Last month I went to Italy with my friends Marcia and Nancy. We all met up in Chicago, where this doozie of a passageway separates Terminals B & Â C. Nancy and I romped up and down this place until Marcia arrived. Like kids.
We arrived in Rome late in the afternoon, and took a taxi to our little hotel downtown. Our room at Mr. Frills (no joke) B&B had a balcony that overlooked Piazza Vittorio Emanuele. It was a fine place, other than the shower fell off the wall. A small price for its charm and location.
Rome was spectaularâ€”in its history, its constant ability to amaze, and the fact that it was “pieno zeppo di gente” (crammed full of people). We all clamored through the hot, hot streets, afraid to miss anything.
The Pantheon, originally built to honor the ancient Roman gods, is now a tomb. It is the largest concrete dome in the world that is not reinforced, and is perfect in its simplicity. Raphael, the Renaissance wonder painter is buried there, having died at the age of 37. According to Vasari, a biographer of Renaissance artists, Raphael died of just one too many nights of hard partying.
You do not need to be religious to appreciate Saint Peter’s Cathedral in the Vatican City. All the largest churches in the rest of the world can easily tuck inside it, it is so grand. Enormous sculptures, mosaics, tombs and works of architecture fill every inch of the place. The calligraphy is particularly impressive.
In the Villa Borghese at the edge of town you find the sculpture of Bernini, who at the age of 24 carved this statue, of Apollo and Daphne. This is the statue I love most in the world. Apollo, the god of light, pursues the virgin Daphne as she is turned into a laurel tree. Swoon, swoon.
One of the places the romancers gather is the Trevi Fountain. Built to decorate the main aqueduct in Rome, it has since become legendary for granting wishes to those who throw coins in it. Every single day the wishes add up to about $4500 American dollars, which is given to the needy of Rome. I am less inclined to throw money in it than I am to throw myself, since it is still a hot Roman night and a good swim amongst beautiful creatures sounds appealing!
The gelato we had on our last night was fabulous. I had mango and chocolate. Next we head on the train to Orvieto…….