Rome, Italy

Rome is city to walk and explore each little neighborhood, experiencing what each has to offer. There is so much to see. There is the traditional Trevi Fountain, Spanish Steps, the Pantheon, the Roman ruins of the Forum, and the colosseum. All of these are a must see. The Vatican is special even if you are not Catholic. The sharply dressed Swiss Guards stand proudly, guarding the grounds. St. Peter’s holds the tomb of Peter, the first Pope, and an Apostle of Jesus. You can attend a short mass in Italian daily, inside the church. There is a schedule on their site for seeing the Pope. The Vatican museum holds many treasures, and you can walk into the Sistine Chapel, painted by Michelangelo. For 8 euro you can climb to the top of the dome, then get a fresh croissant on the way back down, in a café on the roof. For 10 euro, you can take the elevator.

Along the Tiber River, during a summer evening, restaurants set up shops to serve their delectable fare. There are carnival like stalls and bars as well. The Forum and colosseum are lit up at night, giving a different perspective. Light shows can be seen on the ruins telling stories of the past.

On the hill above Trastevere, known for its bohemian lifestyle, has one of the best views of the city. The botanical garden sits in the mist of the neighbor, and offers a relaxing stroll away from the crowds, for 8 euro. In Italy dinner is usually eaten late. The piazza’s and alleyways come alive with music, as you sit at one of the outdoor tables at one of the many restaurants.

The day before I left Rome last year, I learned to make a mosaic in a shop near the botanical gardens. The owner of the shop got me started, interjected instructions here and there, in Italian I don’t know. She made me a cup of tea, and brought me back a prosciutto and mozzarella sandwich from the store. I met an expat from England, who spends time in the shop, making beautiful mosaics. We had an aperol spritz, in a café afterward, and continued our lovely conversation.

Around the corner from our room in Prati this past summer was Castel Sant’Angelo. It was built for the Emperor Hadrian in 123-139 AD as a mausoleum. It has been used by the popes for various and often times vicarious reasons. It has also been used as a fortress. At the top is yet another great view of Rome, this time with the Vatican in site.

Driving in Rome is exhilarating, yet scary at the same time. When driving it, you quickly realize why it is one of the most dangerous cities to drive. The streets appear to be lacking lanes, signs are ignored, cars are parked in random directions, and the speed at which people drive is well above the limit.

Water fountains with cold drinking water are throughout this city, offering free, fresh and delicious water, to cool you off on a hot summer day.

Rome is one of my favorite cities. Every time I go, I experience something new, and revisit favorites.

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