I have been in Rome since Sunday, after several days spent in England with family in Derbyshire last week. Here in Rome I am sharing an apartment in the Trastevere district with my family and other friends. I have found Rome wonderful so far and the visit to the Coliseum yesterday the highlight -- quite breathtaking. I found time when I was last here in 2004 for a beer at a cafe next door to the coliseum, but this was my first proper visit. You can watch any number of documentaries, read any number of books and articles, but being inside the real thing is exhilarating.
Today we walked to Vatican city and spent time in St Peter's Square before going to the Vatican Museum and the Sistine Chapel. With feet aching by early evening, we walked back with thunderstorms behind us and found a nice little pizzeria off the beaten track near our apartment. Likewise last night -- a super little streetside restaurant, very reasonably priced. On both occasions I have eaten proper Italian pizza and it's been excellent.
Tomorrow morning I will be properly reminded why I am here, to participate in the SBL International Meeting which got underway tonight. It is my first SBL International and I look forward to sharing my first thoughts tomorrow. I'm on at 9am, I think, in the Pauline Epistles section, so I will need to be up bright and early.