I’ve historically been bad on providing conclusions for places I’ve traveled to. I stopped writing about Beijing half way through the summer abroad program, never even published a single Mexico story, didn’t write a single post about my parents’ visit to Taiwan in June 2014, and ended Green Island on an embarrassing note.
It’s time to change this habit, beginning with a proper concluding note on Rome.
Sure, Rome has lots of buildings that I’ve climbed up to the rooftop, as an [A]ssassin[’s Creed]. And it is old. What else can I share for those who have never visited?
1. Rome is really old.
This is an obvious, but hard-to-digest statement. I was disappointed with many sights, for structures were under renovation which took away from the authenticity of “ancient.”
Trevi Fountain, pictured above, cannot even be properly be seen behind the glass enclosure and scaffolding. The Colosseum from the outside looked like it would crumble without the scaffold support. Same goes for Roman Forum and other places.
I suppose such actions are necessary to preserve the original structure. These ruins, after all, are thousands of years old, and nobody wants to see replicas.
2. Food variety is limited.
Other than fine dining, which I did have a fair share of, the day-to-day food is rather bland. Pizzas are more about the crust rather than the toppings. Cheese and meat platters are popular, but I had difficulty ingesting the high sodium content. Italians refer to arugula as “rocket.”
Water in restaurants is not free, so I continually (but happily) drank sparking water. Breads and pastries are part of meals, high carb culture.
Breakfast culture is very interesting. Italians gather around the front counters of the small cafes and restaurants. They sip their coffee and eat their croissants while standing, conversing with the shop owners and with their friends. Very casual, great atmosphere.
On the contrary, lunch is the main meal, and folks are dining for two hours without regard to time. Most restaurants charge additional to sit down, versus grabbing items to-go.
3. Rome is small.
Take the size of Boston, San Francisco, or the Da’an and Xin’yi districts of Taipei. That’s the relative size of Old Rome and its immediate surroundings. This place is walkable in one full day. Although once a massive empire, the capital of the Roman Empire is small in scope.
4. You must visit Rome.
I suppose this is a regular theme of my blog, but I must reiterate: pictures cannot compare to the real deal, and Rome is a must-see for curious folks. I’ve alluded to many computer games, movies, and books I’ve read that became a reality upon visiting this place. Finally seeing these places in person is an unfathomable feeling; you cannot compare wild imaginations or cinematography to the real thing.
Take St. Peter’s Square, for example. Eurotrip (a terrible movie, don’t watch it kids) made this place seem huge, but the movie cannot give us an accurate context of size and scale. Even taking a panoramic shot cannot capture the entire square.
Three full days should be enough here. This can even include one day out of the city (in which I would recommend Tivoli). Any more than that, and you will experience day-to-day immersion, which is more personal preference.
- Scuba Diving in Kenting, Taiwan
- Half a day in Istanbul, Turkey
- Western Ukraine