Considering a grand total of seven hours’ sleep apiece in three days, we can safely say we did Rome justice on our first day. I still hadn’t slept yet (feeling unstoppable, like Rasputin) so I dashed off some highlights of our first full day before going to bed.
We joined Ty for a power lunch, Roman-style – a giant plate of pasta and a glass of wine, followed by a visit to a corner espresso bar for a very necessary refuelling. (Rome seems to run on espresso. And why not? It’s cheaper than gas.) When Ty went back to the office, we took a somewhat confusing bus ride from his serene, ritzy neighbourhood to the zoo-like area within the walls, where even in late October, tourists rule the day. I suffered from an overwhelming urge to buy everything, especially leather goods. We strolled through the hordes, stopping to sit casually on the Spanish Steps along with 50,000 other people with the same idea, and marvelling at the sheer number of monuments, fountains, and stunning architecture from every era.
In the late afternoon, we met up with Ty for some prosecco and Parmiggiano in a random piazza and then headed for a light dinner at a restaurant Ty had heard good things about in the Jewish Ghetto (yes, actually called that). The restaurant had two locations: one served meat (kosher, of course) but no dairy, and the other restaurant, aptly named Milky Kosher, was the reverse. I was outvoted by the meat-eaters and we settled at a table on the sidewalk and eavesdropped on the pompous American expats beside us while we scarfed falafel and hummus, kosher carpaccio, and incredible fried artichokes. Afterwards, we strolled around town in relative peace and quiet, inspecting ancient ruins, majestic Renaissance architecture, and the balcony from which Mussolini dispensed his orations. Naturally, we had to stop and throw a coin (with the right hand, over the left shoulder) into the immensely popular Fontana di Trevi. On the way home, we stopped for Napoletan pizza and fried pumpkin at a place called Bella Napoli.
Over a digestivo at Ty’s place later, he revealed that in his year in Rome so far, he has never visited the Sistine Chapel, which happens to be Riccardo’s favourite place on earth. He further bewildered my art-loving husband by asking what happened to the other fifteen chapels. We decided we’d brave the hordes and go check it out the next day.
So far, I can’t think of a single reason not to love Rome – I’m sure they exist, I just haven’t come across one. As frustrating as parking or traffic or unfriendly Romans may be, you’re still in Rome.
With that, here are a few snaps from our first day.