January post-holidays is the perfect month to visit Italy. This means after Epifania, or January 6th. It’s not just that the big retail sales launch after this date, which in this era of global chain store hegemony does not interest me, or that you can get a four-star hotel for the price of a three-star, but super importantly that the selfie-obsessed mobs are absent. There are tourists year-round in Italy, but in January the phenomenon is at a tolerable level. Especially if, like me, you enjoy your museum or monument visit early in the day.

Rome, the Eternal City, did not disappoint. Yes, it is dirty, and thick with pickpockets, but the glorious monuments never cease to inspire awe. There are so many, everywhere you look. I hastened to one of my favorite spots, the Capitoline, from which you gaze over a vast tract of ancient columns comprising the Roman Forum, stony roads marked by triumphal arches and the path to the massive Colosseum. You can’t get much more ancient history than that.

Roman Forum from the Capitoline

I love how you could be on a dark, narrow street, where the sun is perpetually blocked by the angle, to suddenly emerge onto a sunny piazza dominated by the Pantheon, or a minor temple, or a Baroque fountain. The vistas are splendid at 360 degrees. Looking out from a park or terrace, the domes and spires of churches spanning a few centuries dot the skyline, and invite reveries of the distant past.

All that classical splendor happens before you enter the museums, or the churches harboring masterpieces by Bernini, Caravaggio and Raphael. You can never get to it all, and there’s always something newly excavated that becomes a must-see for a subsequent visit.

Bernini, The Abduction of Persephone,
at the Galleria Borghese

And there will be one. What I have described I had seen many times, and I thought I would never see Rome again. But a first cousin and I re-connected after many years, and I made a trip to see him and meet his family. I lingered, and visited the neighborhood I had lived in as a child, found the park with the view where my siblings and I would be taken for constitutional outings, walked through the Borghese gardens the family would visit on a Sunday afternoon.

The Borghese Gardens

Rome is drenched in history. In my case, a personal and ancestral one as well. But its eternality, the desire to return, is for everyone.

About kmazz

I spend as much time as possible pursuing my interests in global culture, photography, arts and politics.
This entry was posted in expat life, Italy and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

10 Responses to Roma

  1. artsmandalay says:

    Nice post, Kathleen. I didn’t know/forgot that you lived there. Katy

  2. A magnificent story of a must-do venture, Kathleen. And, of course, the photos accentuate the beauty as only you can. Best to you. Hugs, Jim

  3. Karen McKay says:

    Such a lovely post Kathleen! I remember similar feelings of antiquity and awe from when I visited as a teenager! So glad you were able to spend some time and enjoy the city. I tried to comment on the WordPress blog but I guess you can’t if you don’t have an acct and I guess I canceled mine.

  4. Ruth Miller says:

    Beautiful blog entry, Kathleen. Not only are your photos wonderful but so is your writing.

  5. Diane Foulds says:

    La citta eterna. It must be a photographer’s paradise in the winter months. Your images give it so much depth and dimension. Are you taking these the old-fashioned way, using a light meter and such? It sure looks that way!

  6. Mary Durante says:

    Thank you, Kathleen, for reminding me of the beauty of Rome, especially the Galleria Borghese. Those Berninis!

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