Yes, I have been to Rome last summer. And I will tell you what happened there. I have always wanted to go to Rome so I got really excited when I was to choose the place where to go for summer vacation with our weird travelling group: my adventurous grandma and my cousin. So, Italy it is! Somewhere near Rome so that we can go see the city for one day.
We arrived and, I am not going to lie, we chose the traditional japanese-tourist-with-a-guide way. The worst thing about this way is that you walk like a herd of sheep, trying to avoid other groups of tourists and eagerly watching your guide´s umbrella(some carry a flag) to avoid getting lost. I mean, you will hear a lot of interesting stuff and so on but after two hours of walkking in 40°C temperature your only interest in the nearest toilet and some shade.
That reminds me: shade! A thing I noticed about Rome is that it has very little trees and green stuff. Ok, maybe I haven´t seen all of it but in parts I´ve been to there were very little trees. These are the only 9 trees I´ve seen (not counting the Vatican gardens) in the whole day. If you count more trees in the photo, congrats, you win the prize for best tree-counter, the prize is useless, but well…it is still something.
Anyway, I remember rome as a hell. And I don´t mean the experience, I mean the temperature. Because of its geographical setting (you know, the famous seven hills) it is incredibly hot in there. It was like being in a sauna all day. I was trying to be optimist, but I couldn´t bear the feeling that I am going to melt and the only remain of my existence is going to be a smelly puddle. So from that comes one advice for you: never, NEVER, go to Rome in July.
Aside of the heat and absence of healthly vegetation Rome is beautiful. But not magnificent. Why? Because of the tourists. Yeah, i know I myself was a tourist there so I have no right to complain…but you know a chinese tourist almost pushed me into Fontana di Trevi-the fountain from the movie Roman Holiday- when trying to get the best shot for his family album. (Nevertheless, I would not mind a little refreshment at that point.) Simply, tourists were everywhere and the city sort of lost the genius loci that they have come there for. And it you are imagining having a coffee in a little Italian café on one of the squares, I have to dissapoint you, because the thing that would most likely happen is that some tourist would smash(because of absence of space in the narrow streets) into your table and spill the coffee all over you. Yeah, that is the reality. (Sorry for the blurred photo. I am not a good photographer. It is just to give you the idea.)
After my observations in Rome our group moved to Vatican (which is…surprise surprise… also in Rome). Since I am not christian I did not have any religious or any outside-of-our-world experiences when seeing the st. Peter´s basilica but I have to admit the complex with the square and everything is monumental and breathtaking. While waiting in the line (queues everywhere, of course) to get to basilica we were imagining all the possible entrances to pope´s flat. If you ever get to know how pope enters his flat let me know, I am curious. Well, anyway, when we entered the Basilica I drifted away from my group and this gave things an interesting direction. I got a bit lost. That was the moment that I relized how HUGE the Basilica is. I did not have a phone and I could not find any friendly face, i had just a camera and a group of portuguese tourists which I for fun pretended to belong to for half an hour. And then I relized I have no idea how to get home. In such situations you start imagining various scenarios. The top one on my mind was that I would sell the camera and with the money start a new life in Rome. So in that state of mind I wandered around Vatican for hour and half thinking that I had already missed the bus home…and then…I saw a friendly face from our group! YES! I am saved. Just 10 minutes before our bus left! Not to mention, grandma was pretty mad. But it was quite s fun in the end. Like the whole trip to Rome. I definitely recommend it.