Our first night in Rome, Tyler and I headed into town via the Metro up to Flaminio station near the Piazza del Popolo. From there, we walked along the Via del Corso, a long straight street in Rome that closes down every night for walking. As a long-standing tradition, everyone in Rome finishes up work, and before heading home or to a restaurant to meet friends for dinner, they take a long walk. Sometimes they shop or buy ingredients for dinner, but it’s mostly just to socialize – maybe to show off a little, too.
The street lights glow a soft amber color. The shop owners stand around outside, talking to passersby. Old Italian men with their wool hats and coats and spiffy scarves gently push the elbows of their lady friends in heels and hats farther down the street. Teenagers in skinnies and Pumas light each other’s cigarettes and laugh on their way to the Spanish Steps or the nearby (and gigantic) McDonald’s. Street vendors shoot neon spinners in the air to attract the passing tourists.
We ventured over to the Spanish Steps and then down towards the Trevi Fountain to throw in our lucky coin, assuring a return trip. We walked the winding paths leading over to the Pantheon. At the Pantheon we sat and watched a guy take an extended exposure shot of the passing crowds. We found a gelato shop, where I tried some made from rose jam. It was my favorite of the trip – light, fresh, and creamy. We wandered by the Victor Emmanuel Monument and then climbed to the Piazza del Campodoglio, where we could see the line of the Forum, the Arch of Constantine, and the Colosseum in the distance. There, the city was quiet and peaceful.
I loved being a part of this. It’s like Rome says, “Let’s take a few moments of every day and remember we are all in this together.” Rome doesn’t forget its past. It builds on top of it, or it saves and appreciates it. The streets bustle with modern-day life, but they still recognize the beauty of its history. Trevi Fountain, a gorgeous display of sculpture and art, was completed in 1762 to celebrate the re-opening of some of Rome’s ancient aqueducts. Now, it’s visited by lovers and by crowds of teenagers, by old men before grabbing some wine with friends and by tourists who want to catch some of the magic of A Roman Holiday.
I know visiting Italy for ten days will not make me an Italian, but I want to bring a bit of Italy into my every day life. I want to take time every night for a stroll or to catch up on the day with friends. I want to celebrate history right along with the present. Why not make something simple, like a water source, also be beautiful? Not all of Rome is in a museum. Most of its beauty and life is free for the taking.
I want a part of my day, every day, to somehow remember, “We’re not alone in this life. Let’s be together.”