I am ashamed to say that Rome was never on my to-see list. Ashamed, because Rome is simply magnificent.
Whether it’s wide piazzas bursting with history and culture, or charming ivy covered corners tucked away in an alley, Rome was a treasure just waiting to be discovered.
The flight here was near perfect. I was a little nervous because I was going to do the Italian PAs during the flight, a first for me. It’s one thing reading and studying Italian with fellow Maltese. Another to actually speak in front of hundreds of Italians. But I had nothing to worry about. I simply reveled in hearing the Italian language being spoken. At home my mum was constantly watching Italian drama or shows. As a result the kitchen was like an Italo-Maltese hub. I miss this in Dubai.
The hotel we were staying at was the Hilton which conveniently offered a shuttle service to the city centre. The night of our arrival we headed to the city. It was magical. It was like stepping back in time. All those buildings I had read about, the Colosseum, the Pantheon, the Fountain of Trevi, Piazza Navona.. They were there, in front of me, in all their glory. Silent witnesses of golden ages gone by. We ate hot chestnuts as we hopped from one sight to another and then we stopped to have pizza and wine in front of Marcus Agrippa’s Pantheon, a colossal wonder of which construction I had read about in one of my historical fiction novels. It felt good to finally see it in person. The author had not exaggerated its classical beauty.
The next day I ventured out alone, saw the same sights in the light of an early sun. Piazza Vittorio Emmanuele II was breath taking in the pinkish hue of the late dawn. Had a quick coffee and cornetto at the Fontana di Trevi where I met a Roman soldier prancing about, fake sword and all. I walked to Piazza di Spagna (via Dei Condotti, with all its designer shops tucked in the old buildings was a sight on its own) and then back to Piazza Navona with its pretty little Christmas market, too inviting for my purse’s tastes and where I am currently sitting, eating focaccia and sipping caffe latte in a warm sun. The music from the carousel stopped but the trickling of the fountain and the melodious Italian voices fill the silence instead.
I am happy here. The huge piazzas are nothing like Malta but sometimes, a lantern hanging on the old walls of an alley makes me think of Mdina. And for a moment I’m back home. Then I round the bend and the Colosseum looms large and awe inspiring and eternal like the rest of this ethereal city.
Roma, ci rivedremo.