Well, after six months, it’s finally here. Our last day in Italy. We’re stunned that it came upon us so fast. One minute we were frolicking in the Tuscan countryside and the next we were zipping our suitcases closed. In between we amassed a lifetime of memories and had an experience that I never dreamed possible.
Rome is an amazing place. The weather is great – not warm, but cool and crisp. If you’ve ever been to Rome in the summer, you know how very hot it can get. Now it’s very nice – jacket weather, but great for walking around and seeing the sights. But there are still a lot of tourists. It’s one of those places that will always have visitors because of what it is. It’s not like the summer, but there are still a lot of people here. I was surprised at how many people are in our hotel. I don’t know if it’s because we’ve been to Rome so many times or if it’s because at our core we are very sad, but we haven’t done any sightseeing. We’ve just strolled around with Millie – looked at the beautiful views, walked through Circus Maximus, and generally had a very pleasant day. Of course, we had lunch.
Meal planning here has been very important because it represents the last meals we will have in Italy. We went through several options for lunch and finally decided on the same restaurant we had dinner at last night. I know, that sounds ridiculous, but it’s so good and we wanted something unique to this area. Incidentally, as we were leaving the restaurant, a couple of guys who had dinner there last night were coming in for lunch. So we’re not the only ones to repeat the same restaurant. Rome has great seafood, and we haven’t had that a lot since we’ve been here, so that kind of drove our decision. We had a light lunch, by Italian standards. We shared Roman style artichokes that are braised and served in a delicious olive oily sauce. Then I had an appetizer of mussels, clams, and shrimp in a wonderful, fishy, spicy broth. Steve had marintated anchovies, fried baccala, and puntrarella salad. A couple of glasses of dry, crisp white wine and we were smiling again. Then another stroll around, and back to our balcony to relax before doing the final packing arrangement.
I love ending our trip in Rome. There is a part of me that would have liked to have stayed in Anghiari until the very last possible minute, but somehow it’s right that we put a little distance between us and Anghiari. Even though it’s all Italy, Anghiari seems very far away from Rome. The differences are obvious, but I like that we have this buffer before we head back to Atlanta. And we both love Rome so much. It’s a big, somewhat dirty city, but it’s such a wonderful place. It’s exciting and the history here is unimaginable. Almost everywhere you look there’s a ruin or an ancient stone wall to something that has long since crumbled. There’s something about Rome that makes you feel like a part of the world. You look at all that is here, imagine what was here, think about what has happened here, and you realize that people have always built, conquered, collapsed, and rejuvenated societies. We’re still doing it today, and most of us make the mistake of thinking we forging new ground when in fact we’re repeating the same cycle that has played out over thousands of years. Rome is timeless in that respect and it puts the old and the new right in your face to contemplate.
And so we head into our last night in Italy. Tomorrow night we’ll sleep in Atlanta and be reunited with friends and family. Everyone will speak the same language as us and we’ll be able to express ourselves clearly again. We are so thankful that we did this crazy thing – abandoned reason and set off on a six month adventure. We’ve got a lot to do when we get back, but one of them will be to start planning our next trip.