First Thoughts on Rome

14 Apr

Although we arrived in Rome yesterday, today was our first day of exploring. We walked down the street to the Coliseum. The apartment buildings that lined the street reminded us of the French Quarter in New Orleans. Most of the windows had shutters and many had small balconies (like the one we have.) There doesn’t seem to be a pattern to how many balconies  may be on one building or even a pattern to which floors or which windows per floor. Ours is the only balcony on our building and there are only two more at the same level (2nd floor of 5) two buildings down.

In addition to the shutters and rosy pink and yellow buildings, many had small entrances to central court yards. Our building has the court yard but it is filled with building materials. They are working on one side of the building so there is scaffolding, cement mixer and blocks as well as rubble everywhere. We are very happy to have our room on the street side. There is traffic noise with the doors open to the balcony but it is an interesting sound.

The street is full of buses and cars but even more motorcycles and scooters of all sizes, makes and models. I find myself comparing them to the ones I have had. Harry admits to missing his bikes but neither of us would want to even rent a bicycle to ride here. The drivers do seem to weave in and out and travel almost bumper to bumper. Smart cars are very popular because they can park heading in like the scooters. Other cars have to parallel park but even then they are so close, I don’t know how they get out. I’m glad we live in a small town.

It is also impossible to ignore the extent of the graffiti. Every wall, rolling door and sign is covered with it. In Wenatchee that type would be called gang graffiti. I don’t know if that is true here but there is so much of it. We have yet to see any that would be the mark of a street artist. I think I’m happy not to read Italian. Every where you look there are crumbling ruins often surrounded with wire fencing. That seems to keep the graffiti to a minimum on the ruins themselves but the fences are hit hard.

We also visited a couple of small parks. They were littered with beer and wine bottles and general garbage. The grassy areas were mostly weeds and dirt with a few struggling flowers at the base of some of the trees.

So our first impressions of Rome are trash, graffiti and traffic around crumbling ruins. But the Coliseum and San Giovanni in Laterona are both impressive in very different ways.  I’ll describe them in detail later.

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