Ancient Rome is also my work, so I decided to take the day to be in modern Rome and do as the Romans do. So I slept until 10, lazed about until 11, finally got myself together and left by noon. I made my way downtown and left it to my memory to find my favorite wine shop/trattoria. Success! It was right where I left it in 2004, and, they were having a 20% off sale! I feebly asked for "suggestione, e something speziale, a State Uniti" or something to that effect. A nice gentleman assisted me, asking only "rosso?" to which I replied "si." Four nicely bubble-wrapped bottles later, I turned the corner to the attached cafe. The winelist by the glass was in four sections, labelled cult, classic, chic and casual, and there were different symbols to denote rosso, biancho, or rosata. I asked the waitress to choose a nice red and she brought me a taste of Brecciarolo, which apparently is a Sangiovese and Montepulciano blend. Very nice. With that, in air-conditioned comfort, surrounded by beautiful and smartly dressed Italians (interestingly mostly male), I enjoyed a leisurely lunch. I started with an appetizer of warmed fresh bufala mozzarella over arugula. For my main course I had thinly sliced beef rolled around marinated zucchini flowers and topped with shaved parmesan and toasted almonds (practically licked the plate on that one). Then, a dessert of dark chocolate cake layered with ricotta mixed with candied lemon. And there was an Uncle Gene look-alike sitting right behind me. I had to do a triple-take ha ha. It was a fabulous lunch, after which I went back to the apartment for a siesta. We had tickets for the opera for the evening - Madame Butterfly at the Baths of Caracalla. It was an amazing outdoor setting and wonderful experience, but a little confusing to watch an opera set in Japan being sung in Italian at an Ancient Roman site. Nevertheless, we had a great time and all in all, I had a fabulous Wednesday.