I never realized just how important walkability can be in a city. Living in the suburbs gets you used to driving all the time. It’s very rare that I walk anywhere aside from the taco shop on the corner. Stores just aren’t that close by. However, in a city like Rome, everywhere is walking distance because it’s so crowded. Having a vehicle in the city just seems like a big hassle. It was really nice to enjoy the freedom of travel on my two legs rather than behind a wheel.
Just a few hundred feet from our front door…
You would find two osterias, a craft beer shop, a liquor store, a pizza place and a grocery store. In the opposite direction was the piazza where people would gather every night to hang out and have a drink under the city lights. It was really interesting having such a tight integration of home and public space for that time. It’s just so different than my existence at home in Long Beach.
For years, I’ve secretly felt that places like Rome and Paris are for “basic” travelers. This was a huge reason why I ended up in Singapore when I studied abroad in 2008. I felt like everybody wanted the European travel experience and my individualistic mentality wouldn’t let me partake in that at the time.
Luckily, I’ve grown up quite a bit since then and I felt like I really experienced Rome at the right time in my life. Most of the trip was spent looking upwards at frescos and statues that 20-something year old me just wouldn’t appreciate. The amount of physical resources pumped into every basilica is intense. Marble on marble ceilings, huge organs overhanging off a balcony, floor panels worth more than my car.
One day we traveled outside the city to see the catacombs where Christians buried their dead including quite a few OG popes. The history of the city is deep, literally. I recently found out that modern day Rome is literally built on top of the ancient city. Underneath the city are labyrinth ruins that provide urban exploration unlike anywhere else on Earth. Crazy right?
This photo set didn’t really have a theme other than they were people and places that I found interesting while walking around the city. Enjoy.
If you go to Rome, you have to see Vatican City. It’s just pure amazing. If you pay 6€, you can climb something like 320 stairs to get to the top of the dome and see inside the church from above. That alone was worth the cost. However, if you hit a right on your way out, you can climb another couple hundred stairs to get the very top of the dome where you will find way too many tourists crammed inside a round chicken wire lookout point. Honestly, it felt a little dangerous and claustrophobic to be up there but it was so worth the view.