travel

Summer in Europe, 2014: Farewell, Roma

(This is the sixth and final part of my six-part travel blog series. We’ve previously visited RomePompeiiPraguePadua/Venice, and Bologna.)

All things come to an end, including two-week vacations abroad, after more than half a year of planning.

For the final night, we indulged ourselves by booking a room at a nice hotel instead of a thrifty B&B, and by purchasing tickets to see Swan Lake.

Here’s the thing about higher-end hotels with picturesque views, though.

road to Hotel San Anselmo

road to Hotel San Anselmo

They assume you’re taking a taxi with your luggage, rather than relying on public transport.

We tried, but dragging our luggage uphill, for approximately forever, on a warm July day defeated us. Fortunately, we’d gotten close enough that the taxi cost wasn’t so bad. And we were greeted in the lobby with champagne flutes of orange juice. In that moment, it was perfectly obvious that nice hotels are always worth it.

Our room had lots of mirrors (but not on the ceiling).

above the bed

above the headboard

facing the bed

facing the bed

Opening the shutters was also a great decision.

view outside

view from the room

another angle

another angle

I liked the breakfast room’s lighting decor, which appeared to have made the same mistake as Icarus.

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post-modern expression of illumination

droopy wall sconce

droopy wall sconce

A blurry photo slightly outside the scheme:

entryway to one of the many dining alcoves

entryway to one of the many dining alcoves

When I return to Italy fabulously rich, I will stay at this hotel again.

We left early in the evening to put our last metro tickets to good use, heading to dinner and a show. The bus ride gave us one of our last chances to take in the ruins of Rome, principally with Trajan’s Market.

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statue of Marcus Cocceius Nerva Caesar Augustus

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Trajan’s Market

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statue of Julius Caesar

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nearing the end of Trajan’s Market on Via Alessandrina

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Santissimo Nome di Maria al Foro Traiano (or: The Church of the Most Holy Name of Mary at the Trajan Forum)

Of all the ticket-purchasing sites I used, LisTicket.com (the one favored by the Teatro dell’Opera de Roma) may win the award for Most Egregious Lack of Information Provided. (TrenItalia’s was just the most willfully contrary in refusing to accept money and pretending it misunderstood which trips I wanted.) Though I was able to select and confirm the section, row, and seat numbers for a particular show, at no point did it mention that those seats were not actually located inside the opera house. So we showed up ten minutes before the start of the show to find the doors locked, with no one in sight and no signs posted.

Fortunately, a British couple arrived in the same predicament, and they found out from a concierge of a nearby hotel that the ballet was being performed at the Baths of Caracalla. We piled into a taxi and arrived ten minutes after it had begun. Since the ballet continued for another three hours, until midnight, we didn’t fret about missing the start.

Though the night grew cooler as it got closer to midnight (less of a problem for the dancers than for the stationery audience), I couldn’t complain about the choice of venue.

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lights on the ruins of the Baths of Caracalla

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deeper into the night

To appreciate it even more, here are a few photos I did not take.

The next morning, the train to the airport gave us our final chance to appreciate the Italian scenery. I think they speak for themselves, as a closing.

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Maybe you have places closer to home that are equally pleasing to the eye, or maybe you have other views you prefer more. Whichever way, and however much Rome (or Italy, or Europe) exceeded or disappointed your expectations, it’s a privilege to be able to say, oh yes, Rome — I’ve been there.

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