|view of Rome from Janiculum hill
Almost fifty years later, on a beautiful February evening, an equally unforgettable encounter, this time with Irish President Michael D. Higgins to whom I had the privilege of presented a copy of my book chronicling the participation of Irish soldiers in the Italian Risorgimento.
The magnificent and historic Villa Spada was the perfect setting for it played an important part in the bloodiest battles of the Italian Risorgimento in 1849.
Arriving by train we taxied to the Embassy which is located on the Janiculum hill, close to the American Academy and the American University.
The next time I will use Il Fontanone, or Gli Archi (Porta San Pancrazio) as a reference point, for Roman taxi drivers don't all know the embassy's street address.
We had time before the Reception to enjoy the view over the city from the panoramic terrace near the Fontanone. What a magical atmosphere surrounds this huge fountain built by Pope Paul V (Camillo Borghese) and embellilshed with the Borghese family's symbolic dragon.
dragon of the Borghese
|President Higgin's portrait adorns the library fireplace
|bouquet in one of the reception rooms
One of the entourage, Donal Denham, the Director of the Europe Division of the Foreign Affairs Department, may have historic family connections to our area of Northern Lazio.
|guests filled the four reception rooms
|guests from Ireland,Serbia and Italy
|Pauline Hennessy and Sabina Higgins "guarding" the President's copy of my book
|Ambassador Hennessy gives the welcome address
|Meeting Irish President Michael D. Higgins
|at end of the evening, empty glasses filled the fireplace mantle