So, I’m here. And let me begin by saying…THANK GOODNESS ROME IS NOT LOS ANGELES. I mean no offense to the golden coast, but this city is a million times better… and I get seasons (although I’m freezing)! The working title for this blog was was originally Escape from La La Land or Ha, Bye, but with the recent film (which I love), and perhaps too much sass, I thought it best to stay away from those and name it after my “free-spirited” and barefoot tendencies.
Boston is a lovely place full of American history, winding brick roads, and great sports teams; Go Pats! And, although I’ve never truly loved American history, because it seemed so domestic and boring, Boston has a charm connected to it’s history. But western history with mummies, and trojans, and royal castles always caught my attention. Boston’s history of a few hundred years is lovely, but it’s at a loss compared to the thousands of years Rome has imbedded in her cobble-stone streets and crumbling buildings.
I find myself in houses built by Nero, and underground race tracks hidden by the sediment of time. I’ve learned, among many things, that Rome is a lasagna. But rather than layers of pasta, cheese and sauce, the city is built in layers of time.
Current street level for Rome is approximately 25-40 feet above ancient street level, depending on which part of the city you are in. Areas near the Trevi fountain have steps leading down to ancient ruins underneath the surface. There, one can see a stream of water hailing from the last working aqueduct that still powers all roman fountains; it was created in 19 BC!
Aqua Virgo has lasted 2035 years and is still standing; it’s quite incredible that the ancient architecture has withstood all these years. One underground stream coming from Virgo supplies water to the Trevi fountain and runs through the very first social housing project created by Nero; parts of these old houses live underneath the street.
In 64 AD, Nero supposedly started the largest fire Rome has ever seen; it lasted six days, and he of course blamed it on the Christians, but most believed he began the fire because after half the city burned down he constructed his own enormous palace on top of the burnt land. Buying that amount of land would have been ridiculously expensive…but the fire made it a little too convenient.
Because houses were burned down during this time, many Roman became homeless and Nero supplied housing in certain corridors of the palace while other areas of the place were used for stores and water rooms.
Buildings throughout the city are layered on top of lost architecture and some on top of other buildings; churches are built on top of pagan temples visually showing the shift in the city’s main religion. Lasagna sounds even more than delicious when it involves the history of Rome, don’t you think?
But on a separate note, it’s simply beautiful. Sculptures by the famous Bernini dot the landscape, rolling “r’s” of the romantic language flow through the fresh air (no smog like LA) and the FOOD. Wow, just wow. I never thought a croissant could taste so good.
Hope the history lesson interests you as much as it did me.
Bri the barefoot traveler
Life Update: I have cut back from 15 shots of espresso to about 6 or 7 because the espresso here is soooooooo AMAZING that i try to take time to savor it’s magnificence.