Castillo San Marcos

Castillo San Marcos
13th-century castle, El Puerto de Santa Maria. That WAS our house to the left and behind the tree!

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Roma, La Ciudad Eterna

Rome, eternal

In the midst of the zambomba season, we planned a trip to Rome.   Bad planning, but Rome turned out to be every bit as beautiful as a Spanish Christmas-lit street.   We flew out late on a Thursday night, leaving Todd behind (again) with the cats, arriving in Rome at midnight.

Peace in the street
I’d been to Rome twice in the 1980s, and while I found it impressive with the fountains and steps and ancient history, it was also loud, full of traffic, grimy, and a little scary with the peddlers pawing at you from every angle (especially if you are 19 or 23).  When Todd and I were there, we also had no money, having been robbed on the train down (but we did still have our backpacks, passports, and eurail passes—just no cash). 

Rome is safe for kids
No more.   Not only did we have cash this time, but Rome has changed.  Traffic has been re-routed, horns silenced, neighborhoods gentrified, peddlers have good manners, dogs are cleaned up after, even the horses now have to wear a poop-bag!  Maybe it’s because we were there in December, with Christmas lights brightening the streets, and not in August, but the city literally glowed, day and night. 

And it was COLD!  
At every turn was another vista, a monument, a patina of softly illuminated pastel buildings, lovely shops, and hilarious street toys (we spent a fortune, the peddlers loved us). 

A peddler's dream

My favorites in Rome, cigarette, cell phones and all

And the food.  The food!  We had one delicious Italian meal after another, carbohydrates be damned, and found the most delightful pizzerias, tiny neighborhood restaurants, and street stalls.  Ethan, who had lived here for six months while in college, proved to be a trusty guide, his Italian impressive and his knowledge of cuisine delicious (except for the very aged cheese that he alone would eat). 


Everything's a game

Then there’s the history.  Tia and Sasha are at just the right age to share this kind of wealth with, appreciative of the splendor of the Pantheon, recognizing the various gods and goddesses, and imagining the brutality of the Coliseum games. 

Standing in the face of history

We toured the Sistine Chapel and St. Peter’s, in awe of such vast quantities of beauty contained in such a small space.  But perhaps the most fun was the sheer pleasure of wandering  the streets, which we did for hours each day with nary a complaint from any kid. 

Reflected beauty
Next we want to travel to Florence, Venice, and Tuscany.   And perhaps, just perhaps, Italy may not be a bad place to live, too!  The language sounds at least as fun as Spanish, and not too hard…

Still standing

Winged Rome

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