Every day on my way to class I pass the front gate of a luxury resort hotel on the Janiculum hill, called the Villa Agrippina. It looks like a very nice (if expensive) place for family and friends to stay, as it is just a few steps from the College.
For those who can recognize it, the name is evocative of all the opulence of the Empire at its height: Agrippina the Younger was the fourth wife of the Emperor Claudius (r. 41-54 AD), and the mother of the Emperor Nero by a previous marriage. It is said that she poisoned Claudius’ mushrooms in order for her son to ascend the throne.
Nero, of course, would later go on to initiate the first major persecution of Christians, whom he blamed for starting a great fire in the city that (conveniently for him) burned down entire neighborhoods that stood in the way of a new palace he had plans to build for himself. It was during the course of this persecution that St. Peter was martyred in the Circus Vaticanus, the site on which St. Peter’s Basilica now stands.
All this is a roundabout way of saying that the Villa Agrippina is probably a nice place to stay, but it may be best to eat elsewhere.