Italy: A faux-reign affair – Rome (parte prima)

I just have four words so far: “I”, “love”, “this” and “place”! I will also say this: piccola may be in their vocabulary, but there is nothing small about this place. It puts Texas to shame! Okay. Perhaps this is a bit of an exaggeration since la maggior parte delle macchine sono piccole, but the architecture and art must be seen up close and personal. It’s really awe-inspiring.

Our first day, was, naturally, a bit confusing. My wife and I decided not to experience Italy in a tour group nor did we have a guide. We did, however, plan an itinirary which needed to be a little more detailed to execute smoothly. Our intent was to experience Italy instead of visiting it. So not only did we visit the pre-requisits, we migrated to the proverbial “holes-in-the-wall” (well, we tried, at least) trying hard to avoid tourists. The reason why we chose to come this time of year. But, irony raised its ugly head.

We stayed in a quaint and cozy bed and breakfast called “Arco del Lauro” run by la nostra amica Lorenza Sardo. This is a place that is hidden from the hustle and bustle yet quite close to it. Walk a mile in any direction and you’ll be in the midst of the action; whether it’s the local or tourist scene. Speaking of walking; wear comfortable shoes. Let me say that again…wear comfortable shoes. I mentioned having a detailed itinerary especially when you have appointments to galleries, museums, etc. We had an appointment to visit Galleria Borghese, but got lost because we were following the directions to Musei Vaticano that we were to visit the following day. So we missed our appointment. We did, however, decided to visit Il Fonte Trevi. You can spend the most part of your day just walking so it’s a good idea to learn and take advantage of la metropolitana or the bus system.

The next day, we visited Musei Vaticano, Basilica di San Pietro and, finally, Galleria Borghese.

For the galleria I had to plead with the woman at the guest counter to let us obtain the tickets that we had already paid for on-line weeks before. Instead, she sold us two tickets at a very discounted price of € 2. We weren’t allowed to take pictures. Even if I had, the pictures would not even come close to being as impressive as being there. My favorite work is by Gian Lorenzo Bernini titled Ratto di Proserpina. The detail is extraordinary. In fact, all of his work at the gallery is extraordinary.

At Musei Vaticano, we were able to take pictures of EVERYTHING except Cappela Sistina; the pièce de résistance (okay, that was French). Being a holy place, you must observe silence although tour guids are allowed to quietly speak, but for only five minutes. There is also a strict dress code.

We are to visit the Colosseo at a later time, but I got a glimpse of it while walking and being in its presence gave me a bit of vertigo. Very much like when I stood in front of the Unisphere from the 1964 World’s Fair when I was six years old. For now, we are headed to Sorrento and the Amalfi Coast.

The gellery below is mostly of the artwork and architecture. In my next Rome post, I will include more “local scene” photos.

Vediamo piu tardi!