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Take an elevator ride on the “wedding cake” and see the Roman gods’ view of the Eternal City.
The ruins are laid out before you betwixt cupolas and Renaissance rooftops of villas and apartments like dollhouses.
Hints of the past stir some ancient feeling in you you never knew you possessed until you saw Rome from a mount.
The sign of greatness and the sign of a fall and all around you the beautiful noise of life that will not stop long enough to extinguish itself into the remains of dust it lives among.Rome lives among the shadows and the bones and the blood and the ghosts and the stone and the picked away marble because it is the heart and the remnants of the past are the nervous system which still courses with life from that heart center of a slowly dying immortal, entombed in the blessing and the curse of a memory which feels like a dream.
Church bells ring and ring through the city when the golden hour colors everything and there’s time for one last sun-glow walk and one last smile exchanged like kisses on the mouth, not the cheeks.
I will remember you even if the imprint of my self is swallowed up in the city of too many stories and too many lights and too many songs to find a memento mori for me in some nook or cranny when I’m gone.
And so I have Rome written on my soul should I be able to take it with me.
Bury me not in the earth of the place I love but burn my ashes to the sky so I may float like some augur of another time, a shadow to pass over a new face with her own love flashing on her face as she falls in love with the Roman sky at sunset, as she dreams to be remembered somewhere somehow in the eternal city, to leave her mark somewhere and to be known and felt by some future stranger intoxicated by the same love for the same city and the same ringing of bells and the orange becoming purple and the golden lamps flickering on and the smiles becoming kisses, not on the cheeks, but on the mouth.
I caught a ridiculously photogenic couple in Rome taking a selfie together on the pincian hill at sunset, with cupolas and Saint Peter’s behind them. Oh, to be young and beautiful and in love in Roma, what many in this world wouldn’t give for it. If only, I think to myself…
Persimmon trees bearing fruit with a view.
A little ruin and a little Renaissance (and rococo).
Dance of the tourists on the Villa Borghese’s Pincio overlooking the Piazza del Popolo.
A kissing dove and pigeon. White doves always strike me as a symbol of Ancient Rome, much like olive trees.
I like watching the beauty of Rome unfold before other people.
Down the Pincio, on the way to the Spanish Steps, there are views everywhere of cupolas up close and far away.
The endless flow of Roman water over stone and newly fallen leaves.
There’s always a sense of play and humor in the Villa Borghese park, especially in the Pincian hill section.
Walking along the Appian Way one is reminded why Rome will always be the eternal city, winter, spring, summer or autumn.
Rome is pieced together by fragments old and new; a broken clay pile of people who have lived and died, and are forgotten, rivaling the Monte Testaccio in size and obscurity.
Rome is the heaviness of time. It is the marks left on humanity. It is a walkable history book, forever unfolding its pages.
Rome is monuments of the big whigs leaving you breathless with their grand scale and an overwhelming rush of beauty.
‘Everyone is dead here’, the city whispers, in a voice softened against the bone-white marble of ruins.
The palatine lies silent under the stars. This is your one moment to catch your breath and savor Rome.
Try to stop time by breathing it in slowly. Hold it in, and take a sensory snapshot. Stand there, holding your breath, recording, feeling as immovable as a statue; a Henry James’ American willing a sacrifice to the pagan gods.
‘Just let me remember this. Let this enter me. The endlessness of it. The cobwebs. The broken stone. The bones. The dust. The pulse remaining somehow. Let me carry Rome where ever I go. Let it become a part of me. No, let me become a part of Rome. Another story never writ, another name unknown.’
Shots from Rome in October.
One fall afternoon in Naples the clouds snuck out from behind the Pantheon-like San Francesco di Paola Church as I stood in the main square in the sunshine.
Approaching the large, Bourbon Piazza del Plebiscito from the Santa Lucia waterfront district is one of the most dramatic views I’ve ever seen in a city. There is an old monastery on an ancient hill and from this vantage point it looks like the Certosa di San Martino is floating on clouds.
A closer look as you come upon the piazza.
Caffe Gambrinus (Oscar Wilde’s old haunt and one of my favorite cafe-bar-tearooms) and the gleaming dome of the Galleria Umberto I, a strikingly beautiful marble-covered shopping atrium.
All photographs shot in Naples, Italy October 2013 and were shot on velvia 35mm film slides by Rebecca Price Butler alovelettertorome.com firstname.lastname@example.org