One Rome Location You Must Check Out! The Other You May Want To Keep Walking Past. Keeping Reading To See Why!
Like Paris, Rome took a few visits before I fell in love with the city. The first time I arrived I was overwhelmed with wanting to see all the historical buildings, museums, and churches that I forgot to actually enjoy Rome. Being in a new place isn’t always about having to see every cultural sight or queue for hours to view some ‘famous’ painting or sculpture.
What I learned to do on my next visit was to become a citizen of Rome and not a tourist. My friend Graham helped me achieve this. As he has frequented Rome many times, we didn’t need to ‘see’ the sights. For three days, we would leave our hotel and get lost in the bustle of Rome. Yes, we happened to pass the Parthenon, Colosseum and we threw an obligatory coin in the Trevi Fountain, but it was never our goal to see these places. It was always just happenstance.
The cool part of this trip was when random things occurred. The first being an unexpected, awesome view of an amazing historical sight and the other was when I left my ‘mark’ at one. Both are interesting stories, but one left a more lasting impression on my friend Graham.
The Aventine Keyhole in Rome
We were roaming without a clear direction when we happened upon Piazza dei Cavalieri di Malta in Aventine Hill. It was a serene night as the sun was setting over Rome. Many priests were walking through the Piazza and a groom was fixing the zipper on the back of his bride’s dress.
As Graham and I were both taking photos, we observed a few people lurking about around a nondescript door. It was faded gray, had two large silver door knockers and a peephole. Looked like a typical Roman door to me. However, when we saw people taking turns looking through the peephole, then smiling at each other in amazement, I was intrigued.
I stood in front of the door, the peephole at the perfect level to my eyes. I squinted my left eye, peered through with my right and what came into view was the most magical site of Rome – The dome of St Peters’ Basilica. With trees lined on either side of a path and the dome in the distance, it was a glorious sight. I tried to take a photo through the peephole, but it always came out blurry. A photographer arrived with his tripod which made it a lot easier to get the perfect shot. So I cheated. I took a photo of his camera screen. Can you blame me?
Another Kind Of Race Happened At Circus Maximus
After a delightful lunch of bucatini all’amatriciana, a side of spinach and a shared bottle of Chianti we went for a leisurely stroll, ending up at the Roman Colosseum. As I was taking photos, my tummy started to grumble, then it rumbled, then I became frantic. Graham mentioned that he remembered a cafe that was around the corner and at the end of the block. We started speed walking. As we turned the corner, to our left was Circus Maximus, a vast open area where Chariot Races took place. It was fitting, as I was like one of the Chariots gunning for the finish line.
Unfortunately, my finish line was too far ahead. I surveyed the large grass field and a few hundred meters away was a set of random stairs with bushes that flanked either side. I had no choice. I made a beeline for those bushes and let’s just say, thank god I was wearing a dress and that no one was around. As I walked back up the steps, with my head held low in embarrassment, my friend Graham was howling. He took my hand, we crossed the field and had me pose for an obligatory photo of me leaving my mark at a historical site. Although I have been back to Rome, I avoided that area. I am not ready to go back to the scene of my crime.