While I was living in Rome, I made a list of churches I wanted to visit. I would take a walk by myself almost every day to visit a different church—I often revisited the ones in my neighborhood, and then on the weekends, when I had a little more time, I would wander farther away and explore new ones. There are so many beautiful churches in Rome, it’s overwhelming!
There were plenty of incredible, iconic churches right near where I lived: the Pantheon (Santa Maria ad Martyres), the Basilica of Santa Maria Sopra Minerva, Sant’Andrea della Valle, Il Gesu, Sant’Ivo alla Sapienza, Sant’Eustachio, Sant’Ignazio, and Sant’Agnese, for starters. St. Peter’s was just a half-hour walk away. There was also Santa Maria in Monterone, where I played at Mass every Sunday.
Probably my favorite church to visit was a little chapel just nearby, San Giovanni della Pigna. It’s small and quiet, unassuming on the outside and ornate on the inside. There would often be Adoration happening there at the time I would usually stop by, so I started going back there more often. Also, there were rarely any tourists around (a contrast from most of the other churches in my neighborhood), so it was an especially peaceful place to visit.
When I returned to the States, I really, really missed my walks through the sunny streets of Rome (especially during the winter), and I missed being able to go off and explore new churches. I’m trying to do a little more of that here in New York, because there are actually a lot of beautiful churches I have yet to see. It’s great to have so many within walking distance (or subway distance), all with interesting backstories and architecture.