I had dinner Saturday night at one of my new favorite places in Rome, “Terrazza Borromini” (entrance Via Santa Maria dell’Anima, 30). The chef is Francesco Grasso whom many of you met on visits to Rome when he was the chef at La Scaletta, right across the street from the entrance to Terrazza Borromini (he is the Bill Murray lookalike – when Murray was about 45). He was hired away from La Scaletta about a year ago and now works his kitchen magic at the Borromini.

I walked through Piazza Navona after dinner on my way to Corso Vittorio Emanuele to get a bus home. And this is what greeted me on the east side of the square as soon as I entered –

The ad says: LET’S BRING FRANCESCO TO THE WORLD – So Many Languages – Every Day – Just One Story

This Vatican News ad is on a canvas that covers Our Lady of Sacred Heart church as its façade is being restored. Many buildings that undergo cleaning and/or restoration are covered by similar canvases, and often the facade of the building or church is painted on the canvas.

Also quite often, as you can see here, publicity adorns the canvas. The usual practice is for the company that is advertising to pay a fee to the owners of the building (in this case, a church). Over time, I have seen buildings covered by canvas ads for as long as a couple of years! Samsung is quite big on doing this and its canvas publicity covers some Vatican buildings at the end of Via della Conciliazione and on Pza. Pio.

I was curious about this ad – and doubly so when I saw the identical ad Sunday from a bus as I was retuning home from Mass at St. Patrick’s. It covered a huge canvas on the building known as the Palazzo della Cancelleria, a Vatican building on Corso Vittorio Emanuele that houses the tribunals of the Vatican. The basilica of San Lorenzo in Damaso is also encompassed by this building.

I’ve now seen this ad two times, and both times on a church or church-owned building so I am guessing (hoping) there is no revenue involved.

In any case, I find it fascinating that the Vatican has chosen this method to advertise (in Italian) its (beta version) news site.

Makes me think of the EWTN publicity, “EWTN is everywhere!”