Rome, called the Eternal City, was amazing. A chaotic, sensuous, and addictive place, Rome has the romantic flavor of New Orleans. Elise and I were enchanted by friendliness of the locals, especially the waiters. A rich feeling of history pervaded our senses. We were taken by the sheer beauty of the city. One guide told us that "Romans have a spiritual crisis" whenever they have to leave their "eternal city." Many New Orleanians know this feeling intimitely. Because we were limited to only three days in Rome, were unable to absorb many of it delights and adventures. Rome, Italy and Santa Fe, New Mexico are the only two places in the world where I've had a meal better than Commander's Palace in New Orleans. The outdoor life and vibrance of this old city was truly amazing.

Below, are a few of the attractions of Rome we visited.


The Ruins, also called "Palatine."

This is where Rome began, back in 753 BC when Romulus killed Remus. The Palatine Hill was the best real estate in ancient Rome (the emperors chose to live there, after all), and it's still one of the best locations today. We spent an afternoon exploring and enjoying the Ruins. The middle picture is the temple of the Dioscuri (Castor and Pollux). Ruins and the cats found there remind you quickly of T.S. Eliot's "Wasteland." By far some of the most beautiful views of the Roman scenery can be enjoyed atop the hill of the ruins.

Entrances at Piazza di S. Maria Nova (Arch of Titus) and Via di S. Gregorio 30. Mon-Sun 9am-sunset (until 4pm Nov-Mar). 6.20; includes admission to Palatine Museum, closes 80 minutes earlier than Palatine). Metro Line B: Colosseo, or bus 87 or J4, or a 5-minute walk from Piazza Venezia.



If only we had a pictures of the catacombs. We visited the Catacombs of San Sebastiano [Via Appia Antica, 136. Mon-Sat 8.30am-noon, 2.30pm-5.30pm (only until 5pm Oct-Mar). Sun closed. 4.13.] They didn't allow photos to be taken and because we arrived at the last tour time available, we were unable to purchase any postcards of the catacombs. None the less, they were one of the most mysterious and delightful parts of our visit.

According to the guides, The catacombs are subterranean systems of rock-cut hallways and niches, built to house the bodies of the dead who could not afford a flashy tomb above the ground. Although many that we saw, seemed quite extravagant below ground. The most well-known are the Christian catacombs concentrated along the Via Appia Antica, although there were pagan and Jewish catacombs as well. Scholars are divided as to whether the catacombs also served as secret places of meeting and worship in the period when Christianity was outlawed. Many say the Tarochi, the oldest extant 78 card deck, that we now call the Tarot deck, was created by the Knights Templar during the time of the Crusades. Much Templar-related information has come from scholars and "conspiracy theorists" from clues and hints discovered in the Roman catacombs.



One of the most beautiful of all Roman monuments, this arena known to the ancients as the "Flavian Amphitheater" hosted 450 years of violent games, from Gladiator fights, to the feeding of Christians to the lions.

The Colosseum is enormous, about 1/2 the size of the New Orleans Superdome. You can feel it's enormity just by walking around the outside, but going inside will give you a better idea of the seating areas, the structures beneath the arena floor, and the general feeling of the building. There is a picture somewhere of Elise and I together inside. I still have to find it and scan it. It's hard not to think about all the Christians who were fed to the lions here, the violence and the attraction of mahem. Our modern "football" and "wrestling" are tame. If we ignore our the violence of our technological weapons, you might think we as humans have become more bit civilized.

Piazza del Colosseo. 9am-sunset (until 4pm Oct-Mar). 6.71. Metro Line B: Colosseo, or bus 87 or J4.

Trevi Fountain

Three Coins in a Fountain" definitely make us want to return. Day and night, romance fills the air.

A delightfully extravagant Rococo creation with travertine palm trees, tritons, seahorses, and Neptune himself. Throw one coin over your shoulder to wish for a return to Rome, two for a fling with an Italian, and three to marry an Italian! Best experienced in the evening. Metro Line A: Spagna, or bus 62 or 492 to Via del Tritone.



COMING SOON: Information on Keats-Shelly House, the Panteon, the Vatican, and Michangelo and the Sistine Chapel.