It is 7am and dawn lifts off its grey blanket. Breakfast consists of fruits fresh enough to make you pucker and Eggs Carbonara – essentially a heart attack on a plate that Romans perform exceedingly well.
The tennis courts are clay –
–thick red brick that seizes your shoes and puffs into crimson clouds when you try to stop. We put in two hard hours this morning, sliding, grinding, flailing away like drunken fencers. To your average non-Mason, brick types probably seem relatively limited, but for anyone who’s performed semi-athletic feats on the grainy dust of American clay, the pleasure of sliding on this pillowy, moon-like surface is a whole different hedonistic experience.
And then the day began…
Via Appia is a cobblestone street built in 312 B.C. that runs from Rome to Southern Italy and played host to Caesars and Roman traders, not to mention the soldiers and rural folk that traipsed its surface.
Walking along the well-placed square stones, one gets a sense of power, of history , along with a strong urge to urinate—damn thing goes on forever!
Throughout Rome, water fountains abound, spitting out the purest form of liquid on Earth, its history of traveling through the aqueducts merely a footnote in the wellspring of architectural innovation. If this thing were in L.A., we’d probably turn up a nose, but here, you drop to a knee and imbibe like an AA attendee on a bender.
Two trains later, the Spanish Steps loom before us. Imagine three thousand people squeezing into a Mini-Cooper and you get the idea of sitting for a photo-op here. Not to say deodorant is absent here, but I’m willing to toss an extra fifty Euro into the pot if we can spread the word about its benefits. 138 steps to the peak can tire a weary athlete’s legs, but then, when in Rome….
Ten more minutes to Fontana di Trevi. The whole coin over the shoulder toss is too cliché to relate, but learning that dipping an aggressive hand into the water can generate some seriously nasty looks from nearby police officers (even if one’s intention was to feel the water and possible take a drink and not to pick up any loose coins– which amasses over 1,000,000 Euro annually – and certainly not to steal from the Roman public slush fund, and definitely without trying to piss off the local police force, and clearly not intending to stir any bad feelings from all of the bad-smelling French tourists and snap-happy Asian photographers and over-boisterous Americans and local Italians who just like to stare sadistically at anyone who dares to touch their precious fountain). Ok, yes I tossed a coin. Yes, I will be back to Rome as a result. Yes, the water is cold. No, I did not get arrested, but only because I can run really fast.
Plus, the two French ladies that bought me a rose in return for a photo with what I am assuming they thought was an American celebrity, didn’t hurt the ego.
It’s 5:30 am out here and the rest of this city is awakening to old-dime colored skies and a rain infused with thousands of years of Roman sweat. More about today’s walk through history tomorrow. A dopo!