Always looking down and all I see..
Roma oh Roma, where do I even begin. Rome was my first Italian destination and boy was I excited, amazed, in awe and also disappointed – let me tell you why.
Naturally, I was very excited to visit Rome, or any other part of Italy to begin with. I have been dreaming of visiting Italy since I was young and when I had the chance, I was so glad to tick it off my list. I mean, pizza, pasta and gelato all day long sounds perfect to me! I was always under the impression that Europe was well developed and advanced, not forgetting rich in history and culture. European men would be tall, blue-eyed, maybe blonde and always in a suit! I swear I have watched one too many movies which fogged my vision and planted that narrative in my mind.
Here’s the beautiful side of Rome in snapshots:
- a rectangular forum surrounded by the ruins of several important ancient government buildings in the city center.
- the most iconic ancient Roman gladiatorial arena.
Arch Of Titus
- the most ancient part of Rome.
St. Peter’s Basilica
- the world largest church and the center of Christianity.
Such a pity I didn’t get to go into the Sistine Chapel or Vatican City because luck has it, it was closed because it’s a public holiday & weekend when I was there.
To be very honest, the central part of Rome is very photo worthy. Everything is ancient, beautiful and has character. I was in awe the entire day, soaking in what a cultured individual would have enjoyed. No matter what angle I took it from, it would still turn out beautiful in pictures – very photogenic I must say!
There are so many more pictures I could have included because every other building in central Rome was beautiful architecture wise. Even if you don’t know what building it is, you’d still think it is Instagram-worthy and probably also tag a random location to complement the whole pretentious life you’re displaying.
Beautiful ain’t it?
Now here comes the ugly side of it which nobody tells you unless they’re your friends. In this case, I’d like to just put it out there and be real. As you move away from the tourist spots which are all located in the center of the city, you’ll begin to feel like you’re in a different country altogether. You might even find yourself thinking you’re in India or Bangladesh.
This is all because of how unkept the area is and also the types of people on the street which you will encounter. While it is natural for tourist spots and the heart of town to be better developed and well-maintained for commercial and tourism purposes, but the contrast was stark and shocking.
I can still remember sitting in the public tram and looking out of the windows. Once it passed an orange arch, I realize I was in a whole different kind of Rome which nobody warned me about. My view outside changed very suddenly. One moment I was admiring historical architectures and the next moment all I see is walls which have graffiti on them and architectures which were not impressive along with buildings which are unwell kept.
I felt unsafe being in the public tram. While it is natural for one to be cautious of their belongings when they are in a foreign country, Rome has just leveled it up and made my experience a legitly eye-opening one. Not being racist, but let me just put it out there – there’s a whole lot of dark coloured people there who I suspect are undocumented migrants. I noticed that they’d hop on and off the tram (unpaid) and carrying a huge plastic bag of who-knows-what. This wasn’t a one-off observation, it happened right about every other time I used the public tram. While waiting for a tram, I was more afraid than ever for I was the only fair coloured individual among many who are waiting to hop onto the tram towards the city center. If this isn’t the result of mass migration and refugee issue in Europe, I don’t know what is.
Given a chance, would I return to Rome again? I’d say maybe – only because I really want to visit the Sistine Chapel, Vatican City and Trevi Fountain which was under renovation when I was there.
After watching where the pope is selected and where he makes his wave to the public, I just have to go and see it! This might as well be the Buckingham Palace of the Vatican City. Sistine Chapel looks truly magnificent in pictures and I can only imagine how gorgeous it would look in real life as well.
Also, because I grew up in the Lizzie McGuire era, I really want to throw a coin into the Trevi Fountain! Man, the movie made Italy look so perfect and ideal. I can’t tell if it is because it was shot about 13 years back when Italy hasn’t received a huge influx of refugees or is it because movies naturally make everything look many times better than what it normally looks like.
Now I know why Rome wasn’t built in a day, all great things takes time and Rome certainly proved it!