Friday, May 15, 2020

Footloose in Italy: Roaming Rome

Our villa in Rome

Our trip to Italy was to be our 40th anniversary trip, but it almost didn't happen. I procrastinated about renewing my passport, and when I finally sent the forms in, they went to the New Orleans office -- just before Katrina hit! When I inquired about my application I was told the papers were on the second floor of a building in downtown New Orleans. Unfortunately, the first floor was under water. That was only the beginning of troubles.

After many phone calls and much pulling of strings, my new passport arrived -- just before our departure date. Our airline reservations took us first to Frankfurt, Germany, where we were to transfer to Alitalia for the final leg of our trip to Rome. Perhaps it's just the relaxed Italian way of doing things, but our flight was many hours late. In fact, it was the middle of the night when we arrived. Taking a taxi to the villa where we had reservations, we found it locked up tight, with no one opening the gate or answering the phone.

What did we most enjoy about Rome?
Gelato, hands down!

Fortunately, our taxi driver knew of a villa that might be able to take us, even so late at night. It appeared our luck was finally changing, because we ended up in a lovely suite in a villa even nicer than the one we had booked.

After sleeping in a bit, we found that the villa also had a great dining room and breakfast was available! The only drawback was that we were on the outskirts of Rome and a 45-minute bus ride from the city center. But after querying the helpful staff about bus routes, etc., we were bravely off to see the city. 

Which bus? That bus?

On the bus

As a photographer in Rome I was like a mosquito in a nudist colony -- I knew what to do, but didn't know where to begin! 

Actually, I found it a bit overwhelming. There isn't anything in Rome that hasn't been photographed countless times, and my chances of making significant pictures in a few days visit were slim and none. Better photographers than I have devoted years to recording the city in all its moods and seasons. So I concentrated on photographing the people, while otherwise we made like tourists.

Doing the tourist thing:
Tossing Coins in the Trevi Fountain

Pretty college girls having fun at the Spanish Steps

We had thought our bad luck was behind us, but not quite yet, as it turned out. Our second evening in Rome I either had my pocket picked when we were surrounded by a large group of rowdy young people as we crowded into a bus, or I absent-mindedly left my wallet on the table at our restaurant near the Coliseum. In any case, I lost my credit cards and driver's license and we had to spend a good part of the next day on the phone with American Express. Louise was not happy about that, but I know she's forgiven me, because she occasionally reminds me that she has.

The Roman Soldier guarding the Coliseum
was very impressive . . .

Until you took a closer look at his sandals.

Rome was interesting, but I was not sorry when we boarded the train to the Cinque Terra. We will probably never have the opportunity to go back to Rome, but if we do, and with all due regard for the lovely villa where we stayed, the bus rides into town took up a lot of time. We will stay in the city center if there should be a next time.

(Photographs copyright David B. Jenkins and Louise D. Jenkins, 2020)

Soli Deo Gloria
For the glory of God alone

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