Why I Love Rome!! A Travel Guide of Sorts!

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When we were living in Europe from 2006 to 2010 we had the wonderful opportunity to visit the city of Rome on several occasions.   There are many reasons I love this city and I will try to list them off as best I can.  If you ever get a chance to go there, I highly recommend it.  It is a magical place.

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  1. The Romans.  The modern-day Romans are an eclectic mix of people who embrace life and live it to it’s full.  There are lots of little places where the locals hang out, and those are the places to hang out too.  Just seeing how passionate they are about every little thing, like choosing what to eat with their coffee, picking vegetables in the markets or sorting out a traffic jam is entertaining street theatre.
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  2. The Streets.  Rome is an easy and wonderful city to get lost in.  Wander off the beaten path and you will see little shrines tucked away up on the corners of buildings dedicated to a saint, little shops that sell ecclesiastical equipment for churches, fountains with beautiful architecture and design and lovely little churches where you can wander in off the busy streets and have some quiet time.
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  3. The Cafes.  Romans love to sit and people watch just as much as I do.  The way they have their coffee and discuss their life is again a form of street theatre.  The hand gestures and way they discuss the littlest thing with such gusto is so enjoyable.
  4. The People Watching.  We have gone to Rome in summer and in winter and the people watching is fantastic.  Watching the Romans and the tourists intermingle is a social study in itself.
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  5. The Churches.  The Vatican is not to be missed for sure, but the little churches with their frescos and Byzantine and Gothic paintings are a treat not to be missed.  Many of these churches have small gift shops where you can get religious medals to commemorate your visit.
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  6. The Jucstaposition of Old with New.  At the base of the Spanish Steps there is a street with high-end fashion designers from Gucci to Prada. I love how an old beautiful architectural monument with the small fountain at its base is so close to sites of such expensive modern commercialism.  The Pantheon site has a sign next to it for the local McDonalds.  What a contrast!  Delightful and weird.
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  7. The Food.  What can I say, I love to eat, and so do the Romans, so Rome is a great place to try out Italian food as well as lots of other ethnicities. The Tripe with Tomato sauce. Yummy. We had some great Dim Sum on our first visit to Rome.  Yum.
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  8. The Gelato.  The first time we went to Rome it was well over 40 degrees C and in an effort to keep the girls motivated, we told them we would stop at as many gelato places as possible.  The sweet memory of blood orange gelato still haunts me.
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  9. The People in Restaurants.  The second time we went to Rome we went to a very small restaurant close to our hotel.  We sat at the back in front of a large mirror.  There was a table behind us that half of us could see directly and the other half in the mirror.  There was high drama of a love triangle, break ups and make ups all during dinner time.  The food was great, it was a price fix menu with only two choices for each course.  But the dinner theatre we were afforded was the best.
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  10. The Old Roman Ruins.  Of course we went to the Colleseum and the Forum and took a tour of both.  We also visited a number of other old Roman sites which just crop up around every turn.  It was wonderful to see old Roman walls being incorporated into relatively more modern buildings.  Romans accept and flaunt their history with pride.
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  11. The Fountains.  As I said in a previous point, the fountains are spectacular.  The Trevi fountain is not to be missed, but there are many small fountains around Rome which are a delight to the senses.  One street intersection that we found had a fountain dedicated to each of the four seasons on each corner of the street.  Each was beautiful on it’s own, but together it was a masterpiece.
  12. The Walking.  Rome is an easy city to walk from one side to the other with ease.  There are lots of cafes and restaurants and gelato places to nourish your body and so many beautiful sights to nourish your mind and soul.
  13. The Subway.  Rome has an excellent transit system so that if you want to get from the Terminus train station to the Vatican it is an easy trip.  You can buy a book of tickets or a day pass and just ride around all day.
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  14. The Open Top Tour Buses.  We took a walk on walk off bus tour around the city on our second trip and then used that bus to stop where ever we liked.  It gave us a quick tour around the first time describing what we were seeing and then the second time we just got off where we wanted to.  We had a bus schedule with us and knew when the bus would be coming around again.  You can buy a one, two or three-day pass and just ride the bus where ever it goes and get on and off at your leisure.
  15. The Smell.  I have found that each city we have visited has it’s own smell. Rome smells like sun baked stone, coffee and life to me.  It has it’s own vibrancy that smells like no other city I have ever been in.
  16. The Coffee.  Nothing tastes quite like the coffee in Rome.  They like it strong, hot and powerful enough to kick you in the seat of the pants.  It goes so well with a little sweet on the side.
  17. The Sounds.  I love the sound of Italian and even the street hawkers trying to sell you knock-off Gucci bags sound like music to me.  And the constant horn honking becomes beautiful because, heck, you are in Rome.
  18. The Festivals.  When we were there a festival to some Saint or another was always going on so you would wander into a square and there would be music and food and shopping all dedicated to that particular festival.  So colourful and alive.
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  19. The Pasta.  What can I say, for a gluten-sensitive, I will still painfully indulge in good pasta…mmmm…gnocchi with sage butter!  A dream dish.
  20. The City Itself.  It is just a magical and surreal place to be, with all that almost painfully vibrant life going on around you with the ruins of a previously vibrant culture right next door.  There is nothing quite like it.

I hope you enjoyed my rather random list of the things I love about Rome.  I may have repeated myself, as I often do, with things that I loved.  But when you fall in love with Rome, it is a life long love affair.  Cheers, Michele