Tourists in Rome are walking graffiti. They scar the face of a city supposed to be sublime. (…) What could be more irreverent than tourists? Just look at them,with their cameras and cokes and caps and maps: anything but sublime. But then look – and think – again. If you really open your eyes, isn’t what you are seeing also a collective rite? The meal under the Pantheon’s colonnade – doesn’t that have a touch of the sacramental? The enthusiastic photographers taking pictures with cameras held aloft over the crowds, isn’t that capturing the sublime, a latter-day divination? The obligatory itineraries – don’t they too create a liturgy, one possibly worthy as any rite of yore? Pilgrims of old sought out relics; their successors today pore over maps. Aren’t both attempts to possess a piece of sacred soil? And, those plastic chariots, popes, Mother Teresas, centurions, gladiators, wolves, and colosseums – aren’t they all ex-votos, pocket reminders of grace obtained? Perhaps modern Rome still links heaven to earth – with tourists as part of the process.