Rome – Just as I left it apart from my coin in the Trevi!
Rome in a word, eternal.
The resplendence of the city, its elegance, beauty and wonder were exactly as I left them; still untouched, the Pantheon was just the same, with Queen Isabella and the great artist Raffaello reposing peacefully just inches from the heavy footfall of tourists and the flashes of the incessant cameras and smartphones. The Colosseo with its crumbling interior had changed little save for the shift of different centurions dressed accordingly for the same tourists and the eternal flame, unsurprisingly was still alight and still flanked by yet more visitors; more than could have been said of the poor Olympic Flame as it passed through Britain during our last dreary summer.
The city was taller, darker and fuller than I remembered on my previous visits with much heavier traffic yet the Forum, the Trevi and the other ancient relics were just as I last saw them and that is the incandescent charm of this place. The people, the faces, the shops and merchandise will change with the seasons, as the leaves fall so will last season’s Gucci bags but the core of Rome will still stand strong.
Once Upon a Time in Rome I was quite overcome with the city, the romance, the grandeur and the history; nothing unusual in itself as this happens in places with such gravitas. I was also quite overcome with my new found ability to converse a bit so when I noticed the cool, clear waters of the Trevi rippled from below at 4 am I just had to have a few words with the lady raking the fountain for her own pocket. Words were exchanged, the money was not replaced and I left feeling the need to refund everyone their “hopes and dreams” as I has so eloquently put it to the harlot stealing from the fountain. Every time I’ve been back, I have cast a few extra coins into the water hoping in some sentimental way that the plop behind me will somewhere grant the wish for someone else to return to Rome.
This is all well and good and a practise I shall continue because I have an affinity with that small piazza and the large ever lit fountain but I may have to be slightly more frugal as Rome has become expensive. The most beautiful city in the world it may be but cheap it is not. The queues outside of Channel and Tiffany would have you believe otherwise but if you are planning a trip, as you absolutely must be sure to have some extra coffers in your wallet just so you can eat and drink wherever you like and bring home a souvenir to remember this city as it should be remembered, elegant, intriguing and ancient.
Image courtesy of www.rome-tour.co.uk