Founded on 21 April in 753 BC, today is Rome’s 2771st birthday. Known in Italian as, ‘Il natale di Roma’.
To mark her birthday, I wanted to publish an excerpt from my book I Heart Rome. I wrote it with love, from the heart and with a lump in my throat. Because I’m one of those hopeless romantics. One of those people who cries at the end of a romantic comedy.
This excerpt tells of how the eternal city captivated me, made me fall in love and untimely stole my heart.
I Heart Rome (Smith Street Books / Rizzoli)
It took me almost 20 years to bite the bullet. I visited Rome over a dozen times in my 20s. Every time I left the city, I cried. I felt like I belonged in Rome and the pull eventually became too profound to ignore.
I loved the grandeur of her monuments, the ochre gold of the oldest walls I’d ever seen, the chaos and winding cobblestone streets that had touches of history at every turn. I couldn’t believe that a modern day bustling metropolis could sit in harmony with relics and ruins of the past. I loved meandering the streets and getting completely lost in them. It made me feel alive.
It was all of this that made me fall hopelessly in love with the eternal city and had me wondering: could a love affair last forever? Well, I wanted to find out.
And now I leave you with a poem and ode I wrote on the anniversary of my first year in the Eternal City – over 6 years ago.
You enrich me
You excite me
You frustrate me
You enlighten me
You make me happy
You anger me
You inspire me
You continue to impress me
You are beauty to me
You have helped me fulfill a lifelong dream
You sometimes disappoint me
You empower me
You scare me
You captivate me
You speak to my heart
You nourish my soul
You thrill me
You will remain a part of me forever
All my love my Rome
No – Rome isn’t perfect. It’s not an easy city to live in or navigate, especially if you don’t know it. Again, it’s not perfect. It’s Rome.
Happy 2771st Birthday you sexy old beauty you!
Signing off from Trastevere,