I am at home in Rome. Dad was posted to the Embassy on Via Veneto not just once, but twice: I did second and third grades at the American Overseas School of Rome in 1961 – 63; and though I was off to college in the US when my sister and parents went back to Rome in 1973, I spent vacations on Via Gramsci and visited for extended stays when university plans didn’t quite pan out. Another story for another time.
In 2016, I had one day to show my husband the Eternal City. Should we wander the city on our own or hit the highlights on a tour? I chose NOT to be the one to hurry us along, leaving the nagging (and the guiding) to the professionals. It was a wonderful day!
My heart was full when we landed in Piazza Navona, with its Bernini fountains and our old family Sunday noon lunch spot, Tre Scalini.
How the oval marketplace used to brim with Christmas in December, offering shimmering decorations and creche figurines for Playing Presepio.
The Pantheon’s drab exterior makes the heavenly light of its rotunda an hommage to the deities, indeed. And the marble of the Trevi Fountain positively shone — if it was under cleaning wraps during your visit, thank you for your sacrifice and GO BACK!
Gone are the cat ladies and their feral feline inhabitants of the Coliseum, whose walls are pockmarked where they were long-since stripped of their marble coverings.
And I still can’t tell: is this column top Corinthian, Ionic, or Doric?
You won’t get a word from the Swiss Guards at the Vatican, where La Pieta is now behind glass but restored beautifully to these untrained eyes….
… and St. Peter’s soars overhead to the songs of angels …
… which this glass arcade manages to achieve in a secular way bringing Romans through a building on their way to work or un caffé, recalling to mind the Duomo Galleria at Christmas Eve, 1959: Part One For all its marble and gold, Rome at its best is tight alleys brimming with shops and bustling pedestrians, sunshine and shadow, terra cotta against the blue sky …
… and a horse-drawn carriage to enbue our visit with a little more magic!