Returning to Rome

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            Oftentimes, when you visit a new place, you know you can’t take it all in on that first visit and so you start to log things into your mind that you will pursue when you come back. Sometimes you do come back and sometimes you never do.  Isn’t Rome full of that kind of lore?  In fact, isn’t that the deal with tossing a coin into Trevi Fountain?  That you will be assured of one day returning to Rome? 
            We were here just about a year ago with our sons, Gabe and Anton.  We had them jump on an airplane as soon as they were finished with finals at their university so they arrived, tired from their quarter of school and jet lagged, but they were glad to be with us and to be in Rome.  Because it’s expensive to accommodate 4 adults in Rome for a week, we rented an apartment in the neighborhood of Trastevere.  It is a beautiful residential area with plenty of great, small restaurants and artisan shops.  There are many, many piazzas in Trastevere, one of which was right outside our ground floor apartment.  The apartment was a little small and a little damp, but we all wanted to make it work.  Our first night, jet-lagged and desperate for sleep, we settled into our tolerable beds and slept well for a couple of hours. At midnight on the dot, we were all four awakened by what sounded like 300 partygoers in our living room.  They were actually not in our living room, but outside in the piazza, but it didn’t make much difference.  They remained there, getting drunker and louder until 3:00 AM when they dribbled away and we were allowed to fall back asleep. 
            We woke up the next morning almost wondering if it had actually happened or if we had dreamed it.  The piazza was deserted and showed no signs of carousing, but our bleary eyes confirmed that it had been a reality. 
            This exact pattern continued every night we were there.  Finally, midweek, we took the train to Perugia, Umbria just to get a good night’s sleep.  When the boys left at the end of the week, they felt like they had been in some kind of sleep deprivation torture.  They had colds and were just as happy to be going back to college where they could get some rest.  It was a bad way to start with Rome. 
            When I told Anton, last weekend, that we were going to Rome and staying at a hotel, he laughed, “Last time, we saw all the sites and got no sleep.  This time, you can just sleep.”  I’m not planning to just sleep, but it is a nice option to not feel pressured to keep up the tourist pace.  I am certainly not opposed to spending more time at the Vatican or the Coliseum at some point, but I am looking forward to enjoying a smaller bit of Roman life this weekend.  Our hotel, in fact, is near Trevi Fountain and there are many historical sites within walking distance.  Rather than hopping in a taxi and going all over the city, I’m going to treat Rome like it is the village of Trevi.  I want to see all of the different churches, the hidden gardens, the neighborhood artisan shops, and as always, eat at the restaurants, within walking distance.  And if I’m really lucky, there will be a big Saturday or Sunday market set up where I can browse to my heart’s content.  
            I can see from our balcony that some guys are setting up sound equipment in the piazza below. It all looks peaceful by day, but what might we be in for tonight?

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