Roman Digs

I save my photos on Google Photos. It’s free and it’s an easy way to keep my phone from clogging up with pictures. One of the things that Google does is feed me photos every day that I took X number of years ago. I enjoy seeing these photos because they are often pictures of our grandkids at much younger ages, or reminders of something fun we did in the past.

These past couple of weeks, Google has been reminding me of where we were 14 years ago: in Rome. Some of you might remember that I wrote a blog during our three-month European adventure. It was on that trip that I became familiar with blogging. To my surprise, people enjoyed reading about our travels. When our trip was over, an astounding number of people encouraged me to keep writing a blog. How could I? I answered them. My real life is extraordinarily boring.

Nevertheless, I started writing about my boring life in August of 2013, and I have been writing ever since. Who’d of thunk it?

Having said all of that, I thought I would repost my blog from June 27, 2008, while we were traveling in Rome. Such good memories…..

Our Neighborhood

I feel really grateful to have had two full weeks in Rome. There are an amazing number of things to see in this beautiful city. We have seen many of them before, but always in a bit of a rush so that we could get on to see the next thing. This time we had the luxury of taking our time and really looking at all of the beautiful art and artifacts, of noticing and looking at all of the old ruins and ancient walls that are spread all around the town. As you walk around town, it isn’t uncommon to see a small bit of ancient wall just sitting all by itself, or to be inside a building and see a piece of ancient wall or ancient floor exposed but covered up by glass. ‘Random ruins’ is what we have taken to calling them.

One of the things that surprised me here in Rome is the fact that they only have two metro lines – the red line and the blue line. The red line, which is the line we took almost all of the time, travels to many of the sights. But surprisingly, there are a number of sights that are very far from any metro lines, such as Piazza Navone. The reason for the rather abbreviated metro system is simple: every time they have begun digging for anything, including underground metro lines, they run into old Roman ruins. There are apparently still so many ruins and walls underground that they just don’t even want to start digging. Otherwise it becomes too much of a headache to go through all of the necessary channels to continue.

Thursday we decided that we simply didn’t have anything we wanted to see bad enough to put up with the heat. I had written a list of everything we wanted to see and do while here, and we checked off the last thing several days ago. That is, the last thing except one. I still want to see the Trevi Fountain at night, but I think we will do that Saturday night, our last night here. So we stayed inside and read all day long, except for a break to go to the grocery store.

So, let me tell you a little bit about our apartment and where we have been living for the past two weeks.

The view from our apartment

Our apartment, which the owners call Aurelia Den, is located on one of the main streets coming into Rome from the north. As such, we were concerned that it would be very noisy as the street on which it sits is extremely busy and noisy. Instead, since our apartment is in a building way off the road, we have found it to be quite quiet, at least as far as traffic noise. We do hear the sounds of children playing all around us, especially in the evening.

I think I mentioned before that there are no single family homes in Rome. Everyone lives in an apartment, which they may own or rent. So these communities are like neighborhoods back home. Some of the units, especially on the ground or top floors, might have extremely large patios, such as the one pictured here. This particular apartment is directly across from ours.

Our apartment development is gated, and each unit on the ground floor has a gated patio. So the complex is very safe and private. The night that Italy played Spain in soccer, I sat on our little balcony and watched the children play while their parents watched the game. Apparently many of the grandparents, or some sort of close relative, live right in this same development. The children were running around back and forth from apartment to apartment. It had the feel of My Big Fat Greek Wedding. While it seems particularly noisy to us, I pointed out to Bill that the kids really aren’t being any noisier than our grandkids are when they play outside in their own back yard. The difference is that the noise is bouncing off brick walls and cement.

Our apartment is right next to a Catholic Church (there are few other kinds of churches in Rome). So every morning at 7:50, the church bells ring, calling people to come to church. They ring again at 8 o’clock telling us that Mass has begun. The same thing happens again at 6:50 p.m. and 7 o’clock. I’ve grown used to hearing the bells wake me up in the morning.

It doesn’t take long for the Italians to accept you as a part of their community. There is an old man who walks throughout the development every day who now smiles and tells us buon giorno every morning. Yesterday he began a conversation with us, but unfortunately we were not able to understand since he spoke Italian. The maintenance man who takes such wonderful care of the facility has also taken to greeting us cheerily every time he sees us. We see him over at the restaurant across the street, and he is happy to see us every time.

Our apartment is the one with the little table and two chairs.

And, of course I have already mentioned how we have become regulars at the restaurant. Our friendly baker talks to us every morning in Italian, despite the fact that he knows by now that we speak no Italian. That fact never seems to faze him. He smiles and chats away. We smile and nod.

There are plusses and minuses living where we are staying in Rome. If we had chosen to stay in an apartment or hotel in the center of Rome, it would certainly have been a lot more convenient. When we wanted to go into the city from here, it was a 30- or 45-minute endeavor. Still, our main goal for this entire adventure has been to get to know the people of Italy and to get a flavor for the country. Since we were going to be here for two full weeks, we wanted to be living with the locals instead of in a hotel. We wanted to shop with the locals and eat with the locals.

Our apartment is the one with the table and two white chairs.

I hope that we find our place in Certaldo to be as happy a place for our last month in Italy. I’m confident we will.

One thought on “Roman Digs

  1. I loved reading this again. I love that you got to do this and am so thankful you took the time to share your experiences with us.

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