“Three coins in a fountain
Each one seeking happiness
Thrown by three hopeful lovers
Which one will the fountain bless?”
These are the words from the song Three Coins In The Fountain written by Julie Styne and lyrics by Sammy Cahn. It was immortalized in the film by the same name. Toss a coin into Trevi foundation and you will return to Rome. Glad it’s true, because after my first visit to Rome I was not sure I wanted to return. I threw my coin in and walked away. Have you every been to a city and didn’t fall in love with it and the people. This was one of the few cities I didn’t envision living in. Oh sure, the food culture is top notch and the sites are marvelous. But I was meh about the city until, my second visit. We didn’t have the hustle and bustle of our first visit so we were able to experience Rome with a la Dolce Vita.
The second time was the charm. We ended up just strolling through the city. No agendas. We saw what we saw. No lists of what we must see, we did that the first time. This time we walked and strolled and held hands. Window shopped and people watched. It might have been the lack of the crowds and the cooler weather but it sure was nice. This time I could picture us living here. Picking artichokes at the market, drinking espressos and eating all the gelato I could find.
My first experience was filled with visiting all the major sights. Up early before the major crowds hit the tourist sites. Climbing the stairs to get a bird’s eye view of St. Peter’s square. And there were a lot of stairs! The view was well worth all the huffing and puffing. We were able to snag tickets to the first Friday of the night opening of the Vatican Museum. That was the best part of the trip (excluding the food and gelato). You end up with in the Sistine Chapel and you are able to really see the ceiling’s masterpiece painted by Michangelo. Less crowds but not able to take pictures of it.
We saw the major sites both in the day and at night. Well worth it. You get a different sense of presence. St. Peter’s Basilica, Castel St. Angelo, Pantheon, Plazza de Navona, the Coluseum, the gardens of the Borgese, the forum, lots of churches and lot of cobblestones (wear comfortable walking shoes).
The food, well what can I say that hasn’t already been said about it. Gelato, is a must. Try as many different flavors as possible. We found a organic gelato shop a couple of blocks from the Pantheon. It seems that every neighborhood has a small family run restaurant. No strolling far to find a meal. We found a nice little place in an alley, it actually was a street. It was a hazard to lean back in your chair if you had and outside table. We chatted with the Germans at the next table. We dined there a couple of times and it must have been good so did the priest. We were there both times we dined. Breakfasts were typical espresso and a cake. There were lots of cakes. You need to keep your strength up. Fresh tomatoes, olive oil, pastas and thick sauces make up the majority of the food groups. Next time I’ll make sure there is a food coffe and gelato tour on the itinerary and then once again, we’ll stroll and live the la Dolce Vita.