ROME in April

I’ve been in Rome a couple of weeks ago, for a meeting.
There were a couple of hours free one day, and some more 4 hours another evening.

This time I was a bit better prepared (as usually I just read in internet a couple of things about the city in lonely planet before I go there – time is gold:) – I actually even read a couple of articles on Rome in wikipedia :)))
I was in Italy before, in Milan for one-day meeting as well, but that was not much at all. So Rome was my chance to see a bit more.
Plus it’s ROME, one more destination on my must-go list. Eternal city how they say – and it seemed so indeed.

To save some money for the budget, I stayed in a very cheap hotel, which was conveniently in the center, but in a dodgy china-town district; I was trembling both evenings when going home from metro. But it was all ok, apparently. The elder woman who was at the reception, spoke poor English, but was so nice and smiley, that we easily communicated. She gave me many small chocolate easter eggs as sweets πŸ™‚

The first thing that impressed me, as soon as we entered the city from the airport – there was so much life there!!! In comparing to Netherlands, where everything is structured, systematized and calm, Italy is a land of energy and emotion. I felt twice as much alive there πŸ™‚ It is in everything – traffic on the streets, people moving, sound of a big chaotic city, music from somewhere, people talking Italian…

The first picture of Rome for me – city street, with cafes filled with people, resting after their work, enjoying the beginning of an evening, business is still run, but it’s already the mood of leisure in the air.

So I left my mega 2-star hotel and went to the center; I was lucky enough, it is pretty small in Rome, many things can be visited on feet, as major destinations are close to each other.

I went to Coliseum (Colosseum) – it was closed already (abt 7 p.m.), but I went around, trying to embrace this view of the building that was a place of so many stories, tragedies, death and life – pure history in stone. I was trying to imagine crowds inside, waiting and shouting; bread and to be entertained… Coliseum is magnificent.

I caught the last sun rays looking at Roman forums, place where many great deals about the world history were done. It felt great, to comprehend, that I’m in the place, in the same exact place that existed thousands years ago, from where the world was ruled and which influenced what we are – and it’s still here. Roman empire, now just leftovers that survived through generations – I felt I’m in the history itself. My rich imagination drew pictures of ancient Romans, that would fill those places, squares, buildings…

I moved on, and suddenly a beautiful building arose in front of me, white and with fountains, I even sighed – it was so nice in the evening glow of Rome.

Trevi Fountain – one of major tourist attraction, and filled, overfilled with people around. I can bet, in all those destinations I could hear more other languages than Italian, for sure πŸ™‚
Nice anyways, situated in the heard of small and very Rome streets. And yes, I threw a coin as well πŸ™‚ they say, if you throw one coin, you’ll get beck to Rome; if you threw two (attention girls!) – you get an Italian cavalier. I wonder if there is a bunch of guys observing who throws how many coins, and making their business πŸ™‚

In Rome I started to notice that a nice blond girl (whom I consider myself to be πŸ™‚ who is alone attracts lots of attention indeed; and probably I need to be more cautious about it. Italians and et al, and my nationality – more precise, assumptions about Russians – doesn’t play well either πŸ™‚

Anyways, the first evening was almost over – I got my dinner, tried to find the way home, stumbled upon a shop with huuuundreds of pasta types (colorful, small and huge, of all possible shapes).

The next morning – it was a wonderful sunny spring morning in Rome! The sky was blue, the sun was bright, birds were singing, iPod was playing, streets were clean early morning, trees were flourishing – I was in Rome!!!
I was singing “Rome Vacations” (Russians will understand :), going down the street to the metro, and could not help myself smiling πŸ™‚ Life’s good!

—meeting was over, I’ll pass that boring part of a EU funded project—

And I had 4 hours of a nice day ahead!

Rome looked like this:

I love the picture, it’s much is Rome I saw it: it’s lively, busy, springy!
It was so warm there, the second half of April is like second half of May in our places (our places I mean Belarus where my parents live, and Moscow πŸ™‚

And another thing – there are soooooooooo many tourists in Rome! It’s getting warmer, and more and more people get to all touristy locations. Well, I was one of tourists as well πŸ™‚

I went to St.Paul’s Cathedral, which is considered to be the biggest dome-cathedral that gave the beginning to all the rest similar structures. It is in Vatican, actually the entrance to the cathedral is the only area without the border and without the guards one perimeter, so by visiting St.Paul’s, I’ve visited one more state, now the smallest in the world πŸ™‚ Vatican is only about 0,5 square km. Interesting, that they have about 900 citizens, and they have even special passport and special euro πŸ™‚

The cathedral was very beautiful; very nice paintings inside, very impressive.

It’s hard for me to judge as I’m not a religious person; the cathedral is magnificent; church seems powerful (of course, it’s the main catholic place, Vatican); how much of religion and faith people. Can feel there – people who believe would tell better. It was a very beautiful and a historically significant place for me. I regret that I didn’t have time before the closing to see Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel which is there as well.

After St.Paul’s I crossed Tiber – feel the moment, it’s as nice:

The best part of the day for me was when I was crossing many small streets in the center of Rome, to get to a famous Piazza Navona.

That road was exactly the way I wanted to see Rome πŸ™‚

Small, narrow and quite clean streets,
with houses of several floors, with many flowers,
small shops and cafes at the entrance,
and very winding πŸ™‚

One thing I was particularly excited about – Pantheon. It is very old, and you can see that there were centuries of people stepping on its floor; it’s ancient. But it was quite small, I was expecting something grand – and Pantheon was a cleaned, almost empty hall.
Again, my imagination helped me to see the better times of Pantheon power πŸ™‚

Near by, I had THE BEST PIZZA EVER! Very thin, and cheesy, and… very Italian! Or, and yes, I tried my favorite Italian dish, lasagna, at a couple of locations in those days πŸ™‚

Pass Rome streets, again – through nice piazzas, shopping streets, small yards – to Spanish steps, which is a famous place to meet, to sit with flowers around, and to think nice things about Rome, or anything you want πŸ™‚

And the next morning I left, keeping that part of Rome life, 2 sunny days and energy with me.

Oh and one more detail!
They have very many motorbikes, as probably it’s much faster to drive through Rome traffic on them. Girls, guys, girls with guys, business men – everyone rides motorbikes there!

Welcome to Rome, VIVA ITALIA!