Italy · Travel

To Rome, with love.

Not all those who wander are lost and sometimes getting lost is a blessing in disguise, for this is a tale of how I fell in love with Rome, one street at a time, all in a day.

The signs was already there when Mami and I arrived at our B&B in Al Colonato. It was literally a stone’s throw away from San Pietro. As I alighted from the taxi, St Peter’s Dome was the first thing I saw.

I was giddy with delight.

Framed!

Our B&B owner, beautiful and chic Signora Rosa Marie was there to receive us. Her eyes crinkled as quick smiles flitted across her face and she launched into her welcome speech.

Charmed by the Italian on the spot, I was swept away in a torrent of, “Buongiorno signora! Allora signora …Allora attencio…Allora Signora Juhi and Sheetaal, attencio…bello…permesso…grazie, prego…ciao.”

There were other general instructions in English-Italian mix regarding apartment keys, a bit of building history thrown in, some helpful touristy hints and finally stern warnings to be careful of the pickpockets. I was ready to explore the Eternal City with my companion and guide, Mami.

We had already decided to make a beeline for the free sights that day, Colosseum, the neighbouring Roman Forum and Palatine Hill included. In my mind, Rome was the land of the gladiators and toga wearing senators and Caesar. We had to see the seat of power.

Although warned about the serpentine queues, especially on a free day, we were determined. After all, we were from a land of a billion people. Crowds did not intimidate us.

Day 1, we took the bus, missed our stop for the Colosseum (too busy gawking out of the window) and reached the Termini instead. Since we were high on adventure, we walked, wandered, strolled in the directions pointed by helpful strangers. By the end of the day, all the landmarks on the list were ticked. Trust me, there were plenty.

We made another discovery- we could pass off as Espaรฑol (that’s the first time for me). Also almost all the water vendors selling chilled aqua outside the monuments spoke in Bengali to each other. It was a big time India nostalgia.

Anyway here goes my list of places we saw, all covered on foot with a break for wine and dine and gelato thrown in. So definitely doable!

* Collosuem (entry free day and surprisingly sparsely crowded too. Yay!)

*The Roman Forum and Palatine Hill, its sweeping ruins next door was straight out of an Asterix and Obliex comic, but better.

* The majestic Pantheon and its Occulous- Thank you Dan Brown for the heads up because I remembered to see Raphael’s tomb in there.

*Largo Di Torre Argentina

I was finally at the site of the famed dialogue, “Et tu Brute?” Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar was my heaven and hell in school.

*Altare Della Patria – the white marble monument, the fluttering Italian flag, the gorgeous statues and the soldiers; it was magnificent!

* Piazza Navona

Fountain of 4 rivers and Dan Brown says one of which is Ganga. Nice touch!

* The wish fulfilling Trevi.

Now that was one place I battled the crowd like I’d probably do in our Bazaars before Diwali. Yet, one can’t deny its incredible magic.

All roads lead to Rome and when you are already in Roma…

We were euphoric! We had accomplished our goal. It was time to call it a day.

Walk west“, a helpful young lad pointed at the Google map on his phone to show where we were supposed to go. “Or you can just follow the rays of the sun falling on the building tops.”

Pretty smart, I admit!

Along the way we enjoyed the street bands strumming tunes, inviting tables lined outside cafes promising refreshing spritz and a bite. All good until we realised that we had lost track of the sun and the alleys had turned into a maze.

Frantically we hailed a passerby who agreed that we were lost. Since he spoke only Italian and we English, it was frustrating. The sun was high although the watch pointed that it would be dusk soon; an uneasiness bordering on mild panic brewed beneath the surface.

Squaring our shoulders, we walked a bit faster. Luckily, we ran into a Luke Skywalker. He spoke great English, was perfectly courteous and had an Indian connection too- he had lived in Mumbai for three years. He was going to catch a bus home and decided to walk part of the way with us. He casually directed our wandering attention to the high-end brand shops, the utterly crowded Spanish Steps and finally the way home via River Tiber.

We were ecstatic!

Spanish Steps was not on the list of places to visit the first day but now it was.

Well, sitting on the crazily crowded Spanish Steps- done !

Happily we walked to our B&B. We watched Tiber’s water ripple and gleam in the twinkling lights. The fort of San Angelo stood like a beacon by its side and just beyond it was the Piazza San Pietro and our B&B.

The Bridge of Angels

Time had stopped for us on the cobbled piazzas, the busy streets, by the quiet riverside. Quiet murmurs and faint strains of music broke the silence under the inky blue sky.

“At the end of the day, our feet were dusty, our hair messy but our eyes sparkled.”

It was heavenly!

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20 thoughts on “To Rome, with love.

    1. Thrilled by your warm feedback Amy. Yes! The Eternal City will live on in my memories and photographs. I tried to do justice to its beauty but then you just cannot take a bad picture in Rome ๐Ÿ˜Š. Definitely a must see place, once in your lifetime.

      Liked by 1 person

  1. What a beautiful eulogy to Rome! The pictures are enticing and magnetic, seriously…i could easily see you, gliding through the cityย  with your head spinning around, taking in all you could see with wonder and awe and making friends with total strangers. I felt anxious along with you while you were lost and smiled when a good Samaritan came to your aid. Take a bow Sheetal, my will to travel to Itlay has strengthened after your post!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Manjari, you painted the exact picture of my time in Rome except it was less gliding but more linger and stroll, dawdle then race. ๐Ÿ˜Š Realising we were lost did make me anxious but I had Mami by my side and my best memories came from how that story ended- very happily indeed. Hope to read of your Italian Adventures soon enough. You and I both know how much you would love the place. ๐Ÿ˜Š

      Liked by 1 person

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