Arriving in Rome was a whirlwind of jetlag, chaos, and an unquenchable thirst to take in every inch of the city. It was hard to sleep on the 10 hour flight from the East Coast of the United States to Italy because of anxious anticipation, my seatmate with a fascinating life story, and some inspiring poems from Rumi. After meeting up at the airport with my travel companion for the Italian leg of my journey (my loving and patient mom), we maneuvered through the tightly packed crowds and found a shuttle to Rome. Weaving through the city to find the hotel, we were informed there are enough churches in Rome to see a different one every day of the year! And the driver was right, the warm afternoon sunlight gently highlighted crosses all over the city.
With two feet finally on the worn cobblestone streets, I walked for hours in the evening. I couldn’t help but wonder at who had traveled those same streets before me. It was invigorating to walk through the city and smell the fresh pizza; to hear carefree Sunday laughter and the beautiful cadence of the Italian language; to feel the refreshing breeze navigating the canals created by the buildings shaping alleyways; and to see the detailed artistry throughout the city. I came to realize it was impossible to observe even a small sculpture in its entirety in just one viewing because of the level of detail from the artist. Every time we walked by a structure (because of course, we got lost) we found new elements not seen before! Apartment buildings had beautiful balconies with wrought iron railings shaped into swirling works of art. Cascading greenery and flowers added natural delicacy from the rooftop gardens and the ornate etchings that decorated the facades of many of the buildings helped us stop and enjoy the moment.
We sat to eat dinner on the street patio at a pizzeria on Via Nazionale. It was the perfect place to rest and needless to say, the pizza was incredible. By nightfall we walked to the Spanish steps and joined a small crowd to listen to two guitarists serenade us with beautiful music. Looking around, there were couples casually taking photos together, groups of friends quietly chatting and laughing, and lit by the yellow glow of street lamps, onlookers standing in the windows of nearby restaurants enjoyed the music in the fresh night air.
This first night in Rome was about getting my feet on the ground and immersing myself in the city. I am looking forward to what a full day will bring! Stay tuned to read more about my explorations through Rome as I cross through these ancient streets and take in the beautiful setting and structures!