Rome completely surprised us.
I was hoping something like that would happen. That my expectations would be shaken, that I would fall in love where I least expected it.
Traveling is such a personal and wondrous thing, so you're bound to get varied opinions and input when other people find out you're going somewhere they've been. We had a lot of responses to our Italy trip, and we heard a lot of the same. Florence is the best, Rome is the worst, eat as much gelato as you possibly can. We definitely gelato'd all day, every day, but we found that once all was said and done, it was Rome that had truly romanced us.
It's a beautiful city. It's bright and so full of life, the history is astounding, the food is life-changing. It's a city full of gems and secrets. It's a place for people-watching and wish-making and some of it is so familiar, you'd swear you had been there before -- and some of it is so impressive and surprising it'll take your breath away. Trajan's Column, The Trevi Fountain, Piazza Navona, The Sistine Chapel. Those were the things that truly took me by surprise.
I can definitely understand the general overwhelming feeling of Rome, the way it's tailored to tourists and can be too busy and hot and crowded, but we just found ourselves accepting it for what it was and demanding more. There were so many times when Dusty and I were quite literally giddy.
Like when we went into a little streetside pizza shop, and they sold pizza by the slice. They cut out a huge chunk of the pizza (mine was potato and rosemary), folded it up toppings-side-in, like a big pizza burrito, and wrapped it in paper. We walked outta that shop with our to-go pizza-folds, biting and chewing and smiling in-between, walking around Vatican City like we lived there.
Or when we were walking down little Roman alleyways, following our map, and suddenly we burst into this open plaza with bam, The Trevi Fountain, towering and sputtering and musical. We first came upon it at night, and the glow of the street lights and the sound of the water and the bundles of people hanging out there was truly exceptional. We hopped around the corner to grab gelato and came back to join the cool kids.
Or like that time we stumbled upon a bright yellow building with a little side alley of tables and chairs, and had the best pasta of our lives. Cacio e pepe, you stupid delight, you buttery, peppery goodness. They gave us fresh tomato bruschetta and little complimentary glasses of limoncello.
We went back on our last day, of course, just in case Da Francesco had been a dream.
I think I could write a love letter to every place I've traveled thus far, but Rome is just so packed full, it's heavy with sights and eats and meaning.
I suppose it's all in the details, and Rome had so many wonderful details.