Some friends are making their first trip to Rome – first trip to Italy, actually – at the beginning of May. I’m a bit envious, one’s first views of Rome can be magical!
(This photo is of the rear of the Pantheon from Piazza della Minerva, borrowed from Wikipedia)
They’re renting a lovely flat – with a rooftop terrace! -- from Natalia at Dolce Roma, and I’m sure they’ll have a fantastic time.
I remember very well my first trip to Rome, which was not a rip-roaring success.
This was in the days before I discovered Slow Travel, so I allowed a travel agent to do too much of my planning. That included finding me a relatively cheap but really tawdry hotel near the Termini. That was a big mistake – there were no good restaurants nearby and as this was my first solo trip in Europe, I was too nervous at night to wander very far.
As a result, I had the worst bout of food poisoning in my entire life the second night I was there. But it wasn’t all bad – I used it to wreak revenge on the horrible people in the next room. Which I heard very well through the paper-thin walls. Actually, they were so rowdy, getting into fights with other guests, that on the first night that I was there, the police actually had to be called. So I like to think that I disturbed them very well when I was sick!
For all of the problems, I was still enchanted by Rome. I remember how utterly gob-smacked I was by my first sight of the Pantheon.
It’s still a favourite site. The Pantheon, meaning "every god", was commissioned by Marcus Agrippa as a temple to all the gods of Ancient Rome, and rebuilt by Emperor Hadrian in about 126 AD
Here’s another view, this time the interior of the Pantheon in the 18th century, painted by Giovanni Paolo Panini.
And certainly, I learned a lot from that first trip. Most important of all, I learned to do my own planning!!!!