last entry – le marche 2011

Rome  009

It’s been years since I was in Rome. (The Rome airport doesn’t count. BTW, I hate the Rome airport. It is one of the most difficult airports to begin a trip from; checking in is miserable. And the domestic terminals are over-run with passengers, and not very clean.)

We left Ferrara Monday morning and drove down to Rome. (We were going to return the car and stay overnight at the airport Hilton. My flight was at 7:30 in the morning and I headed over at 5:30. It took me an hour to check in. Why I hate the Rome airport.) Part of our plan was to take the hotel bus into Rome and spend late afternoon and early evening in the city.

This part of the return trip was the best. I loved being back in Rome. I had forgotten how great the city is. In Rome everything is exaggerated. The churches are grand, the streets are wide, the buildings are refurbished and elegant. And most of all, the city is big enough that you can avoid the tourists. Santa Maria in Trastevere was beautiful; Piazza Navona was over-run by tourists and we left quickly; the Pantheon was closed; Piazza Venezia was roped off, but still magnificent; and the Campidoglio was a wonderful surprise.

My favorite discovery was what has been done on the shores of il Tevere. I remember il Tevere in late August as a muddy trickle. I had never gone down to the river, because it felt unsafe. It was far down to get to the river and hardly anyone went down to the edge, especially when all that was down there was a muddy, shallow stream littered with garbage. (Different than Paris, where the banks of the Seine were full of people enjoying a stroll.) Well all that has changed. The water it high and the banks are filled with theatres, restaurants, walkways and people. The street noise if gone and you are surrounded by tents and tables; one restaurant had hookah pipes to smoke and pillows to lounge on as you watched the Romans and wannabes stroll by. Welcome to Lungo il Tevere … Roma.