Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Roaming Rome

Snippets and images:

Everyone walks. It’s late at night and the streets are still clogged with pedestrians. Families out for an evening stroll; three generations strung along the narrow cobblestones; mom and dad pushing a stroller; toddler hanging onto mom’s coat; grandfather with black-scarved grandma on the crook of his arm, ambling along behind. Hordes of tourists – though not as many as in the summer, so I’m told – necks craning up, left, right. They can’t get enough (I can’t get enough); sights, sounds; one minute in a bright piazza, cameras flashing all round; next minute round the corner, a dark alley-like street with the only light coming from candles on the tables of the sidewalk cafes that seem to spring from every available doorway.

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Narrow streets (what would be deemed alleys or laneways at home), alternate with wide-open piazzas centred by fountains, obelisks, statues or any combination thereof.

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Sidewalk cafes are everywhere. It seems every restaurant is also a sidewalk café. Tiny ones tucked into six foot wide storefronts with only two tables outside; classy ones with a dozen white-clothed tables and black-suited waiters; family ones with mom and pop greeting, cooking and serving.

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Spanish Steps
Everyone seems to end up at the Spanish Steps. Sitting on the stairs, watching the masses of people - locals and tourists alike - swarming up and down the stairs, congregating at the bottom, you can't help but wonder where all these people come from. Groups of local teens cruise up and down, doing what groups of teens everywhere seem to do. They exude a mixture of “too-cool-to-notice-others” and a peacock “look-at-me” flamboyance.

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Night time Trevi Fountain:
You know you’re nearing the Trevi by the sound of shlooshing water, the buzz of voices; and the glow of lights and camera flashes. The nearer you get, the louder the sounds, until finally the dim, narrow side streets open onto the piazza.

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Tourists, locals; families; lovers co-mingle and jostle for the best position to toss coins over their shoulders; while loved ones angle for unobstructed camera shots. Cameras flash; the calls of “Senora, senora! Per favore!” as a gypsy hawker tries to get your attention in order to show you the intricacies of a bendable monkey squish-toy.


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You fight your way out of the crowds to find a quiet bistro for a latenight glass of wine, and finally to bed.

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Ciao!

1 comment:

Joy said...

Wonderful photos and descriptions! I want to go back and stay for several months in Italy and other parts of Europe I enjoyed so much 15 years ago on a whirlwind tour. I'm so glad you went and are sharing your enjoyment.