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Roma

In Rome, at the Termini Station metro platform, the nuns are not always nuns. At times they are thieves in disguise. So, while you are being lifted up by the escalator, keep an eye on the two sisters in white who are behind you, because yes, that quick little tug you’ve felt on your back pocket was a hand, and it was hers. Clever ploy, crafty like the devil, or like cats.

Rome is not as dirty as the stories go however, and the thieves not as thick. The streets aren’t much more chaotic or filthy than those of Los Angeles or Chicago, and while there is quite a bit of graffiti, that is by no means constrained to Italy or Rome. And the so-called gypsythieves are far less likely to rip you off than the most organized of the robbers, and most successful, the museums. Their extortionate rates and lack of student discounts for non-Europeans are far more damaging to one’s budget than any wandering fingers.

I must admit that although I do not really like Rome in the sense that I liked Paris or Madrid, the city possesses an overabundance of historical sites; there are so many things to see, because of the concentration of powers here, classically and on through the Renaissance, it is like being assaulted by a swirl of suffocating dustbunnies.

Some highlights: the mouth of truth, or more precisely, the silliness of the way the tourists treat it, standing in line to take their own picture of themselves, hand inserted; all the ruins on Palatine hill, lit up at night; the baroque marble decoration in St. Peter’s; the Pantheon; gelati; cheap cappuccino.

Some things that I regret missing: the cappuccine crypt; the church of San Clemente; the ruined baths at Caracalla; the catacombs.

Tomorrow, off to Greece.

Categories: Postcards.

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