October 25, 2009

Roma… the pleasant but not-so-gorgeous ancient city…

Posted in English, Places, Reflections at 6:08 pm by Rou...

When we were first planning to the trip, our plan was to have it including Rome, Florence, and Venice… France was not in the plan at all… but for some “unknown” reason at that time, we failed to get an interview date through the Italian Embassy, and ended up having an appointment with the French one… and when we finally got our Visa, we were warned that sometimes (rare times) it is not really preferred to enter Italy directly while your schengen is through another European country… not wanting to take any risk, this left us with only one option, which is to include Paris in the trip, and hence forsake one of the other 3 cities of Italy… and so it was, and we let go of the dream of going to the open museum that Florence presents (I still wish to go there someday)…
 
Well… I love Italy… or let me rephrase… I used to adore Italy… Now I only… like it…
 
I was so much looking forward to seeing one of the founding and most powerful cities of the western civilizations… Rome… the city that has a history of more than 2 thousand years… the center of the Roman Empire… I was anticipating a breath of glorious history in every street… a scent of the ancient, medieval, renaissance, and even baroque eras in the good old city…
 
However, what I have seen was not much impressing… I would say that I was a bit disappointed… not that it’s an ugly place… no it wasn’t tab3an… but… something was missing… it’s not as beautiful as it appears in photos… not as stunning as my expectations for her were… I know that there are 2 main factors for my feeling… one of which was the fact that I have reached Rome after I had already fallen in love with the splendor of Paris, and Paris has this ability of erasing whatever you see afterwards… and the other is the fact that Italians are so much like Egyptians… their attitude… their disorganization… their loud voice… their way of dealing with each other and with tourists… they are even similar to Egyptians in terms of disrespect to traffic signs, especially the ones for pedestrian crossing … Drivers take “ghoraz” and “beyeksaro 3ala ba3d” , while their taxi drivers do not use fare… We even saw tissues seller at a stop light road intersection while on our way to Fiumicino airport…
 
In addition, I noticed that Rome is full of Egyptians, but funny enough that the category of Egyptians who are living there makes you wonder if their stay there is legal, or they are simply amongst those who perform illegal immigration… something that made me realize why it was almost impossible to get a visa interview through the Italian Embassy… seems they have had enough of us…
 
Anyways, aside from people’s attitude in Rome (both Italians and Egyptians), I wasn’t much impressed by many of what I have seen, the only place that really really captured my heart was the holy Vatican (but this is another post)…
 
But, believe it or not, I wasn’t much impressed, for instance, by one of the largest amphitheatres ever built in the Roman Empire and one of the greatest symbols of Rome… I’m talking about the “Colosseum”… I don’t know why I felt it’s not taken care of… just like we do with our great monuments… Same goes for the very famous “Spanish steps” and the “Trinita dei Monti” that were extremely crowded and not that clean to an extent that prevents you from enjoying its supposed beauty… this feeling invaded me lots of times while watching other sites in Rome only with the exception of its ancient part and historic center, which I believe is a UNESCO world heritage site…
 
However I must say that there was a good side of the story too…
Walking around in some of Roma’s famous streets that are beautifully covered with amazing trees from both sideways, and strolling around in its beautiful squares that are often – if not always – decorated with obelisks such as “Piazza Navona”, “Piazza di Spagna”, “Piazza del Popolo”, and “Piazza Venezia” was one good exposure to the ancient city, that gives you the opportunity to foretaste some of its hidden beauty…
 
Staring long at the largest Baroque fountain in Rome; the magnificent Fontana di Trevi, and following its traditional legend of throwing a coin into the fountain with my right hand over my left shoulder as an assurance of a safe return to it was another good experience that helped in giving me the taste of Rome as it looks like in my dreams…
 
Spending some aimless time in the very famous “Villa Borghese”, which is one of the notable green spaces and Public Parks in Rome, was a good choice… The park is huge and greenery is everywhere, and the view from its top terrace to the square below it was quite amazing…
 
What I felt is that… Rome… is a pleasant city… but its people are not as beautiful as its glory… It so much reminded me of Cairo in terms of the fact that it can be a LOT better than how it looks like…
 
That was for Roma… As for the amazing Vatican… this is another story…
 
Rou…
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