Friday morning after a night spent in a bungalow on the outskirts of Rome, I stepped out of the dark, graffiti-ridden Roman metro and into an embrace of blue sky and orange ruins. There was not a cloud in sight, instead a warm breeze pushed through my hair and I turned round in a circle with a wide open mouth, completely enchanted by the city that lay before me.
First sight off the metro: the Circo Massimo.
So different from the monochrome open streets of Paris, Rome was lively, colorful, and completely disorganized. And I loved it for that. Walking through narrow, maze-like streets making stops in each piazza to listen to street musicians, admire the architecture, and get hassled by art vendors we discovered small intricacies of the city that make it more than just a tourist destination.
More accordion players than in Paris.
A modern city built around the ruins of an ancient empire brings about a paradoxical effect that I had never experienced before going to Rome. Cats sprawled out in the sun on top of ruins, Vespas speeding past horse drawn carriages, and men dressed up as gladiators standing outside of the Colosseum combined the old and the new in a strange and incredibly enjoyable way. On top of that was the combination of ancient Roman mythology and Catholicism that creates an amazing art/architecture experience. We often found ourselves pointing and saying, “Wasn’t that in our art history textbook?”
The Pantheon was one of my favorite places to see.
Of course, since it’s spring break, we didn’t try too hard to identify our art history textbook items. In fact we spent most of the time prancing about eating gelato, pretending to be Audrey Hepburn in the movie Roman Holiday, and getting sunburned. Perhaps that’s why I loved Rome so much.
Also the coffee was amazing.
PS: This is merely part 1 of a series of posts about Italy, starring Judy, Jenna, Catherine and I dancing around in Rome, Florence, and Venice as if we were starring in a remake of The Lizzie McGuire Movie. Stay tuned!