One Sunday night sitting around the dinner table, my boyfriend’s Dad asked me if I preferred Paris or Rome. Always one for honesty, I responded with a nervous smile, “Paris,” knowing that probably wasn't the right answer in the eyes of an Italian. As I had imagined, that didn't go over so well. In fact, a couple years later my candid comment still hasn't been forgotten.
But the thing is, the first time I visited Rome I went with a somewhat biased party, also known as Corey. See, she had studied in Florence and had fallen in love with that particular city. So despite the fact that she had ventured to Rome twice previously, Florence had stolen her heart and Rome wasn't going to waver that feeling.
We traveled by train and once we arrived in Rome, we went in search of our hotel. We walked for two hours. Two hours in sweltering heat. Two hours walking in what seemed like circles. Two hours spent wandering, asking for directions multiple times in the little Italian we knew with absolutely no luck. Eventually we just plopped down on a curb to rest. And just as we sat down and sighed in relief from standing, an overhead pigeon took it upon himself to poop…on Corey. Looking back on this we always laugh because as Frank Reynolds says, “poop is funny,” but at the time I’m pretty sure we were anything but amused. (P.S. If you don’t know who Frank Reynolds is, you need to get your shit together - no pun intended – because you’re missing out).
When we got back on our feet determined to find our destination, we realized we were sitting on the corner of our hotel’s street, which was located right. next. to. the. train station. We dropped our stuff off in our room (which was super dinky), made a quick change of clothing, put our misadventure behind us and set off for the sites. We jammed everything (not even) into one, long, hot, sticky day filled with tourists and historical monuments. Then collapsed into bed, unable to attend our scheduled bar crawl due to exhaustion and lack of wanting to walk through the creep-infested train station in our “hot girl disguises”. (Again, if you don’t know what I’m referring to, look it up).
So there you go. That was the picture I held of “The Eternal City”. That is, until last weekend when my boyfriend and I headed to Rome, to celebrate our anniversary and in part, in hopes of changing my mind. Here are some highlights of the extraordinary Roman hot spots:
|[The Arch of Constantine]|
[The progression of Rome's takeover]
|[The Roman Forum - a plaza surrounded by the ruins of ancient government buildings at the center of the city]|
|[National Monument to Victor Emmanuel II, first king of a unified Italy]|
|[The Spanish Steps]|
|[The Trevi Fountain]|
|[A glimpse of the Vatican]|
|[Piazza del Popolo]|
|[This was the coolest thing that most people don't know about -- slightly outside the city center there is a little peephole positioned in the middle of a giant, locked door from which you can see St. Peter's Basilica]|
I had an entirely different experience this time, though I’ll refrain from stating my opinion on the original question (to some degree due to fear of being scolded by Italian friends).
But now I put the question to you, Paris or Rome? Which would you choose?
I'll add extra pictures from Rome to our Facebook page a little later as well so feel free to check those out!