When I jaywalked in Rome I always knew that if I were to get hit by a car, at least the odds were that it would be an Audi or a Mercedes.
There was undeniable comfort in the knowledge that delicious food lurked at every corner and one could satisfy one’s palate while sight-seeing without getting weird looks.
There were countless shoe stores. It was a dream come true. Shoes made of real leather–vera pelle–were à la mode, easy to come by and could be smelled from a distance. Same with handbags.
I heard many people answer the phone with “Amore” which means “love”. How incredibly, incredibly sweet. For maybe the first time I didn’t gag upon witnessing such affection. Didn’t know it was possible.
Speaking in Italian was a challenge, but even my broken sentences helped me carry on conversations. They appreciate the effort made and communicate back in whatever little English they speak. But as I tried to formulate phrases and questions in Italian, a strange thing happened: As I tried to string a few Italian words together to get my point across, I found that my mind was able to construct sentences or phrases in French for whatever I wanted to say! I hadn’t realised how well I knew that language. It was an extremely interesting revelation.
Speaking in past tense is sad. Cappuccinos were the real thing. Food was hearty and delicious. Dessert was rich and heavenly.
Shopping was so great. Even the less expensive goods were fashionable, stylish and of good quality. Luckily, my second week there was when the sales started so I definitely picked the right weeks for the trip. I actually set aside two days for the popular via del Corso, Campo Marzio near the Pantheon and the trendy “ghetto” near Campo de’ Fiori just to make sure I don’t miss out on anything. Who doesn’t love a “Made in Italy” tag?!
Clothes could be decidedly classic or avant garde. I bought a camel-coloured cape with a dramatic collar, a long, sumptuous soft faux-fur-lined coat with an asymmetrical neck and hemline and a classic brown leather jacket.
Shoes: I bought tall and simple tan leather boots and red patent leather heeled oxfords. Also another pair of tall and warm brown leather boots and a pair of black ankle boots, both of Manas Design. A pair of suede brownish-grey boots–the previously mentioned Clocharme. Two pairs of leather ballet flats, one in taupe and one in red. And a pair of flat, gladiator-style Roman sandals; the real deal, don’t you think?
Heretofore, I had very little brown in my wardrobe. Now I cannot believe how versatile and irreplaceable a shade tan is. How I managed without it before now, I’ll never know.
Handbags. I bought one in Florence which was red leather and that was for my mom because God knows she loves that colour. A messenger style bag for my dad. For me, a slouchy tan tote, plus a smaller bag that could be turned inside out–tan brown suede on one side and black pebbled leather on the other–, plus a large structured dark brown handbag, plus a smaller caramel handbag. Also got a Liebeskind Berlin bowler-style bag that I love just a little bit more than the others. It looks like the one pictured here but is grey and black instead of olive and brown.
By the way, every place I shopped at, whatever I bought, the salespeople were always spewing fashion tips. I learned, in a city so classic, to take a few risks and, let’s be honest, European fashion is admired the world over.
Leather belts from Fellini. They shortened my dad’s belts too much though. Since belts are so size sensitive, it would make sense to let the wearer have the belts sized. I am a belt-gifting novice so I didn’t know much better and common sense did not prevail. They do fit my brother so he can add them to the rest of his gifts. Those included an authentic Manchester United tracksuit (on sale! Yay!) which was his favourite gift of all.
Christmas decorations were up until the day I left. Like I said before, my camera does not do any of the actual sights justice.
Lots of Italian colorful tights. Can’t wait for spring.
Bright coral jewellery for my mother. A lovely cameo brooch for me. My first real brooch. I’m not quite sure exactly what I’m going to do with it but I think scarves are going to figure in the mix.
I got a great pair of purple jeans at a just as great discount: 50% off, because the cute salesguy wanted to take me out at 10pm that night after finding out I was traveling alone. He asked me to meet him outside the store and I didn’t show up. Is that wrong?
- that I’m not as anti-social as I think I am,
- that technology can be very convenient sometimes and that we shouldn’t depend on it too greatly,
- the difference between Renaissance and Baroque, and
- that I prefer the dramatic realism of Baroque art to the classic idealism of Renaissance
- Bernini and Michelangelo, among others, were gods.
There were astonishing, indescribable feats of art and architecture to be found everywhere and I didn’t get tired of marveling at them.
We always need more time, just one more day to take in the beauty, to soak it all up, to take mental pictures that will last forever. Two incredible weeks flew by in a handful of moments and memories. There’s never enough time to do every little thing one wants to do. That’s how it feels, at least. For that, one needs a lifetime.