Roma (Rome in Italian) for me is a feeling – maybe short for “Romancha” meaning thrill in Sanskrit. I fell deeply in love with the city and if possible, more in love with my sh. Over the years, I have not seen our photos but retraced our paths in Rome through Google Maps. Now, when I look back, I am filled with the same love although it has a striking pain attached to it.
I see two young explorers, like in a movie, who were sprinting along, in love with life. They chose to go to Italy as the food and history fascinated them. Both were equally excited but since they had divided trip planning between the two of them, she was responsible for Rome and we can say she had an extra air of excitement and confidence around her.
The beauty that is Rome
The number of attractions in Rome overwhelmed him and so she took him along. They first went to Obelisco della Minerva where they were introduced to Bernini. They visited Basilica di Santa Maria Sopra Minerva situated right there.
When they headed towards the Pantheon, they approached it from behind. The almost 2000-year-old magnificent dome just appeared out of nowhere! She was amazed how Rome has such marvels in every street.
They spent a lot of time at the Pantheon just gaping at the Oculus! A year later, when she studied a course on Roman architecture, her respect for this place grew multifold.
They went to Piazza Navona for The Fountain of the Four Rivers by Bernini. By now, Bernini had become a word used in every sentence they spoke, for all the marvel that he was.
After this, they got into the flow and over the three days, they visited many famous sights – Trevi fountain (was under renovation then), Spanish steps, Catacombs of San Sebastiano, Santa Maria della Concezione dei Cappuccini (Crypt with skull decorations), Roman Forum and Colosseum among others. Every cobbled street and every column had a rich history and numerous stories associated with them. They were lost deep in its richness and found immense joy.
They walked among the ruins of the Roman Forum, soaking in the greatness of emperors Julius Caesar, Augustus, Trajan, Hadrian and the likes. One evening, they spent an ample amount of time just admiring the ruins and also the Colosseum from a platform of the Forum.
Angels and Demons
She read Dan Brown’s Angels and Demons just before going on the trip; which he had read long before. So, in Rome, she was also excited to check out the spots mentioned in the book. She explained them to her sh who had to jog his memory really hard to recall. They visited all the 4 elements – Church of Santa Maria del Popolo (Earth), Fountain at St. Peter’s Square (Air), Church of Santa Maria della Vittoria (Fire), The Fountain of Four Rivers, Piazza Navona (Water). She pointed out the clues mentioned and they visited all the other places that are referred to in the book.
The story of Mario
They stayed in Trastevere – the highly recommended place to stay in Rome. When they reserved their Airbnb room, they received an email from the host with the list of facilities and services which also included:
-A good foot massage we paid a course to Mario so you can enjoy, after walking city sights Mario gracefully will ask you if he can massage your feet.
-whatever service you want is already included in the rate you paid
They were surprised and curious when they read this and he couldn’t wait to get to this place. Mario was a lean, handsome guy who had a side fringe hairstyle. He gracefully welcomed them and took good care of them during their stay. One morning, when she had gone for a bath, Mario woke him up and asked if he needed a foot massage. He accepted the offer and after the massage, Mario asked if he liked the massage and when he acknowledged and praised him, Mario kissed his foot. After her bath, he told her about the kiss and she brushed it away saying he was dreaming. After many years of him trying to convince her, she still doesn’t believe his story.
Italian cuisine – their favourite
Every meal in Rome felt like the best they had ever had! The melt-in-the-mouth pizza at Pinsere, the buttery ravioli in a sage sauce at Il Brillo Parlante and the creamy gelatos everywhere. Italy was a food paradise for them – both for the thought and the stomach.
The Vatican City
The smallest country in the world was the most intoxicating place for this couple. After a long queue at the entrance, they were out of words when they stood inside St. Peter’s Basilica. Every inch of the world’s largest church was a marvel. One can’t take in this amount of glory in a lifetime! They were lucky to attend a communion going on at the time.
He, being a good researcher, had reserved a night entry to the Vatican Museums. They strolled around the galleries extolling every wall, pillar and painting. They had never seen such splendour and glory anywhere.
Finally, they reached the Sistine Chapel. While listening to Rick Steve’s audio guide, they sat mesmerised – wondering how Michelangelo painted the ceilings with such grandeur! The crowd didn’t bother them. They looked at each other after every painting while listening through their earphones – each knew exactly how the other felt; they didn’t have to express anything. He gazed at “The Last Judgement” fresco on the altar wall, especially wonderstruck by the expression of Christ painted so beautifully. It stuck in his memory as his favourite painting ever.