ROME: ALL ROADS LEAD TO JOY

(lifestyle article)

In Godard’s ‘Breathless’ Jean-Laul Belmondo’s character says, ‘If you don’t like the sea… If you don’t like the mountains… If you don’t lik the city… Then get stuffed!’ This phrase could become a motto of those travelling around Italy, with the following addition: if you love life or want to fall in love with it, come to Rome.

It is in the capital of Italy that one can easily learn how to see the beauty in simple, everyday things and enjoy the expressiveness, calmness, and beauty of works of art, which you can find both in the Roman museums and right in the streets. The inspiration this city brings the traveller is invaluable. Thanks to Rome, the ability to enjoy life and create something beautiful will be as natural to you as breathing.

If it’s your first time in Rome, walk around a lot, grab an ice cream, have some wine, and try a typical appetizer called «fiori di zucca» — batter-fried zucchini blossoms stuffed with mozzarella and anchovies. And of course, don’t miss the classical must-visits that will instantly become your favourites, as Rome’s appeal is, in particular, in its ability to make any famous place your ‘own’, individual, as if it truly opened up and existed only for you, and became an important and inspiring part of your personal experience. Take Ponte Sant’Angelo that leads to the same name Castle, stop half-way on the bridge and enjoy the view of St. Peter’s Basilica’s dome — one of the largest in Europe. Michelangelo took part in its creation. Slow down in your tourist sprint, take a careful look at it, and you will definitely feel the beauty, expressiveness, power, tranquility, and harmony of this symbol of Rome.

Take a walk to the Trevi Fountain, one of Rome’s most beautiful monumental fountains. It has starred in many films, including La Dolce Vita by Federico Fellini, one of the greatest movies of all time. In the famous sensual scene, Anita Ekberg and Marcello Mastroianni take a midnight dip in it. Today it is no longer possible to repeat their romantic act because the law prohibits swimming in the fountains of Rome and the violation result in a fine of almost €500. But what remains unchanged is a tradition of throwing coins into the Trevi Fountain in order to return to the Eternal

City. The coins picked from the bottom (around one and a half million euros per year!) usually go to charity and restoration. Another must-visit is, of course, the Colosseum. Please bear in mind that at the ticket box you will be given a single ticket, which includes the entrance to the Colosseum itself, the Roman Forum and the Palatine Hill, one of the Seven Hills of Rome. And if every ancient stone of the Forum can be told about for hours, and at night it is interesting to see a laser reconstruction of its buildings and temples (you will need to get an additional ticket and 3D glasses for that), then, when visiting the Palatine, you can read in the shadow, watch the life of plants, stones, and cats of the Forum and find numerous spots for amazing photos. A single look at the Colosseum will immediately bring to life gladiator fights. Centuries have passed since those cruel times when the sweat of gladiators and blood of the animals wounded at the Colosseum were sold for cosmetic use.

The Plaza de España is a very cozy place. Although we have seen images of the Spanish Steps on postcards, photos and paintings thousands of times, it is when you get there and see the Fontana della Barcaccia with your own eyes, that the beauty becomes so perceivable, close and dear to you — you feel you can almost touch it, and that’s when you start understanding poets, artists and writers, including Gogol, Byron, Mandelshtam, and Goethe who have been inspired by this place for centuries. Besides, of the Plaza de España goes one of the most expensive streets, Via dei Condotti, with such boutiques as Dolce & Gabbana, Armani, Hermès, Cartier, Louis Vuitton, Fendi, Gucci, Chanel, Prada. Go up the Spanish Steps, turn left and reach the Monte Pincio Terrace offering breathtaking views of Rome, including Piazza del Popolo and St. Peter’s Basilica, which are especially spectacular at sunset.

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