A few years ago, before my first trip to Rome, one of the wisest and yet most practical people I know said that, for a Catholic, turning down the Via della Conciliazione — the road to St. Peter’s Basilica and the tomb of the first pope — would be like “coming home.” And so it is.
But there is no homecoming without a meal — without substance. And George Weigel’s new book Roman Pilgrimage, done in collaboration with Elizabeth Lev and his son Stephen, provides nourishment for both the inquirer and the believer, from a city whose bread and butter is Catholicism. Stephen Weigel is responsible for the photos in the book, and Elizabeth Lev provides art-history expertise. Rome, without the right tour guide, can be a dizzying succession of one church after another, all blending into a confusing uniformity. With the right guide, however, it can be a truly illuminative way.