arthisto January 18th, 2012
There is an Italian expression, “Roma, non basta una vita,” which means that for Rome, a lifetime is not enough life to really know her.
Not even close. But knowing Rome would be the destination and getting to know her, the journey. I never want my journey to end. I love this city with all my heart.
Why is it that of all of the wonderful places I have visited in my traveling life, Rome, above all others, gripped me, holds me, and haunts me?
I have wrestled with this question for twenty years. Friends do not understand why I keep returning when there is so much more “out there” to see. They ask if I will guide a trip to Greece or Hong Kong. I smile, as I think about those amazing places and say, “Maybe, someday.” But in my head I am saying, “I don’t want to. I want to go back to Rome.” There is still, after countless visits, so much of Rome that I long to understand, be familiar with, and appreciate.
Maybe it can be explained this way. When I buy a car, I think it through, wrangle, and weigh every aspect and option, and by the time my decision is made, I am in love with it and drive it for years. I’ve sort of sunk my teeth into it, very unlike the car buyer who enjoys flipping cars every couple of years. That is the kind of traveler that I have become as well. I am determined to catch the spirit of a place and sink my teeth in. When I am not traveling I am reading, highlighting, margin noting, and learning more deeply about Rome. A list of destinations to see in this world and tick off could not be more unappealing to me.
However, it hasn’t always been that way. In 1989, I was traveling around Europe with my list in hand, happily visiting Switzerland, Paris, Florence, all beautiful and stimulating, tick, tick, tick. Not sinking my teeth into any of them. But then we arrived in Rome, and everything changed. Only this time, I was blindsided as I felt Rome sink her teeth into me! How?
One thing I am sure of is that there is more than one answer to this question. In Part 2 of ROME: Life Is Not Long Enough To Know All Of Rome, I will
discuss a few, and maybe you will feel your reaction to a special place being described.
As a guest with Art History Alive, my intense passion for Rome and its living history, will be my gift to you. Travelers will have three opportunities to visit and get to know Rome with AHA in 2012.
Musica in Tuscany: July 12 – 18, 2012, includes two days in Rome.
Rome and Tuscany: September 30 – October 8, 2012, includes four full days in Rome.
Roma Amor: Rome Is Love Spelled Backward: October 10 – 17, 2012, is a full week in Rome guided by Judith Testa, PhD, author of the book by the same name, and myself. A daring duo of like-minded pilgrims are we.
In Part Two of ROMA, I will also share news on a few of the fantastically characteristic boutique hotels that AHA now reserves for its guests—a converted cloister, quiet and tucked away, an 11th-century tower, with one room on each of its five floors, and a pretty guest house gem on a quiet street near the Tiber River—all unique, pristine, and located in the historic center of this amazing city. I have visited each and every one of these hotels, plus many others that did not make the AHA list of preferred properties. Only the best for AHA guests—that is my promise.
Come experience Rome as part of a small group of other intellectually curious travelers. We would love to have you.