Outside the window of my room in my friends villa, his little daughter sang “rain, rain go away, come again another day”… On two separate occasions during our breakfast of pasta, salad bread and wine I would ask her to sing that song again. It did no good. It rained every single day of my stay in Rome. This was rain that was heavy and windy. Torrential down pours that happened at least three times a day and lasted 45 minutes to an hour; rain that no umbrella, rain boot, poncho or building overhang could save you from.
With the first crack of thunder the sun ran and took cover, only to be replaced with a dark blue sky. It was jolting, unrelenting, at times frustrating, but oh so beautiful… It was seven days of non-stop rain and I enjoyed every soggy bit of it!
Fresh off the plane, I jumped on a shuttle bus and then a train to meet my friend and his wife in the center of Rome. I didn’t miss a beat. If I’ve said it once I’ll say it again, it definitely bears repeating. Getting from point A to B when visiting Europe (or at least the places in Europe I visited) should be the least of your concerns. The transportation system is unbelievably easy and there is always someone around to offer assistance when needed.
When I got to my friends place of business I freshened up, had a quick drink and grabbed a mini bottle of vino to go.
First stop, The Spanish Steps. These steps were built to link the Spanish embassy with the church of Trinita dei Monti. At the time of this picture I had no idea I was standing on one of the most well known and visited tourist attractions. I was just happy to be in Rome.
This is a great place to people watch or just sit and relax in between stops… One thing to note, when going on vacation, people will undoubtedly tell you “the places you MUST go”. Depending on how much time you’re spending in that country you’ll wind up running from one place to the next like a mad person. Just for the purposes of checking it off the list. Never getting a chance to really enjoy your surroundings, take in everything and see beauty that you may have otherwise overlooked. There’s no way you’re going to be able to see everything there is to see. Trust me, I tried. Then Paris happened. Enjoy the beauty around you. You’ll have a way better time and story to tell having experienced three must see destinations than the person who went to ten.
A must on my short list of places to go was the Colosseum. It was a double ticket that got me a two-day entry into the Colosseum and Palantine Hill. I spent two hours walking around examining every crevice trying to get a feel of what it must have been like as a spectator, fighter, trainer, or person who cleaned up afterwards.
I sat in the little alcoves. What were they used for? Is there where fighters awaited their doom? Who knows. No matter its use, it felt eerie sitting in that little cave. You could see etchings of peoples name carved in the stone. It is known that way back when, spectators would etch the names of their favorite fighters in the stone. This was considered to be the earliest form of graffiti. I studied the etchings closely, not knowing if I was looking at something that was placed there minutes ago or centuries ago.
Just as I emerged from my little cubby I was met with a beautiful dark sky. Even though we knew the threat of storm was upon us, we all stood and marveled at it’s beauty.
Moments later the rain came and we were held prisoner for over 45 minutes. People were very jittery and screaming all around from the blasting sound of the thunder, the bright strikes of lightening and veracity of the rain. I took this opportunity to explore the museum on the upper level. I don’t know what amazed me more, how brutal people were back then or how little it has changed up to now.
Once the rain ended I headed to Palantine Hill. Do you know Palantine Hill? It’s right across from the Colosseum. It’s one of the most ancient parts of the city, where Rome is said to have its origins. Recent excavations have taken place here and I was standing in the middle of it! I was beyond words. I’m standing in the middle of an archaeological dig. It was an amazing experience. I spent countless hours here. The two more bouts of rain that I experienced here at Palantine could not deter me.
Check out those columns below. They are made with purple marble, the rarest most of expensive of its kind. Said to be worth millions of Euros.
At one point the rain got so bad we had to hop a fence and seek shelter in a cave!
About an hour later we made it out and were all met with this lovely sight.
Even in the rain, Rome was a treasure… Enjoy the remaining pictures and I’ll see you at my next stop. Ciao!
Inside the dome at St. Peters Basilica
On the roof of Basilica
Ruins near the Colosseum
The two pictures below are of Trevi Fountain. There was construction so getting a good shot proved difficult.
As I went around I took note of some unlikely protectors. They seemed like guardians, just standing watch. When approached they didn’t run. They weren’t begging for food, they were just there, watching over. People would take pictures with them and pet them. These were taken at St. Peters Basilica, grounds outside of the Colosseum and Palantine Hill.
This building below is commonly known as the typewriter building. It got that name because people say it looks like a typewriter. I personally don’t see it. The true name of the building is Altare della Patria or Alter of the Fatherland.
That’s all for now, see you at the next destination… Brooklyn. Will I stop there or continue on? Stay tuned :-)