Here's what stood out to me during my low-key week of roaming and resting in Roma:
St. Peter's Basilica
Piazza della Repubblica
Arch of Constantine
On my walking tour that first day I saw this mother and daughter sketching outside the Pantheon—the little girl was so cute:
While waiting in line at the Vatican later that morning I sketched a little in pencil until it started sprinkling, but never did finish that one. It wasn't until my fifth day in Roma that I finally felt like pulling out my watercolor book again:
While I was painting this one above, an old Italian man signaled at my book and we started talking—he in Italian, and me in Spanish/French. I asked him what his favorite food is, and he said he eats spaghetti every day! In variations—seafood, marinara, etc.—but the pasta type is always spaghetti.
The next day I sat on a bench in Plaza Navona, but instead of looking inwards towards the fountain, I sat facing a restaurant on the side of the plaza.
And then yesterday on my final full day here, my only to-do list item was to paint a card for someone:
Global Snail MailingAfter painting that restaurant in Plaza Navona, I asked someone to take my picture as I sent off another postcard.
During my stay here I've also started sending postcards via Touchnote, which has been fun. They'll arrive faster, and it's actually cheaper than buying a postcard + stamp here!
There are Indian guys all over selling selfie sticks and phone chargers. They come up to you and hold a selfie stick in your face, as a way of asking "Want to buy this?" Or sometimes they'll unenthusiastically say "Selfie stick?" There could be ten different guys selling selfie sticks at the same site, and they're at all the monuments, so it could be really annoying for some people who get asked over and over again by different sellers throughout the day at different locations. I didn't get asked too often, as I had my old point-and-shoot. And if you just shake your head "no" they'd turn away to someone else.
Some of these Indian guys sell squishy ball animals that make an animal sound when you throw it down on the ground. So to sell them, they just repeatedly throw them on the ground, especially when kids are passing by, hoping to get their attention.
Then there are African guys who sell jewelry. I think they're more clever because they smile and always start with "Hello! Where are you from?" If the person doesn't answer, they'll try different languages until they get it right. They have a small pleasant conversation, and then try to put a bracelet on you, or tell a guy to buy it for his girlfriend/wife (when couples are traveling together). And if you don't want the jewelry, they'll still ask for a euro. When you turn them down, they'll wish you "Good luck!" or something else just as nice. I've only ever seen positive interactions between these African sellers and tourists, and you usually can't escape a conversation with them, so I prefer their approach to selling.
There are lots of fountains in the city, and most had very amusing faces or scenes—both human and animal:
And this last one isn't from a fountain, but rather was spotted inside St. Peter's Basilica in the Vatican:
PastaFriday night I met up with Alessandro, a friend I met back in Montpellier in 2015 when we were in the same French class!
He picked me up at my hostel and then drove us to a restaurant he likes, which serves typical Roman food. Here are two of the three starters he ordered (pork something and the second is mozzarella):
And then we both had rigatoni carbonara, which was divine. (I sure hope I got the pasta type right!)
The only other time I ate out in Rome was on Monday for a late lunch (4:30pm) at a restaurant just outside of the hostel:
Otherwise it was grocery eating for me—Rome is expensive! (Especially coming from Napoli...) On my final day I made pasta for lunch and dinner, courtesy the "free" area in the kitchen where travelers leave stuff they didn't finish
Wander WalkingAs always, each day out basically consisted of wander walking.
This bird looked like he just owned that car:
On any old street, turn the corner, see something old and impressive:
Like this street, check this out: So I started walking towards these stairs (because that column looks interesting, right?)...
Got a little closer, and started to see a beautiful white palace-looking building as well...
... turns out I had wander-walked my way into the Forum!
It really was a nice surprise
Got to go inside this building for free, too!
From which there were many cool views:
I really loved the view with this angel:
I had seen Pinocchio a few times in the city, and it was only on the fifth or sixth day when it clicked: Pinocchio, Geppetto... by golly I think the story takes place in Italy!
Lots of confetti on the ground in certain parts
And so concludes my week in Rome. I've just arrived in Florence for a week, and that's as far as I have planned at the moment. Hope you are well!