This post is about Rome, so here’s a little Resphigi
Man, this week was crazy. Quality blog posting was limited by two factors, you know, a wedding only seven days from TODAY, and the fact that one of my teeth decided to explode. To make it a little more busy, I had a sick day come out of nowhere on Thursday, because you know, I needed to be less productive. Anyhow, I’ve gotten a lot done on the honeymoon planning, including four nights in ROME.
Rome is one of those places that I always assumed I would go to when I was a little schoolboy. I clearly remember my fifth grade “extended learning program” class. We would be pulled out of our homeroom class every Thursday and spend the day doing lightly guided research on a topic, with a huge presentation on the topic at the end of the school year. That year our project was Ancient Rome. We learned a lot about the customs and culture, I remember being particularly riveted by the story of Pompeii and Herculaneum, the gladiators, the senate, and the similarities between what I knew about life in Ancient Rome and my own. Now…we’re going there!
Rome is the Eternal City
I love cliche names for cities. Paris: The City of Lights, New York: The Big Apple, Chicago: The Windy City, Penang: Pearl of the Orient, Seoul: Soul of Asia (ha!), but Rome has the best pet name of all. THE ETERNAL CITY. I mean, it kinda says it all, right? It’s been there since Aeneas escaped from Troy and Romulus and Remus decided that wolf’s milk was a perfectly fine substitution for human-mama-milk (*note to cooks, this is not a recommendation. Wolf’s milk is hard to obtain unless you live somewhere like Portland, OR, I imagine.) Even after Constantine moved the capital to Constantinople, it’s not like the city disappeared. It reemerged as the center of the HOLY Roman Empire, and the capital of that empire (which I assert still exists under the name “the Catholic Church”) just took to a religious role rather than political. Holy cow. Couple the age of the city with it’s place in the history of Western Civilization (it was kinda Western Civ. 2.0, if you think about it) and you have a place that is bound to be absolutely filled with cultural riches. Sounds like the kinda place I’d like to go on my honeymoon. Don’t worry, we’re heading down to Napoli afterwards so I can visit Pompeii and Herculaneum, too.
Things I want to See and Do in Rome
1. Visit the Colosseum
This is kinda like the archeological epicenter of testosterone-based dudebro culture. This is where it all went down. This is where Russell Crowe killed the emperor before dying in the sand and smooching his wife in Elysium. This is where The Hunger Games happened in real life (I imagine with comparable levels of profits if you adjust for inflation.) Additionally, I’d like to use my Ugly-American tourist card at this site to pick a fight over something trivial with Carolyn (be forewarned, sweetie) so that I can do this:
2. Paintings of Caravaggio
Rome and Italy were kinda the center for art and culture during the Renaissance, right? You knew that. You might not know that I was once an interim art-history instructor at a small for-profit university. I learned a LOT about art history during those few weeks. Ever since I’ve wanted to see a Caravaggio. Something about the contrast of his works really strikes me (and I think that was kinda the point.) I’m pretty sure there’s more than a few Caravaggios hanging in Rome, and I intend to see at least one of them. (Didn’t expect that for number two on this list, did you?)
3. The Roman Forum
The Roman Forum is like the ancient version of the Washington Mall. It’s where all the government buildings were, set on a huge square. It’s all ruins now, but I have this wild imagination that brings things like this to life. I think that standing there in the middle of such a historical space every bit of Latin I know will come flooding into my head, and I might say things like “Civis romanus sum” and that kind of thing. I adore ruins.
4. The Pantheon
No, not because it was the first church in Rome, but because it was once a place where all of the Roman Gods would receive tribute and such. I mean, a dude needs to pay his respects to Jupiter, Juno, Mars, and Mercury, right? Yeah. I thought so. Okay, so it is pretty fascinating that this building was just recycled into the first church in Rome. I guess that means the early Christians were pretty green (I bet they would have even believed in global climate change. Heh.)
5. St. Peter’s Square
I mean, duh.
6. The bottom of a cup of gelato
I LOVE ice cream. I love gelato. I bet gelato is better in Rome than it is anywhere in the U.S. or Korea or Japan or Thailand or Hong Kong or anywhere I’ve ever been in my life. It totally makes the list!
I’m not sure if you can tell from this post, but the days we’ll be spending in Rome next month are a few of the days on the trip that I’m most excited about. I can’t wait to dig into the roots of Western Civilization, and piles of pasta and (HELLO) GELATO. The Eternal City calls to me like a former boss on my cell phone: at all hours, redialing if it gets voice mail, and with no respect to my limited minutes…but you know what, this is one call I actually want to answer.