It is my last day in Italy for now. My last day in Rome. I’m not sure which direction to go in.
Do I return to ancient Rome to sit in the Forum and contemplate the murder of Caesar?
Or in the Coliseum and contemplate the murder of nearly 500,000 people? Or climb the Pallitine Hill and imagine what it means to be a Roman noble?
Do I try to find the Etruscans and imagine what this world was like when all the Carrera marble was still within the heart of the mountains and this was still the wild Tiber valley running among the seven hills? [David’s Womb]
Do I return to St. Peters to watch the Pope bless the masses that gather in the square and contemplate the rise of Christianity and its domination over paganism?
Do I try to find Shelley’s heart, which is buried somewhere in Rome separate from his poor heartless body?
Or do I choose one artist; to go sit with his paintings or sculptures to just bask in brilliant art? But which one would I choose? Caravaggio? Raphael?
Or my new-found love, Bernini, who could make marble look ethereal?
[Look at how delicate the hair and leaves are in this sculpture! I have a particular weakness for Daphne [see Daphne’s Song].
Or maybe just return to the Pantheon to watch the light play and sit in a space that transcends all the crowd that stands gawking below?
Which Rome will I visit today? The many layers of Rome, all of which are still evident today make the saying, “Roma: Il passato che non passa”, “Rome, the past which does not pass” so true. It can be overwhelming. And so maybe, I will just sample the wares of the competing gelato makers and then sit and sip Campari and let the multiple layers of Rome sift through my mind?