Dear Rome, I love you.

I felt compelled to write the following upon learning that this week’s #JAchat topic is Rome. (#JAchat is a weekly Twitter travel chat that I co-host. Read here to learn more.)

I’ve heard other travelers compare picking a favorite place in the world, out of all the towns, cities, and countries they’ve visited, to choosing which of their children is their favorite. It may seem like a daunting task to some but I have no problem declaring that my favorite place in the whole entire giant world is…. ROME.

Actually, I do have a problem. There is a reason that I haven’t written much about my favorite place in the world. I know in my heart that Rome is my travel soulmate but I have difficulty explaining why that is. I’ve tried and I just cannot put it into words. Perhaps it’s because Rome was once the center of one of history’s greatest empires. Maybe my answers lie in the 2,000-year-old ruins, which I stare at and imagine what the original, intact structures looked like and the stories that unfolded behind those walls. I’m pretty sure my Italian heritage has something to do with it. Could it be a spiritual or religious thing with Vatican City in such close proximity?

My answer to all of the above is “yes”, but the connection I have to the city goes way deeper. On my first night in Rome on my first visit, I was in a taxi on a somewhat empty street. As the driver whipped around a curve, I caught my first glimpse of the Colosseum, lit up in the night. Something stirred inside me and tears began streaming down my face. I last visited Rome in 2011 and when I took off from Fiumicino to head home, I think I experienced true heartache for the first time in my life. It was like I was leaving behind the love of my life, not sure if or when I would see him again.

I may not have exact answers to why I love Rome so much but I do know that I dream of the day that I can return and hope with every fiber of my being that, some day, I’ll have the chance to live there. Until then, I have my photographs from travels past to help keep Rome ever-present in my heart.

Rome, Italy

From the top of St. Peter’s Basilica

Rome, Italy

The Forum from Palatine Hill

Rome, Italy

Ponte Sant’Angelo

Rome, Italy

Piazza Navona

Rome, Italy

Trevi Fountain

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18 Responses to Dear Rome, I love you.

  1. Pola (Jetting Around) September 3, 2015 at 12:00 pm #

    I know this is your favorite city, and now it’s great to have a better idea as to why. As you know, I fell for Rome as a teenager (my first city-love, as I call it), I’ve been there three times, and it’s still a special place for me. I hope to go back, even if these days there is that other place that I obsess over… It looks like you feel about Rome the way I feel about Paris… I really enjoyed the post, especially the cab ride part.
    Pola (Jetting Around) recently posted…Giveaway: Travel tote by Catrinka ProjectMy Profile

    • Francesca September 5, 2015 at 3:47 pm #

      Thanks, amiga! We should visit Rome and Paris together and go totally ga-ga!

  2. Lydia C. Lee September 4, 2015 at 2:50 pm #

    I have a theory that the first European city you visit is the one you truly love the most, because it gets all that overwhelming awe and wonder (and joy) for the age, history and differences to what we know….Again, all this is Paris for me….
    Lydia C. Lee recently posted…My First HolidayMy Profile

  3. Mags September 5, 2015 at 9:06 am #

    Gorgeous photos. I’ve only been to Rome once, and that was 9 years ago (ah!!!), but I absolutely fell in love. I think it may be time for a reunion.
    Mags recently posted…The Denver Art Museum (D.A.M.)My Profile

  4. Holly September 5, 2015 at 9:32 am #

    You have some amazing pictures. I loved Rome and your pictures make me want to go back. I too also love the history that the city offers.
    Holly recently posted…Yolk in Chicago, ILMy Profile

  5. Heather Cole September 5, 2015 at 10:01 am #

    It really is great that you can feel so much passion and conviction for a place, and I know many others love Rome too. We visited last year for 6 days and although I’m glad we went, I did feel a little disappointed with my visit, probably because it’s one of those places that has so much hype to live up to, and usually in real life such places always fall short of imagination. I think it was just too crowded. I did love the gelato though!
    Heather Cole recently posted…Mauritius – so much more than beachesMy Profile

    • Francesca September 5, 2015 at 3:49 pm #

      Heather, that’s exactly what happened with me and Florence. I was SO disappointed. I even gave it a second chance but that turned out to be worse than the first time. As you said about Rome, I think a lot of it had to do with how overcrowded it was.

