My first trip to Rome was in 2008, twelve years ago– I’m just as in love with Rome as I was at first sight…though perhaps my love has mellowed. When I think of Rome now, it’s more as if Rome is an old friend with whom I have created some really great memories. However, when I talk to strangers about Rome, or people who’ve never been to Rome, I still feel the same passion and enthusiasm and I want them to feel it too. I want everyone to love Rome as much as I do.
I think the reason I fell so hard was because I didn’t expect to. It didn’t happen like a lightning bolt, but more like a strong steady rain that catches you a little off guard, and even though you take cover, you still end up drenched.
Good memories and good trips are made up of moments in time. A collection of great moments is like a photo album; with each turn of the page, another memory springs to mind, an experience that you will always remember.
My memories of Rome are so powerful I can actually see myself in Rome walking down the street, or at a specific piazza. I remember what time of day it was, what I was wearing, and most importantly, how I felt. Excited. Curious. Hopeful. Joyful.
6 Favorite Moments in Rome in No Particular Order
1. Stepping inside St. Peter’s Cathedral for the first time.
The power of the Roman Catholic Church is clearly evident here — even if you’re not Catholic or religious, it’s impressive!
2. Gazing upon the ruins of the Roman Forum from the Capitoline Hill at sunset.
Here you will see the ruins of what was once the most powerful country in the world! I never get enough of this view, and I always take friends there.
3. First ride on a scooter.
There’s something quintessentially Roman about this. You must do it! I ended up on the back of a scooter with a total stranger. Call me crazy. I am here to tell the tale, and obviously came through unscathed. You don’t have to be as daring as I was as now there are many companies that rent scooters. You can even go on scooter tours.
Eating Bucatini all’ Amatriciana.
This is a classic Roman dish. the sauce is made with tomatoes, black pepper, a bit of red pepper flake, and pork jowl or pancetta. I tried this on my first visit to Rome. Molto Italiano!
5. Drinking a spritz while standing at the bar, Italian style.
Drink whatever you like but do it the Italian way. If you stand at the bar you’re more likely to strike up a conversation with a local and you can practice your Italian. Note: only the tourists sit down.
6. Watch the sunrise on the Tiber River from Ponte Sant’ Angelo.
This is a bridge of great historical and religious significance — it’s worth it to get up early before the crowds arrive. Who knows, perhaps gazing upon Bernini’s sublime angels lining the bridge first thing in the morning may make you feel even closer to God.
Of course, I have many more memories but I can’t write about all of them here. The beauty of Rome is that it is always memorable. No matter where I stay, what I eat, or who I’m with , Rome makes me happy.
What are your most memorable moments in Rome?