O, Fortunata!

Despite my hangups about the actual act of traveling from one place to another, it's something I really enjoy. I haven't traveled a lot, but I still tend to take the places I've been and the things I've seen for granted. I realized that this week when Ben and I were listening to The Thomas Jefferson Hour (which probably scores us mega nerd points, but I think I reached