Rome 2009

Roma, la città eterna! One of my dream destinations in Europe, since…forever! When I, at last, set foot at the city, I had that feeling of accomplishment of a great target…and, at the same time, filled with excitement, I could not wait to discover this new land!

This time, I came prepared. A friend of mine, who passed six months here living as an Erasmus student, had given me a list of places worth visiting all over the city! Rome was exactly as I expected it to be: a beautiful mature lady, elegantly dressed, who is proud of the life she has lived and willing to tell you of the stories that have nourished her myth throughout the ages.

It was really hard to make a choice of what to include and what to exclude from a large list of monuments. So we decided to start with the most emblematic attractions: the Colosseum and the Vatican Museum, along with the Sistine Chapel and St Peter’s Basilica.

As soon as I faced the Colosseum standing tall, I shuddered bringing to my mind the amount of people that had lost their lives in its arena, struggling against one another or against wild animals. I denied to pay for a ticket to enter that place and limited myself to taking pictures around it. The Vatican Museum, on the other hand, has a huge variety of impressive works of art and in almost every room there is a sign informing the visitors of the direction to the Sistine Chapel…only that you have to show a lot of patience after the 3rd sign, when you really can’t wait any longer to witness the famous Michelangelo’s ceiling paintings! I don’t know if it was just anticipation or great expectations, but I finally found the chapel rather smaller than what I had expected, equally impressive in decoration as in the pictures in tourist guides, though. At the entrance of St Peter’s Basilica I stopped for some seconds, stunned and speechless, to admire the beauty and grandeur of the largest christian temple in the world. Then I wandered all over it, trying to capture in my mind and my camera what my eyes were witnessing.

OK, so it was about time to see the romantic side of Rome! We took the metro to the famous Spanish Steps at Piazza di Spagna-that was the plan at least-when, all of a sudden, some horse-drawn carriages totally absorbed us. The destination was Fontana di Trevi (Trevi Fountain) and the route was coming straight out of my dreams, passing through streets like Via Condotti (the center of fashion shopping in Rome) among hordes of tourists, buses, cars and medieval impressive buildings, Via del Corso till the Column of Marcus Aurelius and finally straight to the Fountain, which was, honestly, breathtaking like a visual trick! We watched the “show” along with some hundreds of ecstatic tourists, making it impossible to take a clear shot, without the interference of a hand, head, hat, whatever, in the picture!

While looking for a place worth visiting for a night walk and dinner without so many tourists, I remembered my friend’s suggestion to visit the Trastevere area, on the west bank of the River Tiber. The view of the river banks at night from any of its numerous bridges is simply stunning, but the key point is Isola Tiberina, the small island inside the river, where we had a fine example of what it means gelato (ice cream) in Italy: delicious! Alla prossima Roma, I will always miss you!

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