A Weekend Trip to Rome in Italy

Trying to write about a city as well-known as Rome isn't an easy task. Rome is an ancient 2800 years old, bursting full of incredible artwork, architectural masterpieces and globally influential culture. Described as the center of Europe at least during predominantly Catholic times about 500 years ago it wasn't given that majestic title for no reason.

From history books to travel guides, countless words describe this city. But that isn't the only difficulty. Even if I knew what to say or how to say it, I wouldn't know where to pinpoint the beginning of this trip.

Packed with ancient charm and modern charisma, the Eternal City looms romantically in the mind of virtually every traveler. A near-permanent fixture in tos-and-fros of the world for two and a half millennia, Rome’s allure is multifaceted. Few cities are so visibly entwined with their past, making a casual stroll a history lover’s dream. For the artistically inclined, a similar wander could pass by works by the likes of Michelangelo, Raphael, or Bernini.

For the rest, the dolce vita will slip under the skin of even the toughest nuts to crack. Alfresco cafes and pizzerias, charming trattorias, and evening aperitivos are the pillars supporting the laidback city life romanticized since Audrey Hepburn was whisked around by Gregory Peck on the back of a Vespa.

My trip to Italy began long before the captain's voice announced that in 15 minutes we would land at the Fiumicino Airport. But surely my trip to Rome began much earlier. In fact, it took me almost 30 years to reach a part of the map that had always been present inside me; almost 30 years to discover images, faces, smells, and impressions of the capital of a country that is deeply rooted in my dreams.

My Trip to Rome

Discovering the Roots of Our History

I flew to Rome, get to know Italy, visit the Vatican and St. Peter's Square, and see the roman Colosseum from the Palatine Hill. The weekend trip to Rome was not only a trip to discover the roots of our history but also a journey into the history of humanity. It is not only the setting for films by Federico Fellini and Woody Allen but also that of books, poems, dreams, and fantasies. Rome is the cradle of an entire symbolic universe. It is the starting point, the origin, and the place to which all roads lead.

Many people construct images of faraway places from books, the stories of other travelers, or the movies. I had imagined Rome lined with narrow alleys and countless pizzerias with tables on the streets and in the squares. I found these aspects, but I also discovered much more. I found the broken paths and cold water sources that only the Romans know how to use. I discovered a balcony with dried plants and a priest hosting a mass of 40,000 people.

I even found a subway station that houses a granite column dating back several centuries. I also find vestiges of the wolf that nurtured Romulus and Remus as well as a guy disguised as a Gladiator charging 10 Euros for a photo. I spotted a sign indicating that John Keats once lived in a nearby house, and I saw Trevi Fountain without Sophia Loren but with selfie sticks.

A Nostalgic Song

I ate the Arancini and drank a beer and a Negroni at a bar. I walked through Trastevere, cross the Tiber River, and watched the sunset from one of the hills. I saw domes, pigeons, and in the distance, the Coliseum between the surviving scaffolding.

Rome is a nostalgic song. It survives by reinventing itself, and I feel at home. Rome shows me everything I hoped to find. It is true that the city is a trap. Expectations often interfere when visiting a place, but Rome is an exception. It is much more colorful and much more romantic than I had imagined.

Rome is the origin. It is the city of all. Perhaps that is why talking about Rome is so easy. We all come from there. Visiting the Eternal City is not easy, even for the most experienced traveler, so check out what not to miss in Rome in this Rome city guide before you visit.

Benvenuto a Roma.
Kalyan Panja