The flight there took about 16 hours rendering the first day a complete loss. When I arrived at the hotel it was already midnight and all that was left to do was sleep. Alas, my exploration of the “eternal city” would have to wait until daybreak of the following day.
Once the sun shone its first light, I was greeted by an amazing azure sky, bright and beckoning me to take on the day. After enjoying a rather euphoric cold shower, like those reserved only for mental patients, I head over to the hotel lobby for a complementary breakfast that would put any American hotel or restaurant to shame. With espresso made to order, everything was “perfetto” as one would say in Italian.
Rome is an open air museum. Everywhere you look paints a picture-perfect scene that you would gladly pay to have hanging on your wall or greet your friend on the face of a postcard. It was useless to try to capture its all-encompassing beauty on film or smartphone memory as it was too vast and too much to hold. As you are capturing one perfect paysage, you’ve already missed three or four others. The Flavian Amphitheater, more popularly known as the Colosseum, was one such wonder that could only be beheld and experienced, walked and imagined in as photographs rob it of its grandiosity and ancient mystique.
Aside from the sheer beauty and majestic antiquity that places such as the Colosseum, the Trevi Fountain, and Vatican City have to offer, Roman citizens are also a sight to be seen. I was lucky enough to dwell amongst them in the small town of Cornelia and Trastevere. Their fame for being hospitable and warm people is based on reality. On one occasion, I greeted a man preparing me an espresso by saying “Buona sera” (good evening) although it was only 9:00am. He simply brushed off my idiotic nonsensical comment and replied with a cheerful “Prego” (you’re welcome) as if he knew what I meant.
Not letting this embarrassing interaction take the wind out of my sails, I was able to find a local deli (which made its own bread, cured meats, and cheeses) and successfully ordered myself a sandwich with pancetta, salami, and buffalo mozzarella. All in broken Italian. The sandwich was so flavorful and affordable, a mere 3.45 euros (about $3.85). In LA, a sandwich half as decent as this one would be twice as more expensive.
Roma is like no other city. It is unique in its history, culture, cuisine, city layout, and people. It’s a city that I have fallen in love with and a city that I plan on seeing again many times. LA, I still love you and you still hold a huge place in my heart, but you better make some room for the city of Rome.