Seeing Rome for the First Time

Henry James writes, “I went reeling and moaning thro’ the streets, in a fever of enjoyment…the Forum, the Coliseum…I’ve seen the Tiber hurrying along, as swift and dirty as history!…I’ve seen Rome, and I shall go to bed a wiser man that I last rose-yesterday morning.”

The quick pace and frantic excitement of James’ first day in Rome echoes my own feelings of excitement and overhwhelming awe.  Although we did not see all of Rome in a day, as James describes, each day that we say something new a fresh wave of enthusiasm washed over me.  The light in Trastevere caught my attention at once, followed by the sounds and smells of the neighborhood.  When we walked across the Ponte Sisto for the first time I remember thinking about how important the Tiber river that flowed beneath our feet was to the success of Rome.  When we climbed up the Capitoline, looked out over the Forum,img_1520img_1512img_1508img_1504 and saw the looming silhouette of the Colosseum in the background I thought, “Nothing in the U.S. is this grand or this old, nothing man made anyways, how young and stupid we are as Americans, and how very naive.”

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