  6. Shobha September 5, 2015 at 3:26 pm #

    Lydia above may have a point that the first European city you visit becomes the standard by which you measure everything else. I love Paris because it was the first city I went to as an adult on my own. I’d been to Rome before Paris but with my family as a teenager – unfortunately all I remember is fighting with my brother 🙂 Having been back to Rome as an adult, I’ve really enjoyed it especially because we had friends who lived in the city who took us around. Paris though is still my first love.
    Shobha recently posted…Paraisopolis, This Side of ParadiseMy Profile

  7. Francesca September 5, 2015 at 3:46 pm #

    Lydia and Shobha, I can totally see where you’re coming from with the theory of falling in love with the first European city you visit. Rome was not my first European city, though, nor was it my first Italian city. I’d been to Florence, which I hated, and Venice, which I fell in love with. And then I got to Rome and I forgot about everything/one else. It was on my second visit to Rome, though, when I realized that the city is my travel soulmate. I guess we were just meant to be!

  8. Crysta @ WellWornSuitcase September 5, 2015 at 4:47 pm #

    Aw, how fantastic. Who wouldn’t love it?! There’s an energy and a spirit that simply must be felt to be understood.

  9. Carol Colborn September 5, 2015 at 6:07 pm #

    I remember the first time I got to London, I fell in love with her. Then we went to Paris and changed sweethearts. Finally, I reached Rome and went nuts. The last one I traveled to was Monaco and soon we will be in Kauai. It is harder for me. At least you were able to write this letter!

  10. Traveling Ted September 6, 2015 at 10:40 am #

    Wow, gorgeous photos. I love Rome, but I find Florence a little more interesting 🙂 Just kidding. Never been to Italy, but when I do, I definitely make sure Rome is properly explored.
    Traveling Ted recently posted… for editing travel photosMy Profile

  11. Brianna September 7, 2015 at 11:27 am #

    It’s funny how we instantly connect with a place. I found that same feeling for Copenhagen interestingly enough.
    Brianna recently posted…One Great Weekend: Annapolis, MarylandMy Profile

  12. Lance | Trips By Lance September 8, 2015 at 5:26 pm #

    We spent parts of a few days in Rome 10 years ago on our final big trip pre-baby. I loved it, even the crowds. I wasn’t a fan of being ignored by a Vespa rider as I walked across a crosswalk but at least I lived. My first taste of gelato near the Pantheon is one of my great memories of that visit.
    Lance | Trips By Lance recently posted…Spending a Day at Santa Monica PierMy Profile

  13. the lazy travelers September 10, 2015 at 12:58 pm #

    i have to admit, i didn’t get rome a totally fair shot on my first time there. BUT, the romantic has been back a few times and falls more in love with it each time. a do-over is in order, i think! xo, the wino
    the lazy travelers recently posted…3 days in chicago // a first-timer’s guide (part two)My Profile

  14. Colleen Lanin September 28, 2015 at 4:12 pm #

    Love this! Can’t wait to swap travel stories with you at lunch this week!
    Colleen Lanin recently posted…All Things Eloise at The Plaza HotelMy Profile

  15. christine March 11, 2016 at 11:37 am #

    I fell in love with Rome just like you. Beautiful pictures!
    christine recently posted…Spotlight On: Tales From A ForkMy Profile

  16. triin March 14, 2016 at 5:44 am #

    Just found your blog. Very interesting! I am a crazy woman traveling with my four kids. Last October we went Rome and what’s even more crazy – we are going back next October for more 🙂
    You can see a glimpse here It is in Estonian and I haven’t updated it for some time.

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