Roma, perpetual city


8 September 2006, 21.48 CET

This past week we have been in Rome, staying with MD’s father and stepmother. They have been fabulous hosts, very generous with their time. It has been a great pleasure. Of special note they took us on a daytrip north of Rome, and on another daytrip south of Rome where we walked the Via Appia and visited a strange church complex.

This was my first time in Italy, and it is difficult to characterize the experience of being in a place about which I have read so much (and so little!). Rome is a place in which the layers and presences of several thousand of years of persons and events are so clearly visible and keenly felt. While one is there when one speaks one is keenly aware of the fine line but abosolute difference between profundity and cliché.

I keenly felt the brevity of life and also felt the pull of traditions which are not mine and yet to which I feel certain affinities, certain respect, and yet which at the same repel me. Rome is a city full of energy, vitality, virility, and living, and yet it is also a mausoleum on a scale heretofore unimaginable for me.

Foro Romano

View across the Foro Romano, towards the Coliseum, from the rooftop café of the Musei Capitolini.

Piazza Napoleone

Rooftop view from the Piazza Napoleone.


MD and her father with his dapper hat, in conversation, while leaving the Musei Capitolini.

Via del Corso

At the Piazza Venezia, looking down the Via del Corso.

Spanish Steps

Sunny afternoon at the Scalinata di Piazza di Spagna, or, as we called them, die Spanische Treppe.

Via Appia

A Sunday afternoon walk along the Via Appia.


From one of the myriads of interior courtyards in Central Rome.


MD’s father, at work at his Schreibtisch, not long before we departed by taxi (wondrous luxury!) for the airport.