senātus populusque rōmānus.

when i imagined a soundtrack to my italian vacation i kind of had laura pausini or nek in mind. even though i have their cds in spanish, i envisioned them being even dreamier singing eye-talian.

i mean look at him! you don’t get more roman than that – he’s even singing in the coliseum!

unfortunately, nek was not the musical accent we experienced.

we had dozens of channels on our hotel tvs but i kept tuning in to mtv italia. for some reason i thought maybe it’d feature, oh, i don’t know, italian music. it did not. it did appear to be a time warp to the 90s. no doubt. alanis morissette. greenday. on repeat. the same songs played on the buses and in the stores. we tried not to let the crappy music selection interfere with our adventures.

on reflection of this trip, when asked what my favorite part was, i have to say the food. we visited the same little restaurant just up from our hotel two nights in a row. it was that good. the best gnocchi. the best fritti misti. the best everything! they did one very mysterious thing though, they had a potato chip appetizer option. and it was served on a fancy plate. i should try that the next time we have people over…

when the waitress found out it was christian’s birthday she brought us champagne. christian politely explained we don’t drink. so she brought him tiramisu. and then she charged us for it. happy birthday to you!

we stayed in an area christian knew well from serving his mission in rome. we even visited the same little market that he would.

every day we found an alimentari. christian asked the man behind the counter to make us panini. those little stores also zapped me right back to brazil.

we boarded our bus, passed through the porta pia, and stepped back in time.

the sites were overrun with tourists but it was still amazing to actually stand in the coliseum. or marvel at the pantheon. or see bernini’s work in unassuming piazzas.

my favorite spot in rome that day was tucked in a large garden.

we were sweating. and late. we ran the last stretch to make our ticket time at the galleria borghese. drinking from our water bottles filled from roman fountains we entered.

christian knew i loved caravaggio and this museum mansion was home to several of his works. but it was something else that wowed me that day. it took my breath away. it captured me. it made me unable to move.

despite the subject matter, bernini’s rape of persephone was spectacular. my humanity book did not do it justice. the marble was transformed to look alive. every detail was so human. so real. we made an extra loop back for one last look before leaving.

outside we sat on a park bench under a canopy of trees and listened to a busker play classical guitar. it was hard to leave that music and that garden. but we had a long trek back to our hotel.

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