THE ETERNAL CITY
The last day of working finally comes and I can already feel the nerves of getting on a plane. I have spent all summer working and saving money so that I can enjoy this trip. Even though I’ve woken up early this morning to go to work, I can’t sleep at night. I can’t stop texting Jorge, asking him if he is as excited as I am, remembering him to put the toothbrush on the case, at what time he has to pick me up.
I think I’ve never been this enthusiastic for a trip before. Termini station, one in the afternoon, 24th September 2019, the station has a market inside that is full of people, it feels like we are in a sauna. Where do we have to go? Which was the hotel’s address? God, food smells so good here, I think I’m going to faint. My best friend and I arrive at the hotel, sweating, without knowing how we get here, starving as we have never been, but realizing we are finally in Rome.
Four nights and five days seem to be enough for us to get to know the city a little. We have so many things to do, places to visit, pictures to take, pasta to eat. It’s sunny outside, it seems like we are in a movie. I can’t believe we are really here, can’t believe I got to travel again after all this time. I can see the coliseum from my window, the streets are crowded… “It’s going to be an amazing trip, Jorge”.
The Coliseum feels ethereal, like if it’s going to break if you stare at it for too long. It’s beauty is immaculate, even though there are pieces left and it has suffered a lot as we can tell from the exterior.
“I think you never finish experiencing Rome. There is always a corner left to discover, a dish, a spot, a sunset… that’s why I moved here”, Samuel, the tour guide, a spanish guy that moved to Rome for love (what a cliché) and decided to start a life there because of the city.
He talks about Rome as if he was born here, he knows every detail about the Coliseum, every interesting story, he recommends us what to eat, where to go and at what time, how can we take full advantage of the city. You can tell by the way he speaks that he really loves the city and he really knows how to transmit that feeling.
When the afternoon comes, we go to Savello park to watch the sunset. It’s in this moment where I feel so lucky to be able to be here, enjoying such amazing views, Rome covered by the warm colours of the sunset, it doesn’t feel real.
People talk about Trastevere as if it was the eight world wonder, “You can’t miss it, you have to visit it at different moments of the day, you’ll see, it’s totally different”. I was curious, not gonna lie, so the first thing we do when the second day comes is going there.
You know this movie called “Call me by your name” that is set in the 80s in Italy and has this beautiful soundtrack that really makes you want to run away and travel there to live a summer love story? That’s how I feel when I step in Trastevere. It looks like a movie with its small and colorful houses covered with vines, all these trattorias with lots of people coming in and out with faces of satisfaction after having those huge pasta plates…
And with our stomach full, we decide to go to the Vatican city so that we can watch the sunset from another spot, “Ponte Sant’Angelo”. It’s really chill there, we stay for like an hour walking around, talking about everything, searching on google maps where to have dinner and without thinking about it we end up in Trastevere, again, but this time with the lights turned on.
I’ve never enjoyed a pizza so much in my life. The Italians speaking loud, a woman busking at the corner singing a song I can’t recognise, people on the streets laughing and drinking, the walls are decorated with small lights to make everything more intimate, and of course, we decide to wrap up the day with a gelato.
“So you’re telling me we’re really going to wake up at 7am just to take some photos?” Indeed, and that’s what happened.
The alarm sounds at 7am and my legs feel like they’re going to stop working with the first step I take out of bed, but we’re finally going to see her. We drink our regular cappuccino, eat some chocolate thing that’s homemade by the owner of a small cafeteria near our hotel and we head to the marvelous square.
When I first see her there, with no one around, the sound of the birds, the first sunray appearing shygly, it ‘s magical. It may sound typical but Fontana di Trevi it’s one of the most beautiful things I’ve seen in Rome. I take hundreds of pictures because I’m afraid I may not have enough or miss some detail. It feels like I’ve connected with the city in a special way, I’ve wanted to come here since I’m twelve and I’m finally here, and it’s just as amazing as I thought it would be.
We stay there for a while and the square starts getting full of people, so that’s our signal to leave.
Vila Borghese has an amazing lake and there are lots of people walking around with their dogs. “Mulan would love this”, and it’s true, Jorge’s dog would love to run through this huge park. We stay there for a couple of hours and, guess what, we find a beautiful spot near there to watch the sunset. It seems to be our favourite thing to do during this trip apart from eating.
The Vatican Museum
Last (full) day comes too quickly so we have to enjoy it to the max. That is why we decide to wake up early, again, and spend the morning in the Vatican museums. To be honest I really wanted to see the Sistine Chapel even though I know nothing about art and I know it will be fully crowded with people.
We get there and start a four hour audio guide that it’s the most boring thing I’ve ever listened to and doesn’t give me information I’m able to understand. All I hear is strange peoples names, dates, and specific words about art. “You know what? I don’t really care about the technical stuff, I really want to see those sculptures without having no idea what they represent and then, after staring at them for one minute say that I don’t like them”.
The four hour audio guide becomes a three hour tour laughing and making assumptions about the different art pieces, until we arrive at the Sistine Chapel. It is, indeed, full of people but I get why. There’s no corner left without painting, the colours are out of this world and everyone is quiet, enjoying the view.
We spend the rest of the day walking around our favorite places. Piazza Navona, Pantheon, where we eat ice cream from Venchi, Piazza di Spagna… At night we enjoy our last pizza, we take a shot of limoncello and go back to the hotel knowing this has been an amazing trip.
On the plane back home, I listen to one of my favourite playlist while editing and choosing some of the best pictures of the trip while thinking of something Samuel said on the first day we were here, “Rome, the eternal city”:
So when I get home and start searching about why it is called that way I understand everything. There’s so much history in Rome that from the moment you start walking its streets you feel like you’ve travelled in time. There’s always something that captures your attention, ruins, monuments, houses… No buildings disturbing this scenario that has been created during the years. The city screams history everywhere.
I enjoyed Rome as I think it should be enjoyed. Italians speaking out loud, sunny, without restrictions, the bars and trattorias full of people, the smell of food all over the streets, motorbikes driving so fast I thought I was going to be run over, a cappuccino and a gelato per day, walking an average of twenty thousand steps a day, coming back to the hotel with my legs feeling as if they were going to melt, but with a big smile on my face.
Everyone close to me knows about our trip to Rome, I made sure of it. And now with this whole covid situation, some thoughts come to my mind. I feel very lucky and at the same time sad because I want to take my parents there so that they can experience the same feelings I did in this city. So please, covid, don’t make it too long, alright?
*Photos taken by: Carolina Ribes