Rome is cobbled with stones, mismatched roads, muggers, beggars and rubbish, but it still manages to be eternal. After all, the Roman world shaped a lot of the Western world as we know today.
As soon as you exit the airport, it entices you with a combined fragrance of espressos and cigarettes. Step in a queue before figuring out there isn’t one – it’s the strongest for themselves. You pay for a ticket and realise, once you’re at the station, that you were fleeced. But you’re not supposed to be bothered by such silly things when you have just entered Rome. In Rome, do what the Romans do, they said – touché!
One look at the city and there’s history surrounding you – like Romans waiting at the Circus Maximus or Colosseum to see the gladiators be slaughtered. Walking to see the Spanish Steps, Pantheon or any of Rome’s thousand other ancient monuments or structures, you might just take a step where Julius Caesar, Augustus or Constantine the Great might have walked.
Wander around its piazzas, where the squares bustle with sultry, elegant performers. With their scrolls of paintings, loud marketplaces and, of course, coffee bars and restaurants, they’re the perfect places to get lost in.
The idyllic restaurants, where colourful people have colourful conversations and get steeped in smoke and wine, the waiters might look scary, but then they have to feed hundreds and no-one would want to leave a place with a view that Rome has to offer.
I won’t go into details about the city’s people and night life because there’s no need to. Italians are beautiful, and there’s nothing else to say. They are living images of gods and goddesses. At least, their exteriors are. There’s a tiny fraction that are wary of anyone non-Italian, but don’t let that spoil your experience. They love being loud, but that’s charming, to be honest. It’s how they love to live: being cheery or grumpy, but never in the middle or bland.
Rome is as ancient as its structures, as rugged as its coffee bars, as beautiful as its citizens, as loud as its scooters, as aromatic as its food and as intoxicating as its wine.
Toss a coin into the Trevi Fountain and you’re guaranteed to come back to take the plunge again.
WORDS: ANAND JHAVERI
Pretty decent travel writing, eh? Now read about Anand’s journey into the Himalayas.