I had intended to visit Firenze, but ...
Roma has an abundance of energy. The energy of all the people who live and work there, of all the tourists who tromp through the streets, ride the buses, sit in the cafes and ristorantes and cool their hot feet in the fountains of Roma. Roma pulsates with the energy that seeps from the buildings and sculptures, the churches, the cobblestones – so old, carrying the energy of centuries - of the people who trod those same streets centuries ago and built those domes, those columns of marble, carved those statues, painted those frescoes. That’s the grandeur and concrete, daily reality of Roma.
My first trip to Roma lasted three days and before departing I booked another two-night stay with the hotel for the following week. But even upon return, two nights wasn’t enough – I added a third, because while tramping about Roma on what was to be my last day there, I chanced across an opportunity to attend a production of La Traviata at San Paoli en la Mura Chiesa. I just had to buy a ticket – and then find a hotel room for the night!
Roma is dangerous like that - you're just walking along, your jaw dragging on the cement in awe, or a silly smile plastered all over your face, and suddenly, you turn a corner and one more extraordinarily delightful thing pops up - an opera, the perfect gellato, a cobblestoned piazza with a beautiful fountain, a building with magnificent marble columns, a narrow street with children playing a wild game of tag - something just pops up and you suddenly change your plans - play tag with children, eat gellato (even though you just finished melon e prosciutto with a white wine at the last piazza!), buy an opera ticket (even though that means you have to find a hotel room for another night).
Roma is like opera. Captivates you, provides moments of quiet tenderness and instances of rousing crescendos that overwhelm you with delight, glee, joy.
I have no words for Roma that do it justice. Exquisite. Awesome. Captivating. Powerful. Rich. None of these words convey the essence of Roma. Not a one. Roma is all those things, but more than that too. And those words are so paltry compared to all that Roma is.
I spent today at the beach in Marina de Pietrasanta, an hour’s walk from my apartment in Pietrasanta. But tomorrow I leave Italia. My month is over. I head back to New York for a two-day stopover and then on to San Francisco, home. After Italia, after Roma, I am even more grateful that I live in San Francisco, for if I did not have San Francisco to go home to, I would cry at leaving Italia. I may cry anyway. San Francisco now has a true rival for my heart. Ah … I have been a bit unfaithful, but it’s nothing serious I will tell my beloved city. After all, I am coming home.
But I leave you all with a few pictures of Roma and St. Peter’s. When I visited St. Peter’s, I was struck dumb. But when I gazed on the Pieta, I cried. (I cried at the Sistine Chapel too.) The beauty, the craftsmanship – how did Michelangelo create such a masterpiece as the Pieta? The man was a genius. But then, all of Roma is a genius.
Until we meet again Italia e Roma (for I did indeed throw a coin into the Trevi Fountain to ensure my return). Arrivederci!