An Ode to Rome.
Here is some late night (or early morning?) nonsense for you. Things in Rome are not too dissimilar from what we remember about normality. Sure, we have to wear masks, we have to respect social distancing, you can't go to restaurants or bar after 6pm, you can't even leave your home between 10pm and 6am, and yet taking any random stroll through this city makes you think that this is nothing but at a moment.
Yes, because the Eternal City has literally seen them all. New Yorkers might think that having some chap carelessly walking down Midtown Manhattan dressed as a giraffe or having their city reguraly destroyed in disaster films equals having seem them all - well, let me tell you... as much as I love New York it doesn't even get any close to what Rome has been through. I shall try to make this list as short as possible. Let me think... devastating fires, barbaric invasions, a succession of plagues and more invasions, the river flooding the town, city being sacked, city being occupied, mad rulers and licentious prelates. This city has seen them all.
A few days ago I had tea with someone whose Roman family goes back many generations, many indeed and he said something that made me think. "Corruption, drama, disaster - these are all things this old lady has seen - that is how I like to think of Rome, nothing happens she hasn't seen in almost three millenias and yet she is always here". She is always here lounging among its shining marbles; the derelict monuments of an imperial past and the sensual lines of the occasional Renaissance or Baroque church, with that unceasing dance its sacred river takes at its heart. This old lady had them all, but Rome is not a city of power, nor of grandeur - it is a city of decadence and romanticism, in the 19th century sense of the word. It seduces but we are mere guests here. Not good guests either, she is quite modern in that sense - she can take care of herself quite well.
While we go through some more hard times, we'd better remember that while we might go through various emotions, she will remain the stoic lady that she is - nothing shall change here. She will still glow in majestic decandence and we shall be thankful each time the sunset will come at the end of a hard day. She shall silently comfort us, the wisest Minerva and mother of all cities. All I can think is - how amazing to be surrounded by the great beauty all around. Grazie Signora. I might be from here, but day after day, year after year - she seems to stun me even more - I am just starting only now to fully grasp why she is truly Eternal. Appreciating Rome gives you emotions greater than love. AMOR in Latin is love, read it backwards and you get ROMA.
Tips for those in need of some beauty during Coronatide:
Thank you for reading this piece - if you find yourself stuck in this beautiful city with most museums and galleries closed due to the pandemic, remember that you can still visiti most churches and have a stroll around town. Art is everywhere here. Go to the Janiculum or Pincian Hills for a nice belvedere on the city, or get to Santa Maria del Popolo for some Renaissance beauty. For more, have a scroll through the Archive section of this website.