I got up Saturday and went to Rome. It seems so weird to say that, but Rome is only three hours away, so it’s possible. What’s even weirder to say is that I got up yesterday morning and went to Rome. Time seems to fly by so fast, tack on an extra hour and your system just can’t adjust.
So I met Chris in Rome in our typical I’ll-meet-you-at-the-ticket-office fashion because Chris just won’t get a cellphone. We proceeded to commence our wild wanderings across Rome, starting at Roma Termini and heading up towards our 2.30 appointment at the Galleria Borghese, wandering into churches and across piazzas along the way. Chris had wanted to see the Bernini-designed church of St. Andrea del Quirinal but unfortunately it was closed for lunch. I retraced my time in Rome from four years prior, finding the old apartment by the Trevi fountain and revisiting the Galleria Borghese. I even relived some of the summer heat with the thermometer creeping up to 26 degrees Celsius! The Galleria was so much more lavish than I remember it; all my memory reconstructs is a few key white marble statues in a shadowy space. Instead the villa was full of painting and sculptures covering every bit of free space.
Recovering from the artistic overload, Chris and I strolled down towards the Tevere, found a strange little shop Chris had visited two years ago, passed the modernly housed Ara Pacis and found ourselves on the Ponte S. Angelo as the sun dipped just below the horizon. Bumbling around for a bit of time, flipping our map a couple of times, wondering where the hell we were, we finally made it to sit down at a restaurant to enjoy some meaty Roman dishes and pause for a nice long dinner. After seeing the worthy nightlife in Campo di Fiori, Piazza Navona and the Fontana di Trevi, we finished the trek to our hostel (basically 5 beds in a room, that’s it folks) and checked out of consciousness with tired legs, and worn out minds from plenty of sights and conversations about existence in Italy and wonderings about the future back in the States.
Chris and I woke up on Sunday determined to meet the Milanese Marina in Piazza di Spagna at 10. We thought we would try the church of St. Andrea del Quirinal again but strangely at 9.30 it wasn’t open as it should be on a Sunday. We wandered over to the Roman ruins and started to hurry a little to Piazza di Spagna because it was 10.05. I sent a quick note to Marina to tell her of our delay only for her to call me a minute later and inform me that it was indeed only 9.05. Fall back, right. I’ve been so disconnected with the world that I had no idea that whole clock thing had happened. So Chris and I had a relaxing extra hour in the Piazza di Spagna before meeting La Marina for a coffee and plenty of conversation. It was so very nice to see Marina again, full of lively energy, humour and enthusiasm. Ah yes. We spent the whole morning together wandering about, chatting, taking our time, stepping into a church to visit some Carvaggio paintings and then splitting ways.
After a bit of lunch and stepping into the magical powerful space which is the Pantheon, Chris and I finally found the church of St. Ignazio di Loyola, a gem famous for its optical illusion of a dome and its frescoes of rowdy angels falling into the painted architecture and breaking the laws of typical posing. Poco dopo, we walked into an unexpectedly beautiful Paul Klee exhibit at the Palazzo Ruspoli where the artist’s works were lit as if to glow in otherwise black rooms. It was an artistic experience that truly let you get intimate with the work. Walking down via del Corso, Chris finally spotted a suit that seemed to satisfy his desire for Italian clothes and well, suffice to say we both satisfied a sartorial whim. Before heading home for what was truly a whirlwind of a weekend, I wanted to try the church of St. Andrea del Quirinal once more. Just as we arrived, the doors opened. An ostentatious project by an egomaniac that sure knew what he was doing, Bernini’s church seeps in gold and white marble but remains sacred and beautiful.
It is strange to say that I visited Rome in only 31 hours, and it’s strange to think I only left yesterday for Rome and am already back home. But it was completely worth it. Rome radiates such a different energy than other Italian cities, it’s more open, more lively, more artistic, more alive. It was wonderful to spend time with Chris and with Marina, talk about life at length, about plans, about politics, it infused me with a little more of what I was used to and what I was lacking, some truly close friends and some highly philosophical and energetic and just plain funny conversations. I had been having some difficult moments in Italy before this weekend began, but I had a chance to get away and to just rattle off some ideas and just wander the streets. Maybe in velocity and motion I find comfort. It might have been the art, the water, my friends or the summer weather, but Rome has infused me with a bit of fresh zest for life, new energy, recharging power.
Surely I’ll have more to say about Roma domani and of course there will be photos…