Forget about the celebrities and live your own love story with the Eternal City
Writing about Rome without becoming swamped with cliches is almost as difficult as squeezing the amazing variety of this city into a list of merely 10 points. Some of the cliches are must-do’s, of course: what would your instagram look like without that selfie of you on the Spanish Steps, in the Vatican, or in front of the Colosseum. But as soon as you tick off this sacred item on the list of every tourist, my advice to you is to take a different road and try to live your own Roman story.
And remember: do it in autumn, when the hordes with tourist guides in hands have already gone home. October and November are usually mild and temperatures rarely fall below 10 degrees. This is the time you can go on long walks and spend relaxing hours in the countless cafes while planning your 10 steps.
Rome and the fountains.
This is the city with the biggest number of fountains in the world – there are more than 2000 in it. Each year the local municipality collect over 1,5 mln euro only due to the coins that tourist throw in them (afterwards the money goes for charity). In fact, this is a tradition that dates back to the early 18th century when the German intellectuals traveling around the ancient capital of the world used to trow a coin behind their backs paying tribute to the gods of water. That custom gained world popularity in the 1950s due to the movie Tree coins in the fountain and the song with the same name sang by Frank Sinatra. So respect the tradition and dream about coming back. Or about visiting Paris as well. It is not by chance that the two cities have become twins under the slogan; “Only Paris is worthy of Rome: only Rome is worthy of Paris.”
Rome and the movies.
It is the perfect set-scene: whether we are talking about a tragedy like Gladiator or the most romantic love story as the on in Roman Holiday starring Audrey Hepburn and Gregory Peck. Everything in this noisy, colourful and vibrant city could be the first frame of memorable movie. Just remember the scene with the fountain in Felini’s Dolce Vita or Sorentino’s The Great Beauty. Rome has been an inspiration to cinema’s biggest artist, including Woody Allen who dedicated his To Rome with Love to the city. A quick check in the internet will help you touch the places where your favorite scenes where shot.
Rome of the small wonders.
In 2013, a men’s magazine named Pope Francis the best dressed man on the planet. Isn’t that a small wonder! The Vatican is in fact full of miracles: from the sheltered galleries of its museums to chance of getting a rare coin with the face of the pope. In 2000 the Vatican and Italy signed an agreement according to which the Pope’s country became allowed to use the euro as its official currency, If you fail to take a souvenir of this kind, send a post card. The post office in the Vatican is known as being the safest in the world. We couldn’t easily say the same for the local bank which has almost always been associated with scandals. However, there’s one thing that is certain: the Vatican respect the traditions. When using ATMs there, you are free to choose Latin as a language option.
Rome and fashion.
Although Milan has long ago taken away Rome’s crown as Europe’s capital of fashion, the Eternal City has its own exiting history that involves fashion’s top brands. Whereas Milan is merely consuming them, Rome is turning them into companies with a cause. The italian brands are constantly competing to prove that they care for the cultural heritage. Recently, Bvlgari restored the Spanish Steps under a project called Rome’s 138 favourites steps. The giant jeweller invested 1.5 mln euro in the restoration, which also market the 130th anniversary of the company. The impressive show that celebrated the end of the repair works became an art event of world scale. Besides, the brand financed the cleaning of the Baths of Carcalla, as wel as the removal of the graffiti from a number of cultural landmarks. Fendi, the fashion house, paid 2 mln euro to save the Trevi Fountain and Tod’s invested a significant amount in restoring the Coloseum. And speaking about the fashion…
Rome and the shopping.
In case you don’t know that, Rome is where the first shopping mall in the world was opened. It was build by Trajan, a Roman emperor. Trajan’s market was located on several floors and you can still see its remains.
Back to reality, Saddler’s Union (Via Margutta 11) is probably the most legendary shopping location. Leather bags, goods and accessories of the highest quality are sold here. The store was opened in 1957, and Audrey Hepburn, Jack Lemon, Ginni Agnelli, Jacqueline Onasis where among its frequent clients. Fashion’s top brands can be found in Tridente. Keep your walk along the shop windows in Via Condotti, where most of the leading brands are located, then enter the small sops on Via Borgognona, Via della Vite, Via Frattina, Via Vitoria, and finish on Via del Babuino, known for its sellers of antiquities.
- The inflight magazine Bulgaria on air 111/October 2019