“I can’t believe you’ve never been to the Capital – Rome”. That’s the reaction I get after I mention I’ve visited over twenty other Italian towns and cities except for Rome.
“Rome is beautiful, you really need to see it” they would persuade.
“Everywhere you turn is a piece of art, the street, every inch…” they would continue to say.
“Alright, alright, I would visit Rome soon” I would answer, just to get them off my case.
One of the pieces of advice I got is – I would need about a week or even months to explore Rome to satisfaction, as it is a big city.
When I finally visited Rome, I wasn’t just feeling it. Trust me, don’t be like my friends that tried to convince me it’s because I didn’t spend enough time in the city.
My Roman friends and other fans of Rome had a look of disappointment when I revealed I did not like Rome as much as I thought I would.
“Why?” they screamed with bewilderment.
“Did you see this, did you see that?”.
“Well, yes I saw that, no I didn’t see that”. The conversation went on and on, and I still wasn’t convinced, especially now that I’ve seen it.
It’s just a feeling that comes along with visiting a city. I can usually tell within thirty minutes if I would like a city or not.
The style, colours, settings, ambience and ‘air‘ are some of the things that make me fall in love with a city. And I wasn’t just getting those good vibes from Rome.
Truth is, I was expecting a little more orderliness, considering the fact that it is the capital of Italy. The streets looked tardy and the metro station could surely be better kept and restored.
Rome is an ancient city, so I was expecting more Roman-styled houses, something more – that resonated the age of the Roman empire.
Today there are more than thirty bridges that unite the two banks of the Tiber River. You can sail under many of them with a Rome River Cruise.
The Trevi Fountain is designed by Italian architect Nicola Salvi and completed by Giuseppe Pannini and several others. Standing 26.3 metres high and 49.15 metres wide, it is the largest Baroque fountain in the city and one of the most famous fountains in the world!
In my head, I’ve always pictured the Fontana di Trevi in a wider square – similar to, perhaps the Duomo Square in Milan. I was shocked it’s nestled in a smaller square with hardly enough space to easily move around.
Colosseum of Rome
The Colosseum or Coliseum, also known as the Flavian Amphitheatre, is an oval amphitheatre in the centre of the city of Rome, Italy. Built of travertine limestone, tuff, and brick-faced concrete, it was the largest amphitheatre ever built at the time and held 50,000 to 80,000 spectators.
The Colosseum was impressive, but I wasn’t quite impressed. I had a higher expectation of it based on pictures I’ve seen and tales I’ve heard.
The Tour guide who was trying to persuade me to come back to see the inner part of the Colosseum the next day described what I would see inside as – “just stones”. Perhaps, he wasn’t also impressed by the Colosseum like I was.
Roman Local Cuisine
One of the highlights of the trip was my dinner – call me a foodie. I had a typical Roman dish called – “Bucatini all’Amatriciana”. Bucatini all’Amatriciana is a suace made with tomato and bacon. It is a traditional Italian pasta sauce based on guanciale, pecorino cheese from Amatrice, tomato, and in some variations onion. It was similar to the pleasant taste of Pasta alla Carbonara, with a slop of delicious tomato sauce!
Different locations around the city reminded me of Florence, Venice, and Paris. I didn’t like the mixture of the modern and old look, it made it very difficult to picture the city as the Rome I’ve heard about in histories of the Roman Empire.
I have visited Rome on two different occasions, and I still feel the same, even after the second visit.