This is it, Rome, the capital of the Roman empire, one of the most historic cities of all times with a very especial meaning on my trip, as it was an extremelly important place on the silk route, one of the main destinations, a great consumer of silk. I´ve been four days walking by the places where so many tourists, emperors, merchants, warriors, gladiators and senatoros have walked, I´ve seen it´s buildings and it’s ruins. I became completely immersed in it’s history. I´ve found it a wonderful city, it´s great walking by those streets where in every corner you find a fountain and you can feel the past that has been so important to western countries.
As there has been hundreds of people that have written and pictured Rome it in a professional way I´m not going to list the sights, I don´t see the point. here are just some impressions.

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SPQR stands for Senatys Popvlvs qve romanvs, The Senate and the People of Rome. The sentence synthesizes part of the Roman empire success. In latin there are two ways to say “and”. In this sentence it means that it makes both parts equal. Equating the people and the senate not separating the folk from the power. It´s still used in the Roman flag.

My way to get into Italy was somehow unexpected, the connection from Marsei to Rome was not too handy, nearly 13 hours by train with 3 connections, also I had to meet someone in Rome and I wanted to arrive at lunch time, so i decided ro travel some of the way on Thursday night. My train arrived at Ventimiglia at 00.40 and the train to Rome was leaving  6 hours later. Paying a hotel to sleep just 5 hours? Nooooooooooooo
The idea of sleeping in a train station was not very attractive so I wanted to delay the unavoidable moment. I had a walk round the village searching for a beer. You can imagine how deserted a village in train station. I saw a light which turned out to be an open bar.

From outside I heard the music and i realized i had found the beer i wanted. In the restaurant-bar a young crowd had set up a Karaoke night. A group of ten guys and girls, dressed up, all of  different ages, as village gangs might be, were SINGING LOUDLY some Italian pop hits. Pietro served me my first Peroni (the scene couldn´t be more Italian)and drank it thinking how even at this times of night a little village in the frontier had the italian spirit of noise and fun. No way I could have found something like this in France. Thats the way that murky and cold night in the station, started with one of those trip moments, those that are impossible to plan.

Next day I arrived to Termini train station and met my first visitor on the trip, Dermot. I left my bag in the hotel and here are the pictures that emerged from the city…

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The first stop was the Trevi Fountain, from the hundreds of tourists the cloned pictures . There were these happy people, each with his beer in his hand cracking jokes about the torists and their cameras.

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It´s written that down the Tiber Romulus and Remus came floating in a basket. I like the history even logically it is more of a legend then a fact of history. I like the fact that the tiver is in fact another chacter in it’s history.
On it´s way to Rome it has a lot of water, it has been twisting and turning 405 kilometres. The Tiber was used in Rome, the merchant ships sailed up to Rome to the Aventino market. Rome used to export metals and bought spices, and of course, silk. There was a moment in the Roman empire that silk was so popular that it was used not only by the rich but also by the poor. The silk was paid for in gold and they became so obsessed with it that spending all the gold nearly collapsed the economy (now we collapse it with bricks). During this time Rome had no clue what silk was, where it came from, they where simply fascínated by it and would pay any price. There are written records stating that silk grew on trees already woven.

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Twisting me and the colliseum with my new super wide angle lens. The collisseum had a capacity of 55.000 people and there was a time they had silk and linen to cover the inside providing shade.

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Bar decoration with rose petals, handcuffs and white guns.

During my trip i´m gong to visit some of the most important religious places, the Vatican headquarters of the Catholic church  made me very curious, so one day I let the underground guide me there.

The second stop was the Vatican museum, the museum is famous for three things. The biggest religious art Collection in the world, Michelangelo Sistine chapel and the endless queues. I was lucky and the queue was limited to 2 people before me and the metal detector, so one minute later and with 15 euro less, me, my frine, my backpack and the 15 tool swiss knife I had inside were in…

I think you can leave the vatican museum with two opinions. One is on the amount of stunning artwork pieces inside. Sculptures, marbel, paintings, murals, and of course, the Sistine chape(just thinking that one person spent 4 years painting it makes it interesting enough). Or you can leave with the idea of having seen something ostentatious and obscene. I guess there´s people leave with both ideas at the same time!

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Japanese in Saint Peter´s Square. I´m starting to develop a theory about the density of japanese per square meter and the importance of a location.

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In it´s Collection of modern art there´s a Dalí.

I have no picture of Claudio. One night after dinner in the Trastevere neighbourhod, we stopped to have a drink in a tiny bar in front of the bus station. Claudio, kind of an older man, was treating with care all his clients late at night, he was a real talker staying in his dad´s business having had the bussines in the family for 62 years. With not much talking and after hearing his story as a person that had worked hard all his life to keep what he had, I asked him about Berlusconi. And this was his answer “Berluscon1 is a smart man and it´s good having an intelligent person as head of the goverment. He is a personal friend of important people like Putin and Bush. Berlusconi has a beautifull villa in Corsica, and they´ve gone to visit him, all those important people. These relationships are good for Italy”. This solved my doubt. Berlousconi has big support from normal people, however he keeps being controversial, ive heard several conversations from Italians saying his name and it´s obvious the opinion is polarized.

Now moving to the last visits, as usuall i also spent some time looking into the modern side of town. Two compulsory stops. The Auditorium and the MAXII museum.

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It was designed by Renzo Piano, an italian architect who has won the Pritzker prize. It doesn´t look like it but it was constructed 15 years ago, in 1995.

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It has 3 rooms with different sizes, the there is a concrete cover that seems to have the look of an alien from a distance.

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Zaha Hadid MAXXI´s XXI art gallery museum. Unfortunately it wont open for a few weeks. Zaha is also building the Olympic Stadium for the London Olympics.

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I left Rome on the train of the right, at high speed, 250 km hour, like if I was running away, but without that intention. I´ve seen impressive things, i´ve liked this stop on the way.

The train took me to Pisa, but as I have written quite a lot today you probably preffer a video.

Music is from Lali Puna.

The engineers removed ground from underneath the tower. Now it´s stable, it´s in fact the only time ever it´s not moving that´s why it´s possible to visit it in restricted groups. The story what the´ve done to make it stable is very interesting.

I´ll be writting soon about how stunning I´ve found Marco Polo´s city.


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