And now for something completely different (or not so completely, actually) - on Wednesday, after a bunch of us had lunch with Fr. Carola in the Quirinale palace's piazza, on a whim he asked the guards if we could go in (it's usually closed to the public)... Lo and behold, they said yes, because apparently there are regular tours there lately due to the restoration of some ancient rooms within the palace. Best news - it's free!!
What is the Quirinale? Basically, it has historically been the residence of the governmental leader of Rome/Italy - originally a papal palace (during the time of the Papal States), then going through various secular governments from the time of Napoleon until today. Currently the President of the Italian state still lives in there (somewhere).
One more note here - on our way into the palace, being that it was an unplanned visit, we happened to be lugging with us, of all things, our newly refurbished antique Stations of the Cross - I can only imagine what the security guy thought about THOSE images on his screen, but of course, they didn't bat an eye when we said "excuse us, but would you mind if we left these Stations of the Cross with you for safekeeping until we finish the tour?" "No problem, just leave them in the corner." Only in Rome.