MESSAGE – Rome *Video*

Rome has been described as a “charming but exasperating lover.” How true! With a treasure-trove of relics and a population of 4 million (but more than 10 times that with tourists), Rome will surely test your endurance and your patience.

Especially during the summer months of June-August, when every middle-aged European tourist and graduating American high school senior is elbowing you in an endless queue.

But Rome is Rome! And there’s no place like it, so you have to go. Just make sure you’re prepared for the sometimes combustible combination of the clueless tourist and the unforgiving Roman, and you’ll get along just fine.

MEET (Cool Meet Ups) – Navaro Piazza. This was such a sweet piazza with all the right ingredients: a large tiled plaza with two fountains, ringed by flower-boxed townhomes and umbrella-shaded cafes. In the center are artists selling their paintings and gelato stands. Picture postcard perfect!

EAT (Tasty Eats) – The Aperitivo. An Italian tradition, the aperitivo is a pre-meal drink to help you stimulate your appetite. In actuality, it’s more like happy hour drinking from 6pm to 9pm accompanied by a light snack.

Classic aperitivos are bitter carbonated drinks like Campari soda, Aperol Spritzer, or a Martini (white Vermouth) served on the rocks with a twist of lemon. These days, a glass of wine is also acceptable, especially the sparkler Prosecco.

With your drink, you get finger food such as piadine and pizze cut into bite-sized portions alongside platters with olives, nuts, seeds, and tiny sandwiches. Puff pastry appetizers are offered and displayed with specialty breads. Bars charge for the drinks, but not for the food. Bene!

SEE (Must-see Sights) – Roman Ruins. There’s the Forum, the Pantheon, and the granddaddy of them all: the Colosseum! Here’s a little background on this great Roman monument:

  • Gladiators: The arena, where the Gladiators performed, was originally covered with sand to prevent the combatants from slipping and to soak up the blood. Ewww.
  • Spectators: Spectators were seated in the cavea, which was divided into 3 sections: knights in the lowest tier, wealthy citizens in the middle, and us plebs at the top.
  • Podium: Emperors and senators, protected by hemp nets, were seated on the podium close to the action.

If you’re smart, you’ll channel that fighting spirit as you battle the line to enter the Colosseum. Seriously, I thought there was going to be a riot. These tourists were blood thirsty!

Can’t see the video? Check out this link: Inside View of the Colosseum

SHOP (Gotta Have) – Shoes! What girl doesn’t swoon with the prospect of buying a beautiful pair of Italian leather shoes?! We all do. Alas, due to my special traveling light circumstances, I didn’t indulge. Thankfully, Mom Sam did and I got to shop vicariously.

ACTIVITY (Gotta Do) – Vatican Visit. The Vatican hosts more than 4.5 million visitors each year. The obvious highlight is the 15th century Sistine Chapel which contains two world-renown works of art: Michelangelo’s Genesis (Creation) on the barrel-vaulted ceiling and the Guidizio Universale (Last Judgment) located on the far wall.

The Vatican shouldn’t be missed! For more info, read my article: “Visiting the Vatican: 7 Ways to Spend a Divine Afternoon.”

GIVE (Greatest Need) – Manners! Unfortunately, we met a few perverts in Rome. One, in particular, on a crowded Rome bus, needed to be called out. First he was rubbing up against Mom – what?! No! Then he was rubbing up against some other young girl? Enough!

So I poked him in the arm and put my finger in his face. “Hey you — Pervert! I see what you’re doing. Knock it off!” And with that, he was humiliated and got off at the next stop. Sometimes, you just gotta say something!

ENJOY (Extra Fun) – Trevi Fountain. While the Trevi Foundation is a Roman landmark, it’s the entire neighborhood surrounding the fountain that is intoxicating, with the Spanish Steps, adorable cafes, and to-die-for shopping.

At Trevi, I elected not to fight through the masses to toss my coin in, deciding to rely on an earlier “practice” toss at a no-name fountain in the middle of a traffic roundabout. I still think the fountain was pretty enough for my Roman wish to come true!

How about you? Have you got a Roman wish? If so, you’re bound for a visit to the enigmatic city of Rome. Just be careful what you wish for.

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This entry was posted on Saturday, July 23rd, 2011 and is filed under Europe, Messages by Country.

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