We came to Italy in October 2006, on our honeymoon. Is it actually called a honeymoon, though, if you take the trip before the actual wedding (which was in November)? In any case, Rome was where we started and ended that trip and it is where we ended our recent trip.
My first impression is that Rome seems a lot more crowded this time. Are more people travelling in general? Or are more people travelling to Rome? In any case, the streets seem much more crowded with tourists this time — lots of tour groups as well as individual travellers/families. The crowds on the narrow sidewalks tend to get to me, make me tense. And what is with people who can’t figure out how to walk single file on a narrow passage, instead forcing others (us!) into the street? Bad tourists!
One day, we walked up to the forum/colosseum area. In 2006, we went into the colloseum, and thus didn’t feel compelled to do so this time. Thank goodness, given the crowd. I was also shocked to see that Rome is excavating right next to the forum for a new Metro station. It seems to me like it will spoil the view of the ancient ruins. The ancient ruins, which are now no longer free to walk though, evidently. Everything fenced and ticketed. Perhaps how they are raising money for the new station? In 2006, we had a lovely leisurely (and free) walk through the ruins. No longer.
Still we enjoyed our day of walking. In 2006, the Bernini fountain in Piazza Navona was under renovation. I was excited to see it this time, and it did not disappoint. Beautiful! On that piazza, we went into the church of St. Agnes in Agony, where I observed all the tourists taking photos despite the large mulit-language NO PHOTO sign, and where I lit a candle and thought of my mother, Agnes…who, incidently was referred to as St. Agnes in our family. I miss her and think she would have loved Rome in the days when she was young enough to walk long distances. I can picture her, young, in a pencil skirt, smoking a cigarette with her coffee in the piazza, much like Audrey Hepburn in Roman Holiday. Though my mom would have been too timid to get onto a Vespa with a strange guy. At least I think she would have.