ROMAN HOLIDAY… 2008
In September my son and I spent two wonderful weeks in Italy. That’s him ... showing his excitement by hugging one of the Pantheon columns. We had 5 days in Rome, split between an 8 day jaunt to Florence. I was amazed at what we could cram in to that short time.
Our hostel in Rome was, once again, a monastery ... adequate but much less posh than where we stayed in Florence. We each had a small room that resembled those in a college dorm. It did have a bed, table, chair and a small sink but the main WC and showers were at the end of a long hall.
This “austerity” didn’t dampen our enthusiasm in the slightest ... the 35 Euro a night made up for any inconvenience and we were located near the heart of Trastevere, a picturesque medieval area located on the west bank of the Tiber.
We were just a 10 minute walk from the Vatican and the Sistine Chapel and we actually didn’t have to wait in much of a line for either of them. This was entirely different from my visit there in Sept. of 2001 when it took almost all day to do the same thing.
We found that it was much easier to walk our way around the city than to try to figure out the bus routes. Although it was November the weather cooperated and we were very comfortable.
Among the amazing sites that we visited were the Coliseum, the Roman Forum, the Borghese Gardens, the baths of Caracalla, the Spanish Steps, the Trevi fountain and many, many churches and museums.
In Rome there were hundreds of acres of ruins that have been preserved and ancient relics and statuary were left where they had fallen many years before. It was wonderful to see that there is a place where a country’s heritage was proudly being kept intact ... even if it meant the loss of valuable city real estate.
I couldn’t help but compare that with America where our developers don’t seem to be able to resist the impulse to “clean up the cities“ and fill any empty spaces with high-rise apartments.