Roman Holiday

After the grey-covered monotony of the Polish countryside, I arrived in Rome (after less than two hours of travel!); only to be shocked by the kaleidoscope of colours and enthralled by the scent of spring.

The bus journey from Ciampino Airport already reveals an insight into the national character – the bus driver without care for regulations or indeed rules. But the most important thing – the temperature! Oh, what a surprise… Romans wearing fur coats and wooly hats, while us, the incomers from the North wearing much less in the way of winter clothes – and still feeling much too hot! Temperatures of about 15 degrees not only shock the body, but also the mind – especially after 50 days of snow.

Rome is a colourful city, even in February. This contrasts beautifully with Poland, with the aforementioned 50 days of snow and seemingly endless winter. Immediately on arrival, we see palm trees, which are to be a prominent companions throughout our stay. We see palms everywhere – in the city and outside the city. We also see pine, adorning the walls of the Vatican and towering over the ruins of the Roman Forum together with  haughty cypresses. Among the ruins of the Forum, we can also see green, green grass – again a novelty after the harsh Polish winter. Vegetation is everywhere – behind fences, covering walls and even roof gardens – all of which feature vegetation growing not only on the surface, but also through the cracks in the walls.

If you explore a little within the streets of Rome, you can see small elements which are specific to the city. Small, delightful gardens adorn minature balconies – which are stuck to the walls of houses like birds nests – all the while featuring large swathes of greenery to be admired!

It would seem that many of these balconies feature pots on the verge of falling – yet somehow, they stay. No accidents were recorded during my stay, and it would seem that they have mastered the art of utilising as much space as possible within a very confined area.

Another dazzling characteristic of the Eternal City is courtyards of houses and churches, filled with vegetation. We can not only see plants in pots, but also orange, lemon, banana and other trees growing freely within the closed courtyards. Some also feature miniature fountains situated mostly across from the entrance – another particularly Roman characteristic. But to admire such courtyards takes some difficulty – you often have to peer through the gates, or hope that a friendly resident will allow you to look. But persist – they are worth the effort, especially in winter.

A special feature is the ability of Roman gardeners to fill their narrow gardens with plants, only to leave a tiny passage for their car to occupy in the evenings. It would therefore seem that the residents have mastered the art of sharing with nature in these small, narrow alleys.

In Rome, you can easily fall in love – but you can also draw inspiration from her ability to produce a green paradise from the most boring, drab alleyway. And from this – we should learn.

20:53 | by Marta

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