Skip to main content

Rome around the Italian Capital with yours truly: The diary of an adventurer.

Through the eyes of protagonist and travel addict Jane, Catherine Giggal shares illustrative diary entries of time spent in Rome.

BY Catherine Giggal

My piece consists of three, short, illustrative diary entries about a girl called Jane, who plans to travel the world and visit every European capital city before she turns 30. This story will explore the character’s love of travelling, food and exploring a new culture for the very first time. Each entry will describe the city of Rome via the eyes of the protagonist and how they view being immersed in an entirely new atmosphere. It will be a rather informational piece focusing on Jane’s perspective on her trip, as opposed to it being a ‘standard’ travel guide of the Italian capital.

August 23rd 2016

We have arrived in Rome! The sun is shining and the view from my hotel is magnificent! The Trevi Fountain, a hotspot for tourists from Torquay to Tallinn can be seen from outside of my balcony. It is truly magnificent! The way the sun shines upon the fountain, making the water glisten gleefully whilst hopeful humans throw coins over their shoulder trusting that their wishes come true.

I will definitely throw a coin in at some point *wishing for… a sports car… no something more wholesome Jane! Ermm happiness… and a new laptop* Any who… I’m not really superstitious or anything but I do feel like it is a tradition, or some might say a right of passage to toss a coin in the Trevi Fountain. I can tick it off of my list of things to do, ‘When in Rome’ of course!

I’m writing this late afternoon from my hotel balcony, I’ve decide just to take it easy today and explore Rome this evening when the air is a little bit cooler and the wonderfully warm sun has said goodbye for another day. Also, everything seems to be more picturesque on a night, as the stars provide a unique sense of illumination that no filter or camera setting can quite live up to.

It’s the end of my first day… I explored the Trevi Fountain and felt like I was starring in Roman Holiday, minus the Royal Princess status of course (well that’s debateable). However, it shows the impact of Hollywood and the role that the media has played in the construction of the city’s identity. And as such, an image of the city had been installed in my mind prior to visiting the place.  And I’m not saying that’s a bad thing at all! It’s just that I got to admire the beauty of Rome before seeing it through my own eyes, which sounds strange. However familiar the iconic landmarks were to me, they were even more profound in person, making the Asian proverb ‘better to see something once than hear about it a thousand times’ more relevant to me than ever before.

August 24th 2016

Morning all! It’s my second day and I’m ready to explore the city in all of its glory! However, I need some form of transport, as the city is too big to walk all of the attractions on foot. And I’ve decided to take the bus. Funnily enough, I was tempted to hire a car at the airport, but then realised that Rome traffic is like Tetris x 100 billion and my driving skills were too inept for such an excursion. So I think sticking to the Metro and the bus is the correct option for me – however, it would be cool, but it isn’t the right Italian Job for me I’m afraid. Catch up later in the afternoon!

It’s another sweltering day, I guess we’re in the height of summer n’ all that but I’ve coated myself in lots of sun cream and I’m currently rocking major snowman vibes, looking very cosmopolitan and sophisticated in the process of course! Anyway, I decided to visit the Colosseum today, arguably the most iconic of all the landmarks in Rome. The queue was very long, but it was totally worth the wait! It’s awe-inspiring, from both an aesthetic and historic point of view. It has certain visual wow-factor that cannot simply be captured through a lens. However, one cannot forget it’s former primary usage, and as elaborated by Rem Koolhaas, ‘evil can also be so beautiful. The Colosseum in Rome, for example, a wonderful structure with an awful past. Just think about the bloody gladiator fights there’. It is certainly food for thought. However, one can admire the structure for its aesthetic beauty whilst also considering its past.

Photo by @bradencollum

I think I’m going to spend the rest of the day having a wander around the Colosseum and then onto dinner this evening. Will update later on!

Good evening everyone! I’m now sat down at a beautiful outdoor pizzeria that is right around the corner from the Spanish Steps, another location that is symbolic to Rome. There is nothing quite like authentic Italian food, the fresh pasta, pizza and coffee is unlike the imitation version that you can make from home. However, the atmosphere adds to the overall ambience of the Roman dining experience. Currently whilst I’m sat here, there is an opera singer performing on the pavement, an array of candlelit tables, which contrasts with the bustling busyness of the city. It is an overwhelming yet pleasant experience. Something that is unique to the capital itself.

That’s it for today. Tune in tomorrow for my final leg of what has been an incredible trip!

August 25th 2016

“Nothing could’ve prepared me for what it looked like. It was really like walking into Ancient Rome, only it was as if someone had turned the colour on it was astonishing”

Lindsay Duncan

“Rome is the city of echoes, the city of illusions, The city of yearning”

Giotto Di Bondone

It’s my final day in Rome; it has been an incredible trip so far, seeing the beauty of the city itself, everything from the iconic landmarks, to the ancient cobbled streets. It is a city immersed in historic grandeur that cannot be matched. I found a few quotes that best match my experience in the city:

‘Nothing could’ve prepared me for what it looked like. It was really like walking into Ancient Rome, only it was as if someone had turned the colour on it was astonishing’ – Lindsay Duncan 

And:

‘Rome is the city of echoes, the city of illusions, The city of yearning’ – Giotto Di Bondone

It is a place that I recommend highly and I hope to visit again sometime soon! This is stop number one of my European adventure, as I fly to Paris this evening. Travelling is such an enriching experience, visiting different countries, trying out local cuisines and ultimately, having a break from everyday life!

Lastly, both of these quotes really stood out to me, as I perceived Rome to be a city of ‘echoes’ in the sense that it is now a contemporary urban hub with echoes from its past etched into the very soul of the city. It’s an unusual contrast, but balances out to a distinguishable equilibrium. Also, before I visited the city, I viewed countless photographs and films that pre-documented the Roman experience for me, but there was nothing quite like seeing it in person. Ancient Rome still stands despite the progression of the modern world, and I think that is quite lovely to witness.

Thank you for reading my work!