Rome: a life-long love affair

How does one even start to define a love affair? According to most dictionaries, apart from its romantic connotations, a love affair is also an intense liking for an activity or place. But intense liking does not quite encompass the myriad feelings that engulf me whenever I walk through the cobbled streets of the Eternal City – a mixture of awe, curiosity, anticipation, nostalgia, happiness, excitement – the exact emotions we feel during a love affair.
Rome, Piazza della Rotonda

After 15 years, last week I was finally back in Rome for a much belated visit. You’d think that, by now, I’d be feeling a tad jaded at seeing the same sights. But that’s the thing with Rome, in spite of the familiarity, it feels as if I am seeing everything for the first time. After all these years, I can’t quite remember when it was exactly that I fell in love with Rome, but I must have been very young; and I couldn’t tell you what it was about it that laid such a spell on me. Maybe it was the fountains or maybe it was the ruins of the temples and theatres of the Imperial era. Or it could have been the art and architecture; the churches and the palaces; Bernini;  Michelangelo; the Caesars; the history; the food; la dolce vita. Whatever it was, and after five visits, the allure has not diminished. If anything, it is stronger and more complicated. That’s love, I suppose.
Rome, Piazza Navona
And now that I am over one thousand miles away, I can’t stop thinking about it.  Rome the sublime, with its palaces and fountains. Rome the urchin, rather rough around the edges and a bit grimy when you walk away from its famous monuments – now cleaned and restored so that they resemble luminous pearls, glowing even on the greyest of days. Rome the eternal, with its breath-taking churches and awe-inspiring art and sculptures. Rome of the Caesars, with its ruins constantly reminding us that it was once the capital of a vast and mighty empire. I am under no illusions. Rome’s wealth and imposing buildings are a product of the blood, sweat and tears of hundreds of thousands of slaves who were at the complete disposal of their cruel task-masters; and of its efficient, well-trained legions who mercilessly cut down anyone who got in the way of power-hungry emperors. History is what it is and ancient empires are a product of the age they existed in. Rome has seen war and destruction. It’s been pillaged, destroyed and vanquished, yet it has managed to rise from its ruins like the legendary phoenix – warts, blemishes, loveliness and all.
Rome, Piazza Navona
Rome has changed, of course. Its streets and squares are thronged with crowds and selfie sticks. You could say I was part of the crowd (sans selfie stick), just another tourist ‘seeing the sights’. But I like to believe that my visits to Rome are much more than that. That they are more of a longing of the heart that can only be assuaged by the simple act of being there. It’s love, you see; a very one-sided affair, I have to admit. But it’s definitely love.
Rome, Piazza della Rotonda
And that, my dears, was my ode to Rome. Next time I’ll write about something more useful – like what to see and where to eat but I just had to write my paean of praise first.
Photographed in Piazza della Rotonda & Piazza Navona, Rome (March 2018)
Mary said...

Hi Loree - lovely to read of your trip to Rome - awesome city - and the photos are great.

I mailed your little packet yesterday - just made it to the PO at closing time on my way to meet my daughter and her hubby for a pizza supper and family news catchup! Hopefully it will reach you in 10-14 days depending on Customs.

Will look forward to reading more about your visit - it's been many years since I was there!
Hugs - Mary

Debbie Nolan said...

Oh Loree - what a lovely tribute to Rome. Amazing all the historical events that have taken place in this beautiful city. I am so glad you shared your thoughts. Will be waiting to read more. In the meantime have a delightful weekend. Hugs!

Loree said...

Thank you Mary. I'll let you know as soon as I receive it.

Loree said...

Thank you Debbie. Glad you enjoyed it. There's so much to say about this beautiful city. I hope I do it justice with my words.

La Contessa said...

MY FEELINGS ARE THE SAME............its NEVER BORING and it's a CITY that NEVER SLEEPS!!!!!!!!

Cathy said...

Beautiful write-up Lorna. One who has visited understands the spell and allure of Rome, one who has not, has much to look forward to and enjoy.

Cobalt Violet said...

Ah!!!! I’m with you sister!!! I always tell people it’s my favorite city and they look at me funny ... if they’ve never been. It definitely goes beyond “favorite” ... love affair is the perfect way to put it. So happy for you that you went back. There’s nothing else like it!

Loree said...

It's special, that's for sure. Glad you enjoyed the read,

Loree said...

Thank you. There is certainly much to look forward to in Rome.

Loree said...

Yes, a love affair like no other :)

Kayni said...

I think Rome is one place I'll never forget. It's not my favorite city, but I have great memories there while doing my study abroad program. I love walking and I find art and history everywhere.

Loree said...

I'm always thinking of Rome. It really gets under my skin. I adore this city.

My Instagram

Sincerely, Loree. Theme by STS.