This morning I must say goodbye to a city after my own heart. Rome, I will miss your photogenic buildings, extensive history, and the best pasta of my life. If only Portland had such a selection of authentic Italian food, or I could stuff my carryon with fettuccine alfredo. After four full days of exploration, I feel as though I have barely scratched the surface of this ancient city. As far as first impressions go, ya did pretty good. Italy, I will see you again soon. Next stop: Paris!
No words can describe how it feels to stare up at over two thousand years of history. According to Roman mythology, Mars and Princess Rhea Silvia had twin boys in 717BC. They were ordered to be drowned in the Tiber river but were instead found and raised by the wolf Lupa. Romulus, one of the boys, would later go on to found the city of Rome, right where I stood on Palentine Hill. About 700 years later, the iconic Colosseum was built. At the time, it was comparable to a modern day football stadium. The gladiators and the animals were the stars, only the stakes were much higher. What an amazing place where a huge piece of the past stands still and strong.
Fun fact: the Vatican (headquarters of the Catholic church) is actually its own country. Today we explored the many rooms of the Vatican museums and a bit of the city itself. I had no idea the Vatican held dozens of other beautifully painted ceilings in addition to the Sistine Chapel. It was unbearably hot, but so beautiful.
We arrived in Rome yesterday afternoon. After a long travel morning and a crazy shuttle to our hotel, we decided to have a low key night. We are fortunate to be staying only a few blocks from the Spanish Steps (which are, of course, closed at the moment). So, last night we explored the neighborhood, drank red wine, and ate pasta. The streets are so picturesque. The buildings vary in pastel colors and vines fall off the roofs from the gardens. I can't wait to see more, off to the Vatican today!