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.