Quando a Roma ...

Quando a Roma ...

 

I was asked to recount my experience in Rome, Italy, and I am having quite the writer’s block. You know when you get some phrase or tune stuck in your head and no matter what you do you cannot get rid of it? Like the other day as I walked through the grocery store, for whatever reason, I could not get the alliteration, “she sells seashells by the seashore” out of my head. I tried singing everything from “twinkle twinkle little star” to the latest Lady GaGa song, “Telephone”! (Can you tell I have writer’s block yet?) Well, tonight as I try to jot down an outline of my vacation to Rome, I cannot get the B-52’s song, “Roam” out of my head. .. Take it hip to hip rock it through the wilderness… around the world the trip begins with a kiss. Roam if you want to… roam around the world.” Soon I am just going to make up something about a young couple that fell in love while backpacking through Italy!

 

My husband decided to pitch in and try to help. He set the mood with everything Rome. He lit a candle on top of the bottle of Chianti we sipped in the Piazza Navona while overlooking the Fontana del Nettuno. How many times did we say “Scusi” before our waiter came over? We laughed for hours because after the 10th Scusi, we realized it was not pronounced scuzi, more like scoozi. Hey, I took 6 years of French, not Italian. Till this day we don’t know if the waiter was just annoyed at our terrible Italian or if he genuinely could not hear us. It was a bit strange that when we ordered Tartufo we got a Gnocchi!?!

 

“Take it hip to hip rock it through the wilderness… around the world the trip begins with a kiss. Roam if you want to… roam around the world.” Seriously, how do I get this out of my head???

 

Next to my chianti candleholder, my husband placed a handful of pennies. What the heck is this from? We were so broke in Rome that we had to use pennies to pay for more chianti?? Lol…

And he put a cup of water next to the pennies… hhhmmm… That’s it, Trevi Fountain. The water at the bottom of the fountain is said to represent the sea. Legend has it you will return to Rome if you throw a coin into the water. You should toss it over your shoulder with your back to the fountain. We were having such an amazing time in Rome that we must have thrown 50 pennies each into the fountain. We wanted to reassure ourselves that we would return to Rome!

 

I think my husband has broken through my writer’s block. I remember waking up that first morning from the master bedroom of our vacation rental. When we arrived in Rome, it was dark out. We had no idea what to expect when we woke up. In plain English, my husband scared the bejesus out of me. He threw back the curtains to let the sun in and he fell over, pulled down the curtain rod, and gasped. After I made sure he was okay and laughed hysterically (nothing is funnier to me than people falling. Falling = funny!) I looked out the window to see what made him stumble. We had a panoramic view of the 2000 year old Colosseum! You cannot even imagine what it is like to have such a view right outside your window, as if you could reach out and touch it. Truly spectacular. I originally was against renting a private vacation rental and my husband fought for it, so naturally, after he recovered from his accident, he smiled with his pearly whites and said, “Told you so! Do you know how much this view would cost at a hotel?” He was right, and make it known, that was the one and only time he was ever right! Not just in Rome, but everywhere! I think that is why he threw a few extra pennies in the fountain when I was looking for our camera in my genuine Italian leather handbag. Naturally, he wants to return to the one and only place he was ever right! (I digress for a moment… Question for all the women – Does it matter what the functionality of a handbag is, as long as it looks good on your arm, correct? Please let my husband know that because if I had to hear one more time about how many photo ops my handbag cost him as I tried to ruffle through the chewing gum, receipts, tour guides, and sunglasses in that bag, I was going to knock him over the head with it!)

 

See, all our memories are starting to come back to me. Let’s see what else does the old memory still have I do remember sitting outside on the terrace, overlooking Rome, while my husband and the rest of Italy slept (I am a bit of a night owl) and just watched the history rest before my eyes. It was so serene and tranquil. Don’t tell my husband, but was certainly not something I would have gotten to experience at a hotel!

 

As I was daydreaming about my moments on the terrace in Rome, my husband placed what-used-to-be white sneakers with one lace missing and a heel worn down more than the rest of it on my dining room table. Which by the way, made me upset that he would a) put dirty sneakers on my antique barn-style table delivered from Ireland b) put shoes period, on the table since it is very bad luck and c) why he would want me to recount my time in those shoes! My dear husband thought it would be nice on our vacation in Rome to follow some of those walking tours in the guide books. He mapped out three of them before we even confirmed our vacation rental reservations! It sounded like a great idea and it kept him busy while I spent my time trying to figure out how to pack 15 days of clothes in a bag made for 3 days worth. The first walking tour was quite amazing. Three and a half hours walking the heart of Rome. We started out with an amazing view of the city from Piazza del Quirinale, visited the Trevi Fountain, had tea at the famous Babington’s Tea Rooms, walked along Via Condotti where all the latest fashions were displayed in the windows, and from there, my husband started to lose me. I think we ended the tour at a cathedral. I felt great. Exercise, sightsee, and window shop all in one day! The next day went a little different. The walking tour turned out to be over 7 hours! It should only have been 5 ? but we got lost a bit and my husband refused to take a taxi or public transportation. He swore that was the direction the guide book was taking us in. We visited the Basilica Aemilia, Lapis Niger, the Temple of Julius Caesar, like 5 or 6 temples, way more temples than I ever planned, and we ended at the Circus Maximus. There was much more between the temples and churches, however, I decided to return to our rental, make myself some dinner, and meet my husband towards the end. I could not walk anymore. My sneakers, which were brand new before our European vacation, were now worn and looked like I left them outside in the rain one too many times. And he had another walking tour planned!

 

The rest of our trip, needless to say, consisted of taxi rides and subway tickets. I enjoyed lots of gelato, and bought myself another fine Italian leather handbag! My feet hurt! Something had to make them feel better.

 

As I was about to wrap up this blog, my husband calls me into the kitchen. Now what, he cannot find the ice cubes?? The kitchen table was pushed aside and on the floor was a blanket spread out with a thermos, glasses, fruit salad, and a note atop some white bread that said “pretend I am focaccia and I have tomato, eggplant, and mozzarella.” On our last day in Rome, we visited Borghese Gardens and had a traditional European picnic with paninis, dessert, and coffee. It was the perfect way to end our trip and a say goodbye to Rome.

 

And, yes, if you are wondering, I asked all over Rome till I found someone that could tell me where the old saying came from “when in Rome!” so here it goes:

 

In 387 A.D., when St. Augustine arrived in Milan, he observed that the Church did not fast on Saturday as did the Church at Rome. He consulted St. Ambrose, bishop of Milan, who replied: "When I am at Rome, I fast on a Saturday; when I am at Milan, I do not. Follow the custom of the Church where you are." The comment was changed to "When they are at Rome, they do there as they see done" by Robert Burton in his Anatomy of Melancholy. Eventually it became "When in Rome, do as the Romans do."

 

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This blog was written by Villa4vacation staff 4/28/2010 1:19 AM


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