I won’t lie. I hyped up Rome in my head before I went to Rome, probably just a little too much. Remember that Disney movie Lizzie Mcguire? That movie that was anchored around a song “Hey Now, Hey Now, This is what dreams are made of~~~”. That song was a severe ear-worm throughout the Italy leg of my grad trip. It was so infectious, that all someone had to do was whisper “Hey now” and BAM. Stuck in yo’ head.
My memory of the movie was poor, but I vaguely remembered that it was filmed in Rome. I recalled something about the Trevi Fountain, the Coliseum and some gardens I subsequently found out was the Tivoli Gardens. I remembered this scene so vividly it shocked me how accurate my memory was when I rewatched the movie just a few days ago.
And when I was watching the show, I couldn’t help but exclaimed to the annoyance of my sister that Rome was so beautiful. So I was racking my brains, wondering why I had such a different experience in Rome. The weather was hot and cold like a Katy Perry song. It hailed. We were constantly fearful that we were going to get robbed. The food was sloshed in salt. (Alright, I’m probably making it sound worse than it was, but still.)
And then it hit me.
Rome is only beautiful when you have a soundtrack. Just imagine riding a red scooter across the cobbled streets of Rome, fighting traffic under the hot sun. Terrible. Then throw in a Vitamin C soundtrack and suddenly it’s “When in Rome, do as the Romans do”… Amirite, amirite?
Ah well, it’s just a theory anyway. And it definitely didn’t help that the Trevi Fountain, to my horror, was closed. Say what? I didn’t even get to reenact the iconic “uno dos tres” moment, flipping a coin with my back facing the fountain. Ok, actually I did because they preserved a really tiny makeshift glass bowl presumably filled with water from the fountain for people to make their wishes BUT IT STILL DOESN’T COUNT. Then again, tradition has it that you will return to Rome if you throw a coin into the fountain so, guess I didn’t really miss out on that one.
In the end, Rome finally became pleasant when I gave up chasing all the tourist sites, and decided to just walk the streets. This decision came after we walked 20 minutes to reach the Spanish Steps. Do you want to know how it looks like?
Here you go.
There. It is literally just a bunch of steps. There is nothing inherently Spanish about it. It’s not even humorous like if there were a bunch of Spanish people sitting on the steps. At least that would have been funny.
So here’s my advice to those who wish to visit Rome : Dedicate just one day to visit all these tourist attractions. Get it out of your system. At least you can return back home and tell your friends and family you’ve been to these sites. Then spend the next few days just wandering the streets. Pop into a cafe, chat with a friendly boss of a restaurant. Listen to the stunning talent the street buskers have to offer. Then you’ll finally understand why when you’re in Rome, you have to do as the Romans do.
Because that’s when you’ll see Rome.
White V-Neck T-Shirt from Uniqlo / Vest from ASOS / Black Skinnies from Bangkok / Tasseled Loafers from Dr Martens / Arm Candy from Punk Candy SG / Messenger Bag from ASOS / Aviators from RayBan