The wedding and the first night in Rome
On the 1st of June 2013 – our anniversary of meeting each other – my boyfriend proposed to me on the top of the Rockefeller Center in New York. A year after in 2014 all had fallen into place and we got married on the same date. The ceremony took place by the waterfront in Copenhagen with the nearest friends and family. The wedding and in fact the entire day was absolutely perfect. Head over heals in love we left the party (still in our wedding cloths) to swiftly fly to Rome to enjoy our honeymoon, in what I hoped would be the most romantic city in the world. And looking back I must say that my now beloved Roma fulfilled my every expectation and then some.
We landed in Fiumicino in the evening. We knew we were to be greeted in the airport by the driver that the hotel had arranged for us. So my first task as married woman was to find a man holding a sing with my new name, and although it sounds as a small thing it felt like an important event at the time. The luxury of choosing to pay for a driver instead of taking the public transportation proved to be a great choice, because it prolonged the fairytale feeling of the day.
Our B&B room at Maison D’art near the Pantheon was great and we had a window looking out over the roman rooftops. We chilled a little there grasping the fact that we had arrived in the eternal city. Standing on the french balcony I enjoyed the evening air and all the beautiful smells that were all around me coming from the great number of flowers all over (to be honest I had expected the normal big city stench).
Going out – still in our wedding outfit – we stopped by the Piè de Marmo the large (called giant in the guidebook, but that makes it sound too impressive) marble foot that located a few feet from the hotel. This may not be the most important monument (see it if you are nearby, but there is no need to plan for it), but which I for some reason really liked.
We then headed for the restaurant, where we were to eat our dinner. On the way we passed by Piazza della Minerva with the statue Elefantino, a puzzled and somewhat tired looking elephant with an obelisk on it’s back. And then we were suddenly going by Pantheon, this majestic but also tormented building that I have looked forward to seeing ever since I first heard about it in my childhood. Since it was late evening it was closed, so I had to settle with the columns, the fragments of façade and the overall felling of being near something so old and impressive.
We ate at ristorante Il Bacaro chosen because of its promise of romance. For primo Ole had his first seafood pasta with shrimps and I a great dish with melanzana (aubergine). Then some lovely stakes for secondo. It all felt very Roman in that small cars and Vespas flew by constantly in the narrow cobblestone streets in a romantic way. Afterwards we went for a stroll in the district observing for the first time the roman tradition of eating gelato ad midnight. After a last cooled glass of white wine – trying the local ones from Lazio – we went back to the B&B to rest after a long, fantastic and eventful day.
The second day
Waking the first morning in Rome I could hardly stay calm knowing that out there was my dream city ready for my explorations. I opened the shutters to marvel over the sun on the rooftops, but was instead met with the sight of smoke gliding down towards us from Il Vittoriano and filling the streets. Apart from the seagull family on the roof opposite whaling once in a while, the city seemed calm and quiet, making the ghostly smoke seem like a mirage. After a few minutes the smoke was gone and nothing had happened – leaving us rather puzzled.
The morning goal was to go to Piazza del Popolo, so we started out by finding Via del Corso. But as soon as we hit the street we could se that at the other end of it, where Il Vittoriano is, something was indeed happening. We went down there instead and joined the great number of people gathered there. It turned out they were looking at the beginning of a military parades on Piazza Venezia. We later found out that it was the roman celebration of Festa della Repubblica, which had not appeared in the guidebook’s list of events month by month, but instead had been hidden away on page 329 – really not that helpful Lonely Planet!.
We then went up Via del Corso. While walking down the rather busy street, I tried to image how it would have been when it was Via Flaminia and the street was filled with the roman legions marching home from battle. Again I was also overwhelmed by the lovely flowery odors filling even this these streets in Tridente.
We stopped by to see Colonna di Marco Aurelio on Piazza Colonna, a marvelous monument although I must admit that we ended up giving more attention to a hilarious seagull bathing in the piazza’s fountain.
Arriving at Piazza del Popolo I must admit I was rather underwhelmed. It is one of those places that had become mythical in my mind but seeing it I thought it was far from amazing. It did not help that some sort of constructions work was going on in the piazza making it hard to get an impression of the overall look of the place. Bernini’s Porta del Popolo was one of the most boring of its sort that I have ever seen and Chiesa di Santa Maria del Popolo was besides the two amazing Caravaggio paintings another disappointment. I did enjoy the elegant illusion of symmetry between Chiesa di Santa Maria dei Miracoli and Chiesa di Santa Maria in Montesanto, but the construction site again spoiled the view. But when letting go of the fantasy, I must admit it was great to see that the piazza was still being used.
We then went up to the Pincio Hill Garden to have our first glimpse of the roman skyline …