Today is Day Five of our six-day stay in Rome. We have tried to feel excited about being here, but both Brett and I currently have mixed feelings about our stay so far.
Rome was an add-on when we created our itinerary for the Big Adventure – we figured since we were in Italy we really should go and visit for a few days. So, we tacked on a week’s visit at the end of our month in Florence. Also, we knew that it would be easier to get to Lisbon from Rome than it would be from Florence, and cost considerably less, so that factored in as well.
Some of what we don’t like so far is not Rome’s fault. Brett has been miserable with a bad head cold since we arrived. My hip finally decided it had enough of cobblestones. Other than our first day it’s been overcast and rainy. There are crowds everywhere. I have torn two pairs of my pants on hidden sharp objects. Our apartment is almost too big, more than twice the size of our house back on Kaua’i, with a foyer as big as our living room there, and with marble everywhere it feels a bit cold, even with the heat on. There’s been annoying construction going on at times too. The bed is comfortable though, and the apartment is in a good location, especially for visiting the Vatican and getting to the Metro. There’s a nice grocery store and affordable pizza restaurant nearby. Our host has been helpful and responsive.
We’ve been thrilled by what we’ve seen so far. Walking through the Colosseum, Palantine Hill and Roman Forum was a dream come true for me. St. Peter’s Basilica was breathtaking; and we thought the nearby Castel Sant’Angelo was fascinating with its interesting history and incredible views of the city from the top of the castle. Still, it mostly feels like all we’re doing is checking things off a list. We’ve been unable to get any sort of feel for the city unlike we did in Florence.
Hopefully things will go better today. We took the day off yesterday to give both of us time to rest and recover, and because the weather was flat-out miserable. It also gave us time to talk about what we really wanted to see and do before we leave on Wednesday. Today we are heading out to check out the Pyramid of Cestius, the non-Catholic/foreigner’s cemetery where the poets Keats and Shelley are buried, the Aventine Keyhole (fingers crossed for this) and the Mouth of Truth. We’ll take it slow and stop when we need to. After that we’ll walk across the Tiber and stroll around Trastavere for a little bit if we feel up to it. We’d like to enjoy dinner there before taking a taxi back to our apartment.
On Tuesday morning we’ll once again pack up our suitcases, and then head over in the afternoon to tour the Vatican Museums, including the Sistine Chapel. We’ll enjoy pizza one last time for lunch and then finish up our leftovers for dinner. I think we’re going to make it out of Rome without eating any gelato – we’ve stopped and looked at it several times, but the flavors don’t excite us like they did in Florence, and the cold, rainy weather has been a deterrent as well.
Overall we’re glad we came to Rome but the city hasn’t won us over yet. It’s still just alright. Both Brett and I have remarked that we’re seeing things here we only dreamed of seeing in our lifetimes, but we’re missing a connection that we’ve experienced in other places. Hopefully the next couple of days will change that.