musings on rome written to a new friend


I feel, in Rome, as if I am fully entered into the ancient-ness of the place.
I feel the history in my blood.
I feel almost Italian (with a mix of invading barbarian).

But I tread lightly in Italy.

I try to penetrate the history, the stories, but I tread lightly.
I don’t leave any trace.

I only steal moments.
I steal away people’s feelings in a one second snapshot.

I take more lingering pictures with my eyes.

I really don’t want to be the center of attention, I would rather fade into the background, and let people live around me.

I am greedy for their life spilling out.
Still as much a thief as I was as a child, after all.

This is why I love Naples.

I dread it a little, too.
I want to slap it around occasionally.
I want to remind it of its grit (as if it needs my reminder).
I want to shake it awake to its beauty and history and art.
I want it to not lose its charm, ever.

I don’t even care about the trash that much.
I love the darkest alleys.
I love that life is lived on the streets.
I love that the windows are always open.

I love listening to the strains of a language I cannot decipher because it always sounds like music to me that way.

That’s how I linger in churches so long…
I can’t understand the sermons so I can spend time looking at the art and thinking about pagans all day as if in a dream.

In Italy I am living in the dream and I don’t wake up again until I’m back home in the cold north.

I return to Italy like a lover who cannot stand the separation a moment longer. I want to feel the curves of familiar streets. I want to taste the crushed fruit of summer wine and feel that sun so different from mine. I want to see the stars again against the faint glow of the ruins.

7 thoughts on “musings on rome written to a new friend

    1. Ah, Lina, thank you!!! Glad I am not alone. I drank a good deal of Pinot Nero and emailed a European friend who is this incredible and interesting artist and I definitely became effusive. I don’t usually post my musings on here but this is how I used to write all the time. It really makes me feel this way, Italy, especially my favorite spots!

  1. Wow, you do love Rome don’t you? We lived there for about 20 years. And also from 1967 to 1969. It has changed tremendously, not always for the better. But it’s Always the Eternal City.

  2. Thank you for this new post. From being a small child I used to go to Rome regularly to stay with friends of my mother. I haven’t been back since my first child was born 23 years ago, and I miss my Rome of the 70s and 80s terribly. Your pictures, a little faded and antique-looking, bring back wonderful memories. Keep us posted.

  3. I loved your blog entry, Anais! I seemed like describing a dreamscape for me. I have not had the good luck to visit Rome! I will definitely someday! Thank you for the description – it added to the allure and mystery of the ancient place!

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