I once spoke to a tourist who told me that they saw Rome in a day. I inquisitively asked, “But, how?” Rome is not only a big city; its walls hold a potent history that surpasses its modern day [geographical] borders. They responded by listing every single well known monument and site that they managed to run around to see within 12 hours. I did not even respond. I did not know how exactly to in the moment. To be frank, I really was not in the mood to pick a fight with a person over their interpretation of seeing a place.
It is impossible to see a city in one day. The validity of this statement depends on your meaning of “see.” Often when someone says “Oh, I have been there [before/ already,]” it most likely means that he or she grazed over the top sites, grabbed a bite at seemingly popular joint, and took enough photos to show proof the visit.
But, going to a brand new city requires putting aside expectations and any form of formal tour guide. A city is like a person; it is multilayered, evolving through time. Utilizing a lack of knowledge can be an asset, by trusting your gut and interacting to locals, although I, like many, was once advised to not speak to strangers. What a danger it is to learn from others, better off sticking to the friends you came with, that’s if you came with any.
Rome can be a chaotic mess while simultaneously being a nostalgic dream. I have always romanticized Rome, hoping someday I could live in such a glorious city. But, my boyfriend, who lived in Rome for four years, always loves to bulldoze my dream by reminding me of the realities one faces living in Rome (as well as Italy on a whole.) Nonetheless, I still dream hardcore that one day I could understand this city as one of its citizens. Until then, I stay writing this post.
Roma is multifaceted, obviously. Its historical center is composed of 22 rioni (neighborhoods,) while the entire city is composed of 35 quartieri (quarters.) The city of Roma is therefore 7 times larger than the city of Firenze, in terms of quartieri (Firenze has only 5.) I tend to stay in the second quarter, Parioli, which is right outside the historical center. It is located just above Villa Borghese. The area is considered to be posh, according to Romans. It is both residential and commercial, but unquestionably beautiful. There are tons of ideal balconies around Via Archimede, with iron terraces carrying wild and vibrant green plant life. I like to call it “balcony porn,” but that just has the wrong primary connotation altogether.
As you can imagine, I have been faux apartment searching, looking for a balcony to maybe one day call my own.
(*Snaps out of dream*) I cannot divulge every aspect of my recent experience in Roma because its hard. Not that I have a limit in my writing abilities or anything; I love a challenge. It is just that there’s so much to go over. I did not have enough time to fully engage in each neighborhood. I savored every moment and reflected on my perceptions. As much as I would prefer to blab off about how much I enjoy Roman cuisine, I am going to save that rant for a post on a special trip that is coming up shortly. Until then, here is a compilation of images covering the following areas: Villa Borghese, Parioli, and Aventino, featuring some views of Centro Storico.
The captions are arguably important, at least to me. Also, the sky in Rome never ceases to be extraordinary. Another selling point on my list.
We shall not cease from exploration
And the end of all our exploring
Will be to arrive where we started
And know the place for the first time.
– T.S. Eliot, “Little Gidding”
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