Too Many Things to See


Vital Choices for Finite Days


So, Where to Begin ...

I think an American in Rome pretty much has to begin by acknowledging the Fontana di Trevi (as in the 1954 romantic Technicolor blockbuster filmed here and there in Italy). "Make it mine" indeed. Whether such a plot is your thing—not mine, I don't think—the aura of mystery and wonder is here in spades. Which is ROMANCE in its essence, isn't it? Add inexhaustible evidences of meaningful history, and inevitable fascination begins.

Moving along to the bloody history every school child knows from reading about Spartacus or Quo Vadis (or at least seeing or hearing lurid details of such stuff in cinema).... The Coliseum in Rome surely carries gory shadows in its interior, down in the rooms and corridors where professional fighters as well as Christians pondered, each one, their fast-approaching mortal end.


Probably there was no greater repugnance to attending such life and death epics in one's Roman city, then, than now giving Johnny or Sally a quarter to see the Saturday morning cowboy show downtown, where friends will meet and will have something to talk about at school next week. It's safe and fun. Whoa.


Then the marketplace where everyday business was transacted, from sale of slaves or fabric or spices or meat, to land. Gossip was exchanged here, fashions were seen, and political rumors circulated. Think togas and tunics and sandals.


And everyone fluent in classical (or maybe semi-classical) Latin, discussing prices, parties, which gods were becoming popular and which ones passé.

The idea of renting my own bicycle, to ride along the Via Appia (shown) is a wish, of course. Once stretching for hundreds of kilometers from Rome more or less towards the southeast, this defining ancient roadway is still maintained as a vast, lush historical park, lined with crumbling monuments and undermined deep below with catacombs along the way, Surely the available bikes will have big, cushy tires. Cobbles are scenic but feel hard again and again. And again.


Speaking of catacombs ... There are many of these labyrinths of haphazard tunnels in the area — vast hallways with horizontal human-sized niches carved into each wall. I want to visit at least one of these, for awhile.


For some reason photographs and videos may not be taken inside these venerable shrines. Which rule I shall respect—although at the same time I will seek to purchase officially authorized visuals onsite.


Today there exist at least two Anglican churches in a short walking distance of my reserved apartment. Which I would very much like to attend and worship within, likely an evensong time: this is, after all, one of the actual main crossroads of the apostolic church. It is worth acknowledging while I am visiting here.


une fois encore