Hang the expense, I thought: I'm tired. So I bought a first class train ticket to Rome, and had a taxi take me right to my hotel. (Total cost for all this, €89.) I left my lodgings in Florence just after noon, and booked in here at about three o'clock. Very good.
I am tired, having not slept all that well, and having arisen to walk to 7.30 am Mass at Santa Trinità. I must say, I find Mass in Italian much more bearable than in English! Italian is close enough to Latin; I give all the responses in Latin (I know the new Confiteor, and can just about say Quia tuum est regnum et potestas et gloria, but am still unsure - in more ways than one - about the Latin of the Memorial Acclamations), and kneel to receive communion, as seems unremarkable here (most receive, standing, on the tongue, some, kneeling, on the tongue).
Wierdly, no one seems to have heard about the latest Roman decree (already in force back in Australia) that all must stand at the Orate fratres; nor was this in play in Scotland either (though it was in England).
In Italy, there seems quite some free diversity of posture: some kneel just for the Consecration, but many (including myself) kneel for the whole Eucharistic Prayer. I know and can recognize the words of the important bits of the Mass; as for the readings, well, I know something of the New Testament! To-day there was something about God's love from the First Epistle of St John, and Our Lord walking on the water in the Gospel...
Best of all, the sensible Benedictines at Santa Trinità have no stupid new forward altars, so Mass was said facing East.
I do wish Pope Benedict will turn the altars round, so we all face Christ again, not the passing world! (He's only a few hundred metres away, strange to think...)
After a hearty breakfast, I went and prayed at Santa Croce (the guards at the door seemed mildly surprised that a tourist would really want to do so, but I produced my Diurnal and explained in pidgin Italian that Mi Cattolico), then made a brisk and hasty march south across one of the bridges to Oltrarno, which I found disappointing overall (though certainly Santo Spirito is a very large church). I found in a bookshop such gems as a complete four-volume 1896 Roman Breviary, but as even a smaller more recent one-volume set was €120 I decided to demurr from making a purchase.
Very annoyingly, despite promising the good nuns at Carmel back home, I didn't find either of the twin sainted Carmelite mystics of Florence, neither Teresa Margaret Redi of the Sacred Heart, nor Mary Magdalen de' Pazzi (one or both of whom being incorrupt, too). You'd think they'd be better advertised. Nor did I make it up the hill to San Miniato al Monte.
In any case, I resolve to return often to Florence, my salary permitting!
This afternoon, I may potter over to St Peter's, grabbing a coffee en route, and at least visit a certain bookshop (Leonine Books or somesuch) that I didn't have time in last time here. I meet up with the usual suspects for dinner this evening; then to-morrow it's Mass at the N.A.C. (well. two: Fr wants me to serve his private Low Mass while the seminary have their solemn one) and so forth.