June 21, 2008
Rome. I don't like working here--charitably put, work-life balance is totally out of balance in some regions of Italy--but I love being in Rome. You can play all day long in and around the The Forum and Palatine Hill, where antiquities are still being found. You can stroll the City. There's this guy with a shop at the Piazza Navona--2000 years ago the Piazza was a Roman circus (i.e., track) you can still see if you try--who sells me these unique old prints, beautifully framed, that I bought for my father in Cincinnati and my alleged girlfriend in LA. I go to that shop on every trip. The Tiber River is gorgeous and, like the Seine in Paris, steeped in history, and a bit melancholy and mysterious.
Lots--much of it sad and unbearable--happened in western Europe, folks. The rivers remember it all.
Happily, many of the West's great ideas and institutions, including what became English law, were conceived or at least preserved by Rome. And the obvious comparison of Rome to America these days is both daunting and exciting: the Romans were competent if grandiose empire builders who were great "copiers". Rome got most of its better (if unrealized) instincts about government, and its best artistic and traditions, from a different nation. Americans got theirs from Europe--but old Rome's debt was to Greece.
Back to travel. You can't see, experience and "do" Rome on one trip--same thing with New York, London or Paris--and you shouldn't try. Here's what happens when you do. See at The Exploration of Undiscovered Worlds--Or Just Europe and Myself this recent post "Rome" by an anonymous traveler who otherwise seems to know what he/she is doing and just visited Rome and then Paris back-to-back. Our advice: Learn a little more about Rome first, and then "live in it", taking small bites.
Posted by JD Hull at June 21, 2008 12:57 AM