When the sun sets in Rome…
It seems natural that the first official post would pay tribute to my city of birth – which also happens to be the most beautiful place in the world (bias aside) – Rome.
Rome is perhaps the only city I never grow tired of. Every time I think I’ve exhausted my exploring options, I find one more trattoria nestled in a tiny alleyway, an isolated piazza marred by graffiti and old cigarette butts, an Ancient Roman pillar discretely wedged between two decrepit apartment buildings… In all of its chaotic beauty, this place is a fairy tale. I didn’t realize it could be possible to fall in love with a city, but Rome is the one.
As a tourist, you hustle around Rome in your awkward Segway (please… please don’t) checking off all the stunning attractions it has to offer: the Colosseum, the Pantheon, the Vatican, the famous Piazze. But Rome is a complex creature – she is, well, that dysfunctional Italian who never has her shit together, yet moves along through life just fine because she is so damn beautiful. And, like most complex beautiful creatures, you won’t really understand her until you see her in her element: at night.
Rome comes alive when the sun goes down. If you really want to feel her, understand her, flirt with her dare I say – here is a night walk you won’t forget:
Start with dinner by the Tiber River. During nice weather, you can dine on its banks. If that’s not an option, don’t be shy to bring your own food and sit on the edges of the bridge (no, I will not recommend a touristy restaurant with a “riverside view”). The best spot? Right by the Tiber Island, which houses an antique hospital and church – and hey, that’s where I was born!
Here you will find a breath-taking view of St. Peter’s Basilica and the famous Trastevere neighborhood.
Walk to the Colosseum, to see it for what it really is. Because no tourists.
Make your way to Campidoglio, a Piazza on top of the Capitoline Hill designed by Michelangelo himself. Here, on one of the Seven Hills of Rome, take a moment to silently mourn and appreciate the magnificence of what was once called an Empire and has now been eviscerated as simply, the Roman Forum.
Next, head to Piazza Navona. Odds are, it will be full of people and vendors trying to sell you useless crap, but all of that won’t matter when you see the Fontana dei Quattro Fiumi lighting up the night sky.
Your penultimate stop will be the Pantheon. There are three things that can make this place more impressive than it already is: the rotunda lighting up at noon, rain storming through the oculus, and watching the Pantheon being bathed by a full moon.
The grand finale is at Fontana di Trevi. The later you go, the better. Unfortunately, Trevi is plagued by herds of camera-happy tourists during daylight. Come here at 3 AM and you will find Rome, back to the fountain, throwing coins behind her shoulder and wishing for a few more hours of serenity.