City breaks suit me. I am freelance and cannot really take off weeks away from my business. Instead, I have a weekend out here or there. My favourite town is Rome. Usually, I fly into the Aeroporto Leonardo da Vinci in Fiumicino and catch the shuttle train to Termini. I stay somewhere fairly central so that I do not waste time in travelling. After all, I only have a weekend, so there is no time to lose!
Well, last time we started with Colosseum and once again marvelled at this free standing, two thousand year old piece of architectural genius. Then it was the baroque splendours of the Trevi fountain, where I remembered to throw in a coin. This is supposed to ensure that you return to Rome. I have always thrown a coin in and so far it has always worked!
Afterwards we went to the Pantheon and marvelled at yet another piece of brilliance from the classical age. That so long ago men were able to envision and then build such an enormous dome is a staggering and humbling thought.
Rome is the city above all others that makes you think about history. So much has happened there over the last three thousand years and the evidence is all around us. For instance, after our trip to the Pantheon, we stopped off for some lunch at a very ordinary cafe on the Piazza del Campidoglio. As we ate our pasta, I admired the great equestrian statue of Marcus Aurelius. It is a replacement, of course. The real statue was moved up to the Capitoline Museum back in 1981, and it is one of the many good reasons for visiting that establishment. The statue has been around since AD 175 or thereabouts. The story goes that it survived the end of the empire and the Dark Ages only because people thought it was a statue of Constantine I, the man who made Christianity the official religion of the Empire.
What did we do after lunch and for the rest of the weekend? I am afraid that I don’t have enough time to tell you in detail. If I mention the Via Venuto, the Victor Emmanuel Monument, the Roman Forum and finally the Vatican, which is a city in itself, and where I went on a splendid walking tour and saw the Vatican Museums, the Sistine Chapel, Raphael’s rooms and St. Peter’s Basilica, then you will see that we made the most of our time. My wife even managed to get a little shopping done for the folks back home, and in the evenings, after an excellent dinner and some more Frascati and a little Grappa, we sat back and drank in the atmosphere. Rome truly is an adventures place that has going on for three thousand years.