As a disclaimer: These photos were taken during a visit in April 2016, so this post may not be representative of this site today.
This is the story of how I visited Rome while running on absolute fumes after having slept only two hours the night before because I left packing until the very last minute. And it’s not like that first day was a laid-back, relaxed affair, either… To say that I landed on my bed that night and fell asleep before my head hit the pillow is not quite the truth but also not far from it.
But I also fell absolutely, irreversibly, in love with the Italian capital. In spite of the absolute sultriness of the April weather, of street vendors who continuously shoved selfie sticks in my face in an effort to get ahold of my money, and of the numerous times when I thought we’d get run over trying to cross a street — at a crossing, that place on the street where you’re supposed to be able to cross because cars stop for you, yeah, there, and no, in Rome cars don’t stop for you, that’s such a silly thing to suggest. I fell in love with Rome anyway because you can walk down any street and come across a spurt of ruins, lodged in between modern buildings or surrounded by patches of grass and turned into a tiny park. Because it’s loud and chaotic but something about that is strangely mesmerizing — maybe it’s just the adrenaline of thinking you’re about to die ten times a day, what do I know?
So I’m going to work off the notion that you know that Rome is, well, old. How old? Well, there is archaeological evidence of occupation dating back approximately 14,000 years, so… quite. Then there’s the legend of the founding of Rome — Romulus and Remus, twins suckled by a she-wolf who later grew and decided to found a city together. After a spat, however, Romulus killed Remus and so the city took his name, back in 753 BCE. There is a conflicting narrative, even older, involving Aeneas, son of Aphrodite and hero of the Trojan War, who fled to Italy and founded the ancient line of the Romans through his son Iulus.
The Roman Empire went through many phases, and Rome later became the Papal States, even later the Roman Republic, and finally, in 1870, part of the Kingdom of Italy. The capital was moved here from Florence the following year, and it is today the third most populous city in the European Union (after Berlin and Madrid!).
Have you been to Rome? Were you also enchanted by this chaotic and illustrious city? I’d love to know!