Straight from the UK in a short three hour Aerlingus flight, much different than the first class seating I’d had from JFK, we’d flown to Rome. Luckily we got there at night and had a chance to relax! I’d had the first good night’s sleep that I’d had in almost 48 hours in the fluffy down Hotel Merrion bed in Dublin. It would be the most modern of accommodations, (even though a centuries-old restored Georgian house) for the rest of my time in Europe.
We stayed in Hotel Portoghesi, the building across the street was the house Julia Roberts was supposed to temporarily dwell on her self-exploring journal, based on Elizabeth Gilbert’s bestseller Eat, Pray, Love.
The elevators in Italy (in every single hotel I stayed at throughout) can accommodate at most two people if lucky.
Being two New York ladies with our bags of shoes and my mother’s suitcase, which we referred to as the “green monster,” even one of us at time was pushing it, because one-body plus three bags is a more-than-occupied Italian elevator.
The key to the hotel was only one, in which case, you would have to leave it at the front door when you leave, otherwise would have to pay for its replacement.
We stayed in “La Torre,” the very top floor. We took the elevator to the third floor and then, according to the hotel clerk would have to climb “a couple of steps-a.”
“A couple of steps-a,” was an entire flight. With fresh bruises from this and no offer of help, it was my first impression that the Italians weren’t that accommodating. Trying to focus on the positives, I’m not even going to include my experience at Rome International Airport.
Wanting to wash off the flight, there was no bath tub, but a bidet, which I still can’t figure out how to properly sit or use. But was the European way.
We had a terrace with view that would melt your heart, and it had a lime tree. With a shortage of limes in the states was considering smuggling some back, but I’d figured best to not.
The first night there we had the classic Italian delicacies, Chianti and Gelato, and of course, pasta. These restaurants were right outside the streets of Rome which cars and scooters zoomed by, so we chose a place with a chain in which no cars were allowed, in Piazza de Navona, not far from our hotel.
My mother had a savory Amatriciana, which would become her favorite for the trip. The gnocchi I had was made with such texture that it melted in your mouth.
With what I’d seen so far, even with the most amazing food and wine, was that Italians (not only were beautiful, but SKINNY) How with all these carbs?
It was the portions. These plates of pasta were nothing like the family sized meals with heaps and heaps of the white hardened flour goodness that leaves you falling all over the place and in a food coma after. It was just the right amount.
The next day was a quick tour around Rome and the first place we hit was the Sant’Ignazio Church. This had a ceiling of optical illusions, in which the depth, although appearing 3-D, was fake. I photographed the way the sunlight came in that morning, and it was so moving, (yes, I cried.)
Our first major landmark was the Coliseum, in which the history marks a definite sight to have said to have seen…….once. But honestly people, if you don’t have that much time in Rome, there is SO MUCH to see. It is just a bunch of ruins and if there is a line as there was that day, I really would pass. But I am glad to have stood in a place where such historic, although barbaric events took place, such as the gladiators and medieval brutality.
The Vatican, as most have heard is just a containment of endless wonders. The Sistine Chapel is best saved until the end, as it is placed, because then I feel one wouldn’t appreciated all the pre-positioned sculptures, mosaics, and frescos.
Each mosaic includes thousands of tiles of marble, in which each color is a different cut of a mountain, possibly cuts of several different mountains. The meticulousness of this type of artwork, is probably the most amazing. Because these colors are all natural, no paints, no dyes, and no fabrics.
Raphael’s work didn’t just include optical illusion paintings like the ones we saw at Sant’Ignazio Church, but tapestries of these illusions. Just like the Book of Kells in Dublin, each must have taken an extensive amount of time. Where did one get the motivation, let alone the patience? In Italy, the art, even just a random building off the street, is a work of art.