It was amazing.
I'd been before - 12 years ago - and we were bussed in and around the sights in the space of 2 days before travelling onto Florence. This time I stayed centrally for 4 whole days, took my guidebook and let myself wander and discover. To absorb Rome's piazzas, its pizza, its history and its espresso. Its exuberant and irrepressible spirit.
It was fabulous.
I came back Saturday night filled to the brim with vivid memories, and a squillion photos, to share.
And I really don't know where to start.
I'm stuck. Lost in so many experienes I can barely create any semblance of structure to transfer them (or at least some of them) from my mind's eye to yours.
This is really strange - I feel the urge to write about it all but can't seem get past the block. So while I'm working through this dilemma, I thought I'd share a titbit about my inspiration for the trip.
Roman Holiday is one of those wonderful, wonderful movies that makes me feel good all over and I curled up happily a few days before my departure to watch it all over again. Audrey Hepburn captures perfectly Rome's exuberant spirit and Gregory Peck's dashingly handsome Joe provides the perfect foil for her wide-eyed charm.
In reality Peck, so convinced by Hepburn's Oscar-winning performance, insisted that her name appear with his prior to the movie title and the two of them remained good friends until Hepburn's death in 1993.
There is a scene in the movie where Peck and Hepburn visit the Bocca della Veritas - the Mouth of Truth. You know the scene...where they play at truth-telling while putting their hand inside the mouth. (If you don't know this scene, shame on you!) Anyway, Peck convinced the director to let him play a prank on Hepburn by pretending that something grabbed his hand.
Neither told her.
So the young princess' squeal of terror and feisty yet delightful response was Hepburn's actual reaction to Peck's prank - and that marvellous scene, captured for all eternity, was filmed in one take.
And that, I think, sums up my Roman holiday...captured for all eternity.