Saturday, March 30, 2024

Rome, Italy: Discovering the Heart of Italy

Thinking back on my travels, there's something truly soul-stirring about those journeys. Traveling has a way of deeply touching your Zen soul, leaving an imprint on every part of your being, including your breath to your body, and mind. Even years later, those moments remain etched in memory (Pretoria South Africa Moments & Cape Town The Nature Stunner). 

My first overseas trip took me to Italy, a destination cherished by people from all corners of the globe. The excitement of the journey kept me awake on the night flight. Arriving at Rome airport, a sense of anticipation filled me. After a quick refresh in the washroom, our guide led us to the coach to begin our sightseeing adventure, starting with Vatican City (Seoul Through My Eyes & Jeju Island Through My Lens).

Vatican City

In Vatican City, the world's tiniest country, every corner whispers tales of faith and history. Supported solely by donations, it's a place where Peter, the first Pope, found his eternal rest. Designed by Michelangelo, its cleanliness and grandeur astound visitors.


During my visit, catching a glimpse of the Pope amidst the crowd was unforgettable. His presence radiated reverence and awe, leaving a lasting impression on me. Near St. Peter's Basilica, the hustle and bustle of tourists couldn't overshadow the quiet moments of reflection. Despite the crowds, finding a peaceful spot to sit and soak in the beauty was a cherished experience.

Leaving Vatican City behind, I felt grateful for the memories it had gifted me. Its sacredness and significance had touched my soul in profound ways, making it a treasure to my Zen journey.


The Colosseum

Stepping into the Arch of Constantine, my heart raced with excitement. Right before me stood the monumental Arch of Constantine, towering at 25 meters tall, erected in AD 315 to commemorate Constantine's victory over Maxentius. Pausing to listen to our Italian guide, a lady this time, we delved into the significance of the Colosseum.


As she spoke, I couldn't help but feel a sense of awe. This ancient amphitheatre, hollow at its center, once echoed with the cheers of over 50,000 spectators as gladiators battled ferocious animals. I followed her lead, ascending from floor to floor, until we reached the summit, where the Colosseum sprawled beneath us in all its magnificence.
Given nearly two hours to explore at our leisure, I found myself utterly captivated by the view. The sheer size of the Colosseum, the intricate details of its facade, left me breathless. As someone who cherishes historical connections, this was truly a moment of Zen for me.. And with Trevi Fountain as our next stop, I knew the adventure was far from over.

Trevi Fountain

Strolling along the lane towards Trevi Fountain, my senses were alive with anticipation. The aroma of Italian cuisine wafted through the air, tempting me to indulge in some gelato from a nearby café. With gelato in hand, I finally reached the fountain, a bustling scene amidst the summer heat.

 

As I stood there, marveling at the fountain, I couldn't help but feel overwhelmed by the crowds. It seemed everyone wanted a picture, making it difficult to capture the moment without pushing through the throngs of people. Despite the chaos, I couldn't resist the tradition of tossing a coin into the fountain, silently making a wish for a return to Italy one day.

 

After spending an hour at Trevi Fountain, I found myself growing restless. It was time to move on, to savor a delicious lunch at a nearby café before continuing our journey to the Spanish Steps.

 

Spanish Steps

Ah, the famous Spanish Steps - 135 steps of charm and history. As I climbed each step, I couldn't help but imagine the countless souls who had done the same before me. Some sat and rested, others simply admired the view. My brief 20 minutes there were spent capturing the beauty of the surrounding square, soaking in the atmosphere.


Despite its simplicity, visiting the Spanish Steps felt like an essential part of my Rome adventure. After all, how could I come this far and not experience this iconic landmark? With that, my first day in Rome drew to a close, leaving me eagerly anticipating the next leg of my Italian journey.

 

And so, with the Spanish Steps behind me, I looked forward to my next destination: Florence. Who knew what adventures awaited me there?

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