Gosh, finding WiFi can be a problem. But Roman coffee bars are a godsend in many ways. We’re just in one close to the amazing staircase that leads up to the medieval church of Santa Maria in Aracoeli. The name means ‘the altar in the sky’ and the stairs leading up to it are like a stairway to heaven.
It was next to here that we began this morning’s walking tour which took us from the Forum to the island in the Tiber on which stands the church of St Bartholomew. This was the inspiration for the founding of St Bartholomew’s Hospital in London. The court jester, Rahere, was on his way back from his pilgrimage to Jerusalem and was taken ill in Rome. In response to a vision he founded the hospital. Good things come out of pilgrimage and the touch of heaven on earth. These journeys are like steps on that staircase.