Thoughts and Images from Rome


So I’ve decided to keep you faithful readers involved in what is turning out to be a great adventure, a month spent in Rome.  However, I also plan on making side trips, but my base of operations is an apartment on the Via Tiburtina, about a mile north of the Termini station. It is truly a perfect location for the wandering and exploring I intend on doing.

As I mentioned, I plan on doing the obligatory Pompeii side trip, but I also plan on expanding to Naples, because when I looked for sites of interest, there were a LOT there.

For those of you waiting for the last part of Titus’ adventures in Jerusalem, I haven’t forgotten you! I just ask you to be patient; it will come to you soon, I promise.

Now, back to Rome. What can be said that hasn’t already been uttered by others more eloquent than I am? I will say that every time I return, I am reminded of what a guide in Volterra told us, when I was part of a group and on my first trip to Italy in 2012.

“Rome would be great if it wasn’t filled with Romans.”

While I won’t go that far, I can see where this person was coming from, because I am always aware that I am being sized up and measured for just how many Euros they can squeeze out of me. Fortunately, I travel “poor”, meaning that if one were to look at me, they wouldn’t see someone who is, in all likelihood, going to fulfill a dream and have an Ermenegildo Zegna suit made just for him.

However, after all, is that really any different than it was two thousand years ago?

This is the big city; it is the ETERNAL City, after all, so it is only natural to assume that those who were born here look back at all of us tourists with a disdain that is probably the same one worn by their ancestors when a bunch of smelly Gauls showed up at the gates, wide-eyed and in awe of all that Rome was then.

And still is, to a point. I must admit that there is a part of me; I call it my Ugly American, that wants to point out that people flock from all over the world to look at Rome’s PAST, not its present. It doesn’t have a Times Square or a Picadilly Circus that is alive and buzzing with the pulse of the present. From what I’ve seen over the course of my trips here, it seems like a fair share of Romans are content with the idea that it’s their past that people are there for, and are willing to milk us for every Euro they can get in the process.

And I am one of those people who say it’s worth every penny. Or whatever the Euro equivalent is, because I literally can’t get enough of this place. Granted, this is my first week of a month-long stay, but I am hard-pressed to think that I will run out of sights to see.

Granted, I will say that from my perspective, Rome is NOT a great place to watch people, as opposed to Paris, where one can sit in a cafe for hours and just watch the kaleidoscope of color parade by while you sip your beverage of choice and mutter, “Life is shit.” (Spoken in your best French accent)

Yet, in my case I’m writing this while sitting at the table of a restaurant that I like here in Rome. (For those of you who haven’t been here, please set your expectations properly. This is NOT Paris, where even the vending machine sandwiches taste awesome) I’m near the Trevi Fountain, which is closed down, although it wasn’t a big item on my list, and watching the world go by in the form of tourists clutching their guidebooks as they mutter imprecations at whoever shut the fountain down,

(I am willing to bet that one of the most common refrains, spoken in God only knows how many languages, is, “I told you to check on whether or not the Trevi Fountain was open!” There are certain things that are universal, like a significant other in your life who you’re sure is around for the sole purpose of reminding you what you DIDN’T do.)

All that said, I am still in Rome. Earlier today I happened to catch a sign, on Via Cavour, that indicated where I was standing was in the Subura section of Ancient Rome. Seriously, how cool is that for a Romanogeek like me? For all I know, I could have been standing on the same spot where Gaius Julius Caesar’s apartment was located!

For someone like me, is there really anything else better in life, to be so close to touching history?

I don’t think so.


  1. Kevin Sharpe says:

    Hi Ron,
    Sounds like a great adventure. As much as we enjoyed Rome, I definitely felt the same way as what have so eloquently described. Also like you, no matter where I was, I would also have those same wonders of just who had been standing where I happen to be those two millenniums ago.

    I did notice you mentioned Pompeii. May I suggest a side trip to Herculaneum! Although not as large as Pompeii, it is such a well preserved site that you walk down the streets and can really feel what life must have been like all those years ago.

    As a side note (October 5th)…the weather here in Seattle has been great the entire last week and managed 72 today. It’s not Rome but sure has been nice.

    Best Wishes and like so many, can’t wait for the next book.
    Kevin Sharpe

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