Now that I've been home and back at the grind for a bit, I thought I'd look back and see what lasting impressions I have been left with.
The Pantheon is quite possibly the most beautiful building I saw in Rome, or many other places, for that matter. I don't know what it was, but on this trip the Pantheon captivated me. It was my first stop the day I arrived and the last place I saw the night before I left. In a light mist, in bright sun and especially lit at night, it was just beautiful. I can't explain it, but looking at it gave me that feeling that I was truly somewhere special, ancient and mystical.
I saw some amazing art. Nothing in the world can prepare you to see the Sistine Chapel, Michelangelo's Moses or "his" hand gripping Prosperina's thigh, as if the marble was really flesh made of butter. I can close my eyes and bring myself back to each place: as Moses' eyes met mine and I swore he was about to speak but for the crowds that came between us; as I turned round the spiral that is Bernini's Rape of Proserpina and saw the hand that held her back and her hand that pushed away; as I was able to stare open-mouthed and wander without a care or bother for another soul, neck craned upwards at the most mind-blowingly beautiful ceiling in the world. And that is not to belittle the Caravaggios and other mounds and mounds of art to be had in the city. These are just the ones that still lull me to sleep, captivate my mind and rock my soul now that I'm home.
And the food...who can beat the most delectable gnocchi in gorgonzola sauce that just melted away in my mouth? Why even try to find better paparadelle alla pesto or bruschetta alla diavolo (with a salami spread). And the red wine, which I have probably mentioned before, was wonderful, even if it was on tap. I won't elaborate on the gelato...what more can be said about Bailey's flavored goodness?
Ruins are cool. To be walking through a neighborhood that seems pretty ordinary and then see the ruins of an ancient theater or a column embedded into an existing facade, that's pretty cool. You don't get that in Boston and I wonder if it ever gets old to Rome's inhabitants.
I'm already feeling the draw to go back. Despite my best efforts to cover as much ground as possible, I left so many stones unturned that I need to go back. But I'd still go back and have my gnocchi, see Moses and the Ceiling, see Proserpina and will her to get away, stumble upon the ruins and live La Dolce Vita, Roman Style.