The stifling heat of Rome in August took my breath away. I exited the train station to the barking sounds of men yelling “American, American!” I promptly replied no, Im Canadian, and kept walking. Of course I’m not Canadian but for some reason people think that all Americans have money. As it turns out I was Canadian for most of my journey through Europe.
It was Frommer’s guide-book that pointed out a cheap place to stay, that would be walking distance to most everything in Rome. Frommer’s was right. The blocks of the ancient city were longer than I expected and the farther I walked the heavier my backpack became.
Several blocks later and a few stories up I settled into a closet sized room of a larger pensione. It didn’t matter so much, I wasn’t in Rome to stay in my room. It was in fact another stop on a journey of a life time. Never in a million years would I have thought this possible, but I’ve learned that everything is possible if you allow it.
I slept well that night and the next day took my handy little tourist map and found my way to the Vatican City. I was not allowed into the cathedral as my legs and arms were not covered. I had on shorts and a tank top, it was summer and the temperature reminded you of that every day.
I learned that according to the Catholic religion its shameful and or disrespectful to show the skin of your arms and legs inside the church. However it is ok to molest altar boys in church…hmmm, I wonder if they cover their arms and legs while doing so. I will never understand this but then again I don’t understand most religions, nor do I care to.
I had a few amazing days in Rome. The most memorable day will remain at the top of the list for special moments in Italy. I found my way to the Spanish Steps, climbed to the top and walked back down to take a drink from the fountain inspired by a sinking boat.
As I wandered the streets that morning I saw on my map there was another fountain within walking distance from the Spanish steps. I set off to find it and thought to myself, wandering the streets of Rome is even more magical that I would have expected. Its ancient and beautiful and I had never seen or felt anything like it in my life. I meandered down one of the streets and stumbled upon a sort of half arena type setting and then I looked at the other half and there it was, Fontana di Trevi.
The most magical fountain I have ever seen. The sun was peeking its way through buildings and showing off different aspects of the incredible sculpture and flowing water surrounding Oceanus (God of all water). I found a seat on the cement steps in front of the Trevi Fountain (tre vie meaning 3 roads) and watched and listened. It brought tears to my eyes. The beauty and sound of the water surrounding the largest Baroque fountain in the city.
The fountain was incredible in itself, but as I looked around, I noticed the artists around me creating sketches of the Baroque sculpture. They were sketching their own version of what Nicola Salvi and Pietro Bracci brought to life back in the 1700’s . It’s sad to know that Salvi died before it was completed and that’s where Bracci came in. There are plenty of names attached to the fountain, but those two men are not to be forgotten.
I watched and listened for the longest time. It was lunch time and I found myself unable to leave. I went and got a sandwich and soda then went back to my spot on the cement steps. I stayed at the fountain for hours until it really was time to go.
I had some memorable moments in Rome and will try not to shadow them by how the Roman men treat young foreign women. I will leave you with this though. Rome brought to me the very best and the very worst of things. By far it brought me the best fountain ever and it also brought me the most ill-mannered men I have ever come into contact with.
Picture it…Rome circa 1994…while sipping a cold beer in a taverna and old man makes a lewd gesture to a young American girl. Followed by said gesture, the young American girl promptly rises to the occasion and throws her cold beer on to the nasty old man and his wrinkly old penis. Of course he didn’t get to taste the beer or her, but maybe he will think again before making such a mistake. What a waste of a good beer.