I feel like there should be some sort of ceremony for writing about the city that the pun of my blog title was made from. Maybe it is only special to me though, so I’m just going to simply acknowledge the event, and leave it at that. I realized recently that not everyone gets the joke though, so I’ll quickly sum it up. “When in Rome…” is an expression in the states that basically means embrace your surroundings and try something new if it is presented. The word “roam” means to move about or travel aimlessly or in a unsystematic way, and it is pronounced the same way as Rome. My original title of the blog was “When in roam,” but when I decided to switch to an independent url, wheninroam.com was taken, and they wanted $2,000 for it. So I purchased lifeinroam.com instead.
The city Rome is the capitol of Italy, and is considered to be one of the birthplaces of Western Civilization. If the city was a person, I imagine it not like a wise elder, but something more than that. I imagine this city like the glowing being you see in movies when the main character is visited by someone “from the beyond” and how that person always has a calmness and a eternal wisdom about them. Rome has that characterization for me, I think this because the Roman empire was shockingly advanced. In my head it was similar to today’s society but sans computers. Also, the city went through events such like the Renaissance, huge events in human history that defined changes of thought and developments in art and science. Amazing shit, what are people going to remember about us hundreds of years from now? Probably something about wars for oil (which will seem insanely primitive by then) and glowing stones (iphones).
Jeff and I did what we usually do in a new city and just wandered around all day long. We spent two days in Rome and I really wanted to see the Sistine Chapel, but one day we got there after they had closed and the next day it was closed (Sunday). We will have to go some other time I suppose. More about that when I write about the Vatican City.
Rome is said to of been discovered by Romulus, who was one of the two boys raised by a female wolf, Romulus and Remus. The two brothers decided to build a city, but they came to a disagreement which made Romulus kill Remus. Rome was thus built by Romulus alone, but not in a day, of course.
We saw about 50 scooters in a herd on our walk.
Rome is known for being a romantic and artistic city, and there is definitely evidence to support that idea. Instead of walking you through the meanderings of Jeff and I, I’ll elaborate on some of Romes finer sights.
This is the Column of Marcus Aurelius, Columns were sometimes made to commemorate a victory at a battle, or to document someones life. The story of their life is wrapped around the column and shown in low-relief sculptures.
This is the Bridge of Angels. The bridge leads from the city center to the Vatican city and has changed over time. These angels have all been sculpted from Bernini’s studios (two by him, the others by assistants/students), and each hold a piece referring to the Passion. In it’s history, this bridge has collapsed from having too many people on it, killing 60. Also it used to be used to show bodies of people who had been executed during the 16th century (middle ages).
The Fountain of Neptune lies in the Piazza Navona, it has existed in some form since 1570 and the statues were finished in 1878. The statue in the middle is of the God Neptune fighting an octupus.
The Colosseum is probably what Rome is most famous for, and like the Eiffel Tower for Paris, it is what people think of when they think of Rome. The Colosseum is the largest Roman ampitheater ever created, and was first used for gladiator shows and animal hunts, as well as battle reenactments and other shows. In medieval times it was used as housing, workshops, and other various uses. For a certain time, the sand in the Colosseum was considered a religious souvenir of sorts because it was said to be stained with the blood of martyrs, which has since been unsupported by the Pope. The arch in front of the Colosseum is the Arch of Constantine and commemorates the victory of Constantine over Maxentius. In the 1960 Olympic games it was used as the finish line for the marathon event.
Soldiers were sent out to find a water source for Rome, and it is said that a young girl that they met along the way had guided them to the source that eventually led to the creation of the Trevi Fountain. Sometimes the fountain is referred to having virgin waters and this is why. A tradition associated with the Trevi fountain is that if you throw a coin over your left shoulder with your back facing the fountain, and you will be destined to return to Rome. The fountain collects about 3,000 euros a day, and this money is used to subsidize a grocery store for the poor. Though theft from the fountain is very common. When Jeff and I visited, there was easily 200 people sitting in the small square around the fountain.
After wandering around the first day, Jeff and I were exhausted due to lack of sleep and hours of walking, but we were also starving. We couldn’t stomach the idea of having Italian food again, so we searched for some Indian food, of which there were three restaurants in the whole city. We walked the mile to the restuarant, and were ecstatic for some butter masala, nan, and mango lassi’s. Just as a warning for the visitors of Italy, the food gets old quick.
And I’ll end with some funny pictures. Next stop is across the street to the Vatican.