It was so great to be in Rome for research for my Medieval thriller Murder in Rome, starring Bulgarian Orthodox priest, archivist and detective Petar Ivanov. The Bulgarian ambassador is killed in 1240 AD.

The Bulgarian Emperor Plamen VI sends father Petar and his assistant deacon Alexander Nemev to catch the killer. Pope Gregory IX is supposed to assist the clergymen, but he is very busy in his power struggle with German Emperor Frederick II. Can the Bulgarians find the killer?

Rome is full of churches. I do absolutely love that. It is logical and understandable for the world’s Roman Catholic capital.

The Basilico Sacro Cuore is across the main Termini station, impressive both outside and inside. With beautiful murals, a Pope Pio IX statue with Latin text and the confession cabinets.

The moment you go inside the church you feel that you leave the city and receive the Lord’s blessing.

I do feel the urge to cross myself in every single church. I do so the Eastern Orthodox way. Catholics finish their crossing on the right shoulder, Orthodox do it on the left.