We went to Rome on Saturday and I have to say it was a wonderful experience. The day couldn’t have been more perfect. I was concerned that it might rain but the weather more than cooperated on this lovely day.
We started out around ten in the morning heading toward Rome, which is roughly two hours north of Naples. It was cloudy and overcast as we left Naples but the sunshine refused to be hidden. Sun rays peering through the clouds created a mystical show of rainbows, 4 to be exact. It was as if Mother Nature was speaking to me, reassuring me that she had my back on this journey. Thanks ma!
The countryside of Italy is astonishing. Lavish castle like mansions sitting atop small mountains. Larger snow capped mountains rising and cascading in the background. The scenery along with the “ol’ school” (it still baffles me that the music of my youth is considered old school) hip hop rocking from the CD player created the atmosphere for a relaxing ride.
Approaching the city the grid of structures greets you and once you are inside the grid watch out. We went straight for the area of the Colosseum, which is where we spent the day. Riding through the city reminds me of NYC but on a whole different level. Seriously, these people must never get traffic tickets. They are brawlic with their driving and parking.
First, imagine a place where 87% of the cars are the size of a 2 door VW Golf. Add into the mix some scooters, some average sized sedans and a few larger American style vehicles. They do not use traffic signals – AT ALL, and they look at you as if you are crazy if you use them or dare to be courteous enough to let someone pass. You might see two cars parallel parked on the side of the road with half a space between them. They will pull straight into that half a space, ass out in the road and make it a parking spot. Wild.
We found a real parking space and headed toward the Colosseum. We stopped for lunch at a place called Caffe Martini. The best thing about this place was the cappuccino and the view of the Colosseum. There is outdoor seating which I imagine in the warmer months adds to the appeal of the cafe.
Then we went on a guided tour of the Colosseum. Standing in a structure 2000 years old really puts you in your place. This structure has stood longer than countries, eras and empires. Listening to the details of the murderous rampages presented as entertainment also alters the perspective. We talk about how movies and music are violent. We know nothing of violence compared to the way these people lived. They lived the lives we make into movies.
After leaving the Colosseum we walked to the Basilica Di San Pietro In Vincoli, home to Michelangelo’s statue of Moses, it is a beautiful church adorned with intricate paintings of the life of Christ on the alter, throughout the sanctuary and on the ceiling. After taking a few photographs and saying a pray of thanks to the forces that brought me to that moment we continued roaming around Rome.
We browsed the souvenir shops and eventually stumbled upon Ciardi Bar Pasticceria, a wonderful cafe and pastry shop where we had dinner. Handmade pizza and pasta, Chianti, more cappuccino and puffed pastries and cannoli for dessert. The pizza and the pasta are different than their American style counterparts. The crust on the pizza is lighter and thinner as is the pasta. The food and the service was incredible.
I am thankful that as a tourist you end up doing lots of walking because there is something about new places that makes me forget the dietary boundaries of day to day life. I enjoyed myself and I give thanks for the exposure to new experiences.