We are in the midst of a global pandemic and that means I have a little more time at home than I expected to have. I’m editing photos from last summer’s trip to Italy, thinking about what they’re going through there and here and everywhere and wanting to kind of sort of completely burst into tears, and waiting for shit to hit the fan even more here in the U.S. It’s not a great time, as I’m sure y’all know. I didn’t know if I should keep puttering away here while things are crazy outside, but 1) no one reads this blog anyway and 2) it seems like nice things are nice during good times and bad, so I don’t think I should stop doing them. OK, we’re done with the guilty introduction to this post – let me tell you about my favorite day I spent in Rome.
I started off at the Trevi Fountain, this time during the day and packed with people. A bit, uh, awful if I’m to be honest. Crowds and the heat are the worst way to explore.
Would like to highlight this funny looking car!!! What a hoot!
I followed the Rick Steves Europe app tour (my source for all the fun facts I’ll spout) to the opening of an ancient aqueduct, the same one that still feeds the Trevi Fountain. Although the Acqua Vergine was blocked by a grate, it was still cool to see and think about all those old timey Romans getting water from the same place they’re using today. You ever think about how funny time is and how weird it is that we’re here and there were people here before us and things are so different and yet similar all at once? You guys, I’m not even high when I think these things.
The Column of Immaculate Conception, made to advance the doctrine of Immaculate Conception from the Catholic Church in the 1850s, is the idea that Jesus was born without sin and so was his mother Mary. She stands in front of the Palace of the Propagation of Faith, aka the Church’s PR department, which has a yellow flag indicating it’s still owned by the Vatican.
The Spanish Steps are named so because the Spanish Embassy is in this square! Rome needs double the embassies of any other city, because each country needs two embassies here – one for Italy, and one for the Vatican. The one here is the Spanish Embassy for the Vatican. Anyway, beautiful of course, and roasting and crowded with people. I sat in the shade for a bit and people watched while I tried to ignore how sweaty I was from walking here.
This orange building has a sign between its windows that says John Keats died here of tuberculosis. He was 25! Jeez.
This Sinking Boat Fountain is fed from the same aqueduct we saw earlier! And it was built by either Bernini or his dad (so, the Bernini we all know, or the less famous one that gave the dude his surname.
The thing, again, about doing these posts so long after I’ve been there, is I have little to no idea of how I got from Point A to Point B. How did I get to this piazza? What did I do there? Did I end up there intentionally? Unsure on all counts.
I saw this priest walking about and got excited about it in the way that only someone with little connection to organized religion, passable skill at denial of what I do know, an enthusiastic helping of fictional romance stories involving priests, and a very active imagination can be. Unfortunately for the both of us, I think this paragraph tells you more about my character than anything I’ve ever written.
At the risk of sounding entirely too much like a navel-gazing YA novel, I’m really into seeing the off kilter parts of places, the bits that aren’t manicured and beaten into Instagram-friendly submission. Much more character there.
Look at how small this gas station was!!! Are they all like that?! Is it an Italy thing or a Rome thing?! If we’re ever allowed to travel again, I would love. 2. find. out.
I sat on a bench in this park for a bit just lookin’ at the trees. This photo is strategically cropped; just out of sight on the right hand side, there was another bench with a young couple (look at me, talking about the youths as if they were decades younger than me. As it were, I’m – eugh – 23 now, so we’re getting there) really enthusiastically making out. Like, full on straddling. Ah, la dolce vita.
Got real excited over these trash cans too. If I were a poet, I’d try to explain why – perhaps something about the realities of human life, so different and yet so similar all at once? – but alas, I am no wordsmith.
I randomly decided to pop into this bookstore and had a lovely lovely time! It’s a realization that is more surprising than it should be, considering how much of a nerd with anxiety I am. Bookstores and libraries have always been my ideal hiding nooks, you know what I mean? Anyway, I ended up getting a couple books from the children’s section, since those were the only books I could understand, flipping open adult books (not that kind of adult) in a vain attempt to understand Italian, and having a nice chat with the lady at the counter. Small bookstores are the nicest, anywhere you go. But I thought this one was especially nice and cozy feeling.
Also, I have this shirt from Gap Kids which has cartoon cats doing yoga on it and I’m pretty sure they stole the entire idea from this poster.
For the rest of the day I mostly just wandered about. I didn’t have any aim, short of remembering how to get back to the hotel, and it was real nice to kind of hang out with myself in a cool new place.
Alright, that’s that. I hope you’re staying safe out there, physically and mentally. I hope these streets get back to normal soon, and then better than normal after that.