Rome, the Eternal City….. didn’t anyone read the info packets??!
Ahhh yes, a weekend filled with Lizzie McGuire Movie references and beautiful weather. The sunshine finally came out to play on this getaway to the city that never ages. Rome always has been and always will be a city to be reckoned with on a world scale. The shadow of the mighty Roman Empire is cast even today. New ruins are still being stumbled upon, or taken over by a group of rowdy cats.
Being back in Rome was like reuniting with an old friend. It was in Rome that I first touched down onto foreign soil four years ago. This city showed me then the delight of Italian culture, and welcomed me back to its magic now. Visiting the sights I had seen on that first trip was like dipping into my memories of myself the last time I stood there.
The major sights bring in a glance into days gone by. Step into the Pantheon and try to imagine a time before the spread of Christianity took over, and this was still a pagan temple. The gaping oculus shines light on those who gaze up at it in wonder. Even among the beauty of it today, my heart still aches for the statues that once stood here that have been lost to time due to the changing ideals of the world.
The Colosseum gives visitors a peek behind the curtain of the large scale entertainment of the great empire. Built where there was once a lake, the Colosseum now shows a look at its inner workings below its long gone wooden floor. The labyrinth of passages below once allowed animals and gladiators alike to rise up to the stage without crossing paths. A little known fact that my history loving friend told me, is that the Colosseum used to be flooded for small scale naval battles, as just another form of jaw dropping entrancement.
The other must see sights include the Forum, the Trevi fountain, and the Vatican. The Vatican is a dominating power in the city (even though it is technically its own country). Take the time to stroll through its vast collections that span centuries. The crown jewel of course is the Sistine Chapel; not too impressive in architectural design, but I would say the ceiling makes up for it. Take my advice, plan your visit so that it falls on a Sunday and so visit the Pope, he’s a kind man. Spending a Sunday morning in the Vatican City listening to Papa Francesco give a blessing in latin is an unreal experience.
For a relaxing experience, visit the Galleria Borghese. Purses, cameras, and other forms of distraction are not allowed through the door. When visiting, use your time to unwind among the masterpieces collected in this estate. The grounds offer greenspace that is usually unheard of in a bustling city like Rome, so enjoy them! The day we visited it was sunny and warm, and the students were simply glowing. If you want to see a unique sight, witness 68 American students sprawled out on the ground going mental about grass. (In our defense, there isn’t much grass in the center of Florence, and we really really missed it).
Returning to Rome warmed me at my core. The city still had so much to show me, even in places I had already seen. Being my first international city, Rome will always hold a piece of my heart; and after this visit, that piece might have just gotten a little bit bigger.
Rome, until we meet again, as I know we surely will.