“Rome was a poem pressed into service as a city.”
I arrived in Rome last Sunday to start a trip that had always seemed too otherworldly to be a reality. Not more than a few hours passed and I had already been blessed by the Pope and by the best carbonara that my Olive Garden trained taste buds had ever indulged, #blessed. It has been a week and every day has failed to be boring; every borough has its charm, every corner is a hidden story. I find that Rome has a very unique aesthetic, an accidental product of all the civilizations that have inhabited it. In its spontaneity it is beautiful, and rhythmic, just like a poem.
We have been told to look at the layers of the city, not just at its surface. In some cities this exercise may require more effort, but Rome’s layers are remarkably exposed. Monuments from every period were have been reused in the next one, instead of destroyed. This practice has gifted us with Egyptian obelisks wrapped in renaissance bases, topped off with a catholic symbol, and temples once meant for roman gods, renamed and redecorated with marble madonna’s and giant crosses. In every street, Rome taps man on the shoulder and shows him the glory of his past, the splendor of his history. Perhaps this is what makes the city so beautiful.
In preparation for my trip, I watched two classic films set in the city: Roman Holiday and La Dolce Vita. Despite finding both films wonderful, after a few strolls around the eternal city, I find myself lamenting the fact that both had to be filmed in black and white. The white marble buildings contrasting against a burning sunset, the walls painted in Tuscan red and yellow invaded by centuries old climbing plants; Rome, especially in the summer, is meant to be appreciated in full color. I even avoid using sunglasses as to not corrupt my sight. So it is truly a shame that we do not get to see Audrey Hepburn’s supposedly light blue skirt float down the scalinata di Trinità dei Monti.
I have not been slow in exploring the city through its food, although I will most likely dedicate an entire post for those experiences. The rising temperatures during the week have provided me the perfect excuse to always have my hand wrapped around a gelato cone. My favorite flavor so far is cioccolato bianco, white chocolate, from Giolitti followed closely by mint. I will let you know if that changes.