I leave for Florence early tomorrow morning. Rome has been fabulous. Simply Fabulous.
Since I had already done the touristy bits I walked aimlessly today. For close to seven hours. From the Bocca della Verita and all around Trastevere. The Jewish Ghetto. Largo Arentina, where Ceaser was killed. It isn't open for humans, but is full of cats. I counted close to thirty!
There are small meandering cobbled streets. The river Tiber and bridges every few miles. The autumn colours can still be seen. In the afternoon people spill out into the Piazzas and the cafes surrounding them. The coffee here is the best.
I found my way back to the heart of Rome - Via del Corso and made my way to the Scala de Spagna. It's full of tourists and not the best place to people watch really. I heard too many American accents for my liking. Off the Spanish Steps is the Via dei Condotti. My favourite street in Rome. It has all the most fashionable, swanky designer shops. The display windows are gorgeous and the men shopping at Fendi, Gucci and Zegna the most beautiful ever. Terrible fun.
I also stumbled across Via Margutta in one of the by lanes from Via dei Condotti. For those poor souls who don't know, Gregory Peck's Joe Bradley in Roman Holiday lived at Via Margutta 51. It exists. But its only a door. Undergoing renovation to become some fancy museum or so.
Oh and the gelato here is amazing. I never thought I would say this but pistacchio gelato is fabulous. It is one the most popular flavour in Italy apparently. Along with cioccolato and nocciola (hazelnut). A mix of chocolate and pistacchio is heavenly. Really.
The Italians are wonderful as well. I take a long bus back to the suburbs and am often mistaken for an Italian. The only thing I can say is "Si, quaranto quatro" if someone asks me the bus number. They often start talking to me animatedly after I answer them and I keep saying "No Capito". I found very, very few Italian who can speak English. (this is unlike the French, who often can but don't). And when you tell them you can't speak their language they look at you with such pity! (Again, unlike the French, who would just look at you with disdain). Almost like they are saying you poor thing you don't know what you are missing.
It's really fun to hear them. And to watch them. On the bus people talk to each other like they have known each other for years. Though they have just met! (I can understand enough to make that out). And when their stop comes there are huge goodbyes. "Arrivederci, Ciao!!!"
Oh, and in all my time in Rome I kept looking for Vespas. And I couldn't spot even one. Not one Vespa in Rome. How terrible. Then today on the bus I saw one. A white Vespa parked in one tiny little road corner. It's a surprise I even spotted it. Its terrible that I was on the bus and couldn't take a photo. But really, there should be more Vespas in Rome. Some of the cars I spotted were interesting.
Roman traffic is really bad though. I kept wondering why it felt so weird. And then I realised because Italy is technically Europe. And its just weird to hear so much honking and such little regard for traffic rules. It is very much like India and the Italians really do remind me of Indians. You can apparently even bribe people to jump the line at the Vatican Museum!
Rome also has its own version of the changing of the guards. I just happened to be there. It was five minutes till the ceremony was to begin. Unlike their English counterparts however, the Italian guards were busy finishing their smokes. Someone called out to them to get in order and they shrugged it away. A couple of tourists came by and asked them what was going on and they shrugged at that as well! Sigh, it has been fabulous fun. Hope Tuscany is as well.
They really know how to live La Dolce Vita here.