Enthralled by the beauty of Rome
Growing up as a kid in South America, I read many books and became enchanted with the rich history and culture of Italy and Vatican City. I was fascinated and enthralled by stories of the Romans and the renaissance era. Back then I thought this is a place of fantasy and beauty that one can only read about, and I never imagined that one day I would be fortunate enough to visit this hypnotic place. My dream became a reality last year, when I chose Rome to be my next vacation destination. It was sure to be an amazing family trip.
Excited to be visiting Rome, the Eternal City, we were picked up at the Rome airport by a pre-booked taxi driver who could not communicate in English. The drive to the hotel was an experience I will never forget. The taxi driver was a maniac as he ignored speed limits, zigged-zagged dangerously on the road to avoid other vehicles and motorcyclist. At times, I thought that we would never make it to the hotel alive, and images of headline news “Canadian family killed in Rome” flashed through my head during the entire drive. It was a horrific experience and I was relieved to jump out of that taxi when we arrived at the hotel never wanting to step foot in another taxi in Rome. I think that there should be laws to control reckless driving specifically for taxi drivers. One that is standardized and governed by an international body or agency. The purpose would be to ensure the safety and protect tourists in foreign countries. Have you ever experience such a terrifying taxi ride in a foreign city? Would love to hear your stories and your views on this… But that would be my only negative experience of this rich and cultured city.
I had planned to fully maximize our time to make sure that we visited Vatican City, Colloseum, take in a scenic tour of the city and do the tourist sightseeing of Trevi Fountain and Spanish Steps. On the first evening we arrived, I could not wait to enjoy the café experience. It is true of what I have heard that the lifestyle is so laid back and different to the busy and hectic life I live in Toronto. We leisurely enjoyed the café for hours – no one rushed us out or gave us the bill even though lots of customers were waiting to grab a seat. There were way too many choices of fresh pastries and food, very expensive but was worth it as the experience was more than I expected. We made sure that a visit to that café was a daily ritual while we were in Rome. Still fearful though from my previous taxi experience we walked almost everywhere and that turned out to be advantageous as I got the chance to intake the beautiful scenery and explore the cobblestone and narrow lanes with tall buildings that almost cover the sky. I was mesmerized by all the great and stunning architectural buildings and piazza squares around me. I can only imagine all the historic events that took place at the very spot back in the earlier centuries where I walked through and admired the brilliance of the roman architectures and designers who designed and built the monuments and provide such distinct characters to the buildings. I think they were truly talented and creative to have produced such pieces of work without the advance technologies that we have now.
I pre-booked a tour to the Vatican and Colloseum where we were picked from our hotel, had access to a guided tour that spoke English and was able to jump the queues at both attractions. After seeing the long queues at the gate, I was thankful that I made that decision to go with this guided tour. Inside the Vatican museum, I was awestruck with the amazing sculptures and the renaissance paintings from floor to ceiling. It is something out of a fantasy book, I couldn’t stop pondering how these great artists ever painted the ceilings with so much details and so flawless… just amazing. Below is a photo borrowed from Wikipedia Commons that shows one of my favourite scenes of the tour.
My vacation to Rome was truly a memorable experience and would definitely return again to explore more historic places that I could not fit in to my last visit.