It certainly seems like the time to be in Rome right now. On Friday night at the Le Grand Hotel bar, I sat next to a white linen clad Woody Harrelson, with a scruffy goatee, who was chatting with his wife and another couple laughing and enjoying a bottle of Chianti. Today (Sunday) while I was at the breathtaking Coliseum, the President of the People’s Republic of China, Hu Jintao, arrived in full motorcade for a private tour of the historic structure. Locals and tourists lined the streets hoping to catch a glimpse and snap a photo of the powerful political figure.
While it is super steamy hot in Rome right now, it certainly doesn’t take away from the majestic beauty of this city. Standing in front of the Forum or the Coliseum, it is hard not to be moved by the remanants of a civilization that once was, if even only there is a shard of a building or 1 remaining column. You can almost imagine the strapping gladiators fighting ferocious animals in the center of the Coliseum or ancient Romans sporting togas gathering at the Forum.
The grandiose detail of St. Peter’s Basilica in the Vatican City is without equal and is key in learning about how important it was to incorporate painstaking detail into such a special place of worship. Still used as a church, it was built upon the remains of the apostle St. Peter and is also the burial grounds for the Pope, including Pope John Paul II who passed quite recently in 2005 and has flowers and letters surrounding his tomb, which is well guarded by 2 security men.
Also impressive is the Campidoglio e Musei Capitolini where artifacts from various wars are housed as well as antiquated government papers. The building itself is amazing in that it sits very high and provides one of the most dramatic views of Rome. And at night it is one of the brightest structures in the city.
And let’s not forget the food-pasta and more pasta! It is so good-in taste, texture, and how it is cooked. Even the most basic tomato and basil pasta dish or margarita pizza (tomato, basil, mozzarella) is just so much better here, then pair it with a local Chianti or Montipulciano vino and you have something so tasty it is hard to not order seconds. One favorite family run restaurant, Re Degli Amici on Via del Corso by the Piazza di Spagna (Spanish Steps), served some of the best homemade pasta and the owner came over at sat at our table for some post dinner Limoncello, and Gallina Blanco close to Teatro Dell’Opera is well known for their thin crust pizza.
Also, the Fontana di Trevi is absolutely stunning and the tale is that if you make a wish by throwing a coin over your left shoulder into the fountain, you will return return to Rome. Can’t wait to comeback!