The best present ever, Rome.

Confession time: I had never been to Rome before last week when my girlfriend invited me for a few days. I had been to Milan, Lake Cuomo, and Sicily, I spent a lot of time for work in Florence. But I had never been to Rome.

My mind was blown. The absolute beauty, even in the apparent anarchy and chaos of traffic, mopeds, rental scooters, and tourists. Every little piazza, every big piazza, every sculpture, every cobble stone street, one is surrounded by inebriating beauty.

We stayed at a cute and quirky hotel on Largo de Torre Argentina, where Julius Caesar was assassinated, and although Celia had been there before, she was still game to walk all over town to the Pantheon, Forum, Jewish neighborhood, Piazza Venezia, Colosseum, Trastevere, Isola Tiberina, Piazza Navona, Spanish Steps, Trevi, Villa Borghese, the Vatican, St. Peter’s, Piazza del Popolo, Castel St. Angelo, and church after church, you name it, we saw it!

We had delicious meals: my first real carbonara, my first real Jewish artichokes, amazing! Excellent coffee, great wines, an Aperol Spritz when evening started, lick your fingers pastries and gelato, you get the idea.

Two memorable experiences were seeing Velazquez’s Inocencio X at the Doria Pamphili Gallery and Michelangelo’s Pieta in St. Peter’s. Although I was a bit disappointed in the Sistine Chapel: the crowds and the noise make it difficult to enjoy, if on top of that the Vatican cops are yelling “Silenzio!!” and “Move along!!” on their megaphones, then the moment is totally lost, sad.

Overall, I am still in awe. My senses are still aglow with the beauty, tastes, and sounds. I can’t wait to go back, which I should because I dropped a coin in Trevi fountain.

My favorite? Michelangelo’s Pieta in St. Peter’s, but that might merit its own blog post.