The first time I left Sardinia I was twelve years old when my dad took me to Spain on my very first flight on a plane. Going to Rome was actually my very first trip by myself, or better, it was my very first trip without my parents. I was nineteen years old and my brother and I took the ferry to reach Civitavecchia and from there we jumped on the train to get to the capital. It took us about twelve hours, leaving Cagliari at 6pm and reaching the coast of Lazio at about 6am. We could chose to book a room to share with other people, as we could have a bed in a cabin for four in economy class or just get a first class cabin and be just the two of us, without having to sleep with strangers. My dad had bought the economy tickets for us but once on the ferry, my brother and I decided to live life at large and change our reservation to first class.
Now, the “Tirrenia” ferries, which used to be the only ones that connected the island to the mainland, where not what people consider “luxurious accommodations” not matter what class of service one chose, so even the first class cabins where pretty barren. The only difference with the economy class was a small bathroom inside the room, instead of being in the alley, and the fact that the personal on board would not wake you up at 4am to leave your room (so they could clean it before the arrival at the port) but let you sleep till the last minute before docking in Civitavecchia. The restaurant on the ferry served improbable food for the same price as the one of a well-know restaurant and even prices at the bar were outrageous. Talking about a rip-off! In any case, at the time, we didn’t have much choice. It was either that or the plane, which used to be quite expensive as Alitalia was the only one that flew to Rome and could charged whatever price they like (Rip-off number two!). So, it was a common thing for the people travelling with Tirrenia to pack something to eat and to drink and carried it on board to save few bucks. The ride across the Mediterranean was usually pretty smooth and very few times I felt seasick. And on the other hand, this time I was so excited to be on my own, that I didn’t care about anything else.
Rome is an interesting city: cosmopolitan, rich of history, beautiful, chaotic and loud. I remember a friend of mine from the capital that had never been to New York and once I had invited to visit me she told me she was scared as she imagined that Big Apple as a very chaotic place.
“Honey, since you live in Rome, New York would look like a piece of cake to you!”.
There is so much to see here that one week would not be enough to visit everything. Each corner is a piece of history, reminiscence of a glorious past that made this city the center of the world. “Each road leads to Rome” and “Roma Caput Mundi” are not just a saying. The Romans did build roads that from the capital took to all different parts of Italy and even reached Great Britain, the Pillars of Hercules, Mesopotamia and the Caspian Sea. They still exist nowadays, obviously improved and modernized but they still carry the same nave given to them during the Roman Empire.
We cannot miss a visit to the Colosseum, one of the most famous monuments of the city. We all have studied it in school and we have seen it in numerous movies but being here in person is a totally different feeling. It’s like going back in time and knowing that it has being standing here for two thousand years is quite impressive. It was used for gladiatorial contests and executions as well as re-enactment of battles and ceased to be used for entertainment during the medieval area. It was used then as a workshop, a fortress and a Christian shrine.
Today is one of the most visited places in the world and in 2007 has been included in the “New Seven Wonders of the World”.