We understand Fellini very well. His words describing the eternal city (talking about his movie ‘Roma’) with the layers of decades, centuries both visible and hidden everywhere.
In ‘Roma,’ I wanted to get across the idea that underneath Rome today is ancient Rome. So close. I am always conscious of that, and it thrills me. Imagine being in a traffic jam at the Coliseum! Rome is the most wonderful movie set in the world… As was the case with many of my film ideas, it was inspired by a dream.
We enjoyed 5 dreamy, hot, romantic days in Rome. These are our 10 flasbacks.
1. Water is Life
One of the first things we start missing about home when abroad is fresh tap water. Rome is exeptional with providing drinkable water through fountains. In the summer heat it seems to be more than welcome for locals and tourists alike.
2. Cats and Caesar
Torre di Argentina is a weird square in the middle of the city buzz. You look at those ruins in the August heat, sweating and over heated, trying to imagine the sophisticated buildings that once stood here. And then you notice the smiling cats. The guys who are the kings & queens of the ruins now.
Largo di Torre Argentina is where Caesar was assassinated 44 B.C. Today, new rulers reign. They are the cats of Colonia Felina Torre Argentina, Torre Argentina Cat Sanctuary. In the corner of the Via Torre Argentina and Via Florida, take steps to the underground safe haven for abandoned felines.
In the cooler times of the day you can see more cats ruling their ancient temple ruins outside, too. All the hundreds of cats are spayed, neutered and vaccinated. The volunteers running the facility welcome visitors every day noon ’till 6 pm
We bought some toys and brought them to the cats. And gave them a lot of attention – they crave for some scratching and kindness having spent maybe years without any.
3. Squares Bring People Together
Rome is filled with lovely squares. Squares that live from sunrise ’till the early morning hours. Make sure to wander around daytime and after the sun sets. Do explore around the squares, follow the narrow streets and get lost. So much fun!
4. La Dolce Vita
Rome has inspired so many movies and made an impression to so many famous faces. We realized that in addition to other stars, once again – of all places- we’ll meet Frank Sinatra again. The street that once lured the rich & the famous, Via Veneto, still has an air of glamour. We stayed at the historical Hotel Ambasciatori Palace. The legendary Harry’s Bar is near, this is where Sinatra entertained behind the piano.
5. Rome was not built in a day
Some call them piles of stones, some live to them. This city is filled with ancient ruins, monuments, pillars, roads, sights. And the digging is never ending – this is the wet dream of archeologists who are into Roman history. Mesmerizing it is, mesmerizing.
6. Holy Smoke
The Vatican. It was a super hot day. We arrived by Metro and walked to the St. Peter’s Square to join our 13:00 group of the “pass the line to Vatican Museum & The Sistine Chapel”. We showed our tickets and got stickers to join the 13:00 group. We all were happily thinking we were looking at the lines we’d pass. The Vatican Museum is next to the St Peter’s.
Little did we know. WTF? We walked more than 20 minutes in the boiling heat to the other side of the square’s outer walls to enter the museum. Our sincere question is: why can’t you meet the groups here? This is insane!
Holy Smoke that was an unpleasant welcome to the Vatican.
We chose to visit the museums and Sistine Chapel this time and thousands of others had the same plans. Entrance was not the issue this time of the day, the crowds inside the about 7 km of galleries was. At times you’ll just flow onwards as you’ll have crowds in front and behind.
At some areas you could actually look at some pieces. Unbelievable beauty in the form of paintings, drawings, sculptures, woodwork, stonework, textiles. Endless hallways filled with art and curiosities. Popes have sure been busy collecting stuff.
Sistine Chapel, that we were exited to see, was a scary surprise. Guards shouting the crowds to shut up in Italian and in English. Pushing crowds in a pretty rude manner to the center of the chapel. As you can’t take photos here, the guards get somewhat physical also. We saw the famous frescos and left uninspired and sad.
7. Did someone say pasta?
8. Meet me at the church?
One of the best ways to beat the heat and to see art in Rome for free is heading to the endless churches.
9. Sightseeing bus is not unfashionable
It’s a fantastic way to get the overall picture of your destination, the sightseeing bus. We opted for a hop on/hop off one, but actually we rose the whole ride to choose where to head for our days in Rome.
10. Just exist. Look around. Feel the air. Breathe.