Rome shattered my expectations, though I´m not even sure what those were, thinking back on it now. But if Florence left me speechless, Rome left me positively spilling over with words. “Who, what, when, where, HOW?” began the million and one questions unleashed on my poor mother, whose fuzzy memories of Spartacus and Cleopatra were suddenly at a premium. Though I’ve never been to Egypt or Greece, ancient civilizations fascinate me. When I visited the Met last Christmas, I spent the entire time in the Egyptian galleries, stopping for a full fifteen minutes to look at a doll with strands of hair on her head and blue paint on her eyes. She was more than 4,000 years old.
Rome may not be as old as Giza or Athens, but it is the birthplace of western civilization as we know it today. Beyond its contributions to language, art, architecture, and law, Rome’s place in the history of Christianity is pivotal. Around every corner is a statue or a monument or a building or a street offering physical evidence of the battle between pagan mythology and Christianity; the Vatican a literal war chest of trophies.
Like my first drive up the Pacific Coast Highway, every 50 feet or so a new and stunning sight demanded a photo, until my camera’s memory card was filled with small, unremarkable images bearing almost no likeliness to the things themselves. The Colleseum, the Pantheon, the Tomb of Augustus, the Temple of Hercules, the Vatican, St. Peter's Square…everything was just so huge, in both size and importance. Pictures can't do it justice.
And unlike so many other ancient cities, modern Rome is right there in the midst of it all, very much alive and moving forward. (The shopping, btw, was absolutely incredible though I had neither the time nor the funds to partake.)
Before we left, I threw 2 coins in the Trevi Fountain, which is supposed to guarantee my return someday. In the meantime, don’t be surprised to find me saving for shoes and adding Sparticus to my Netflix wishlist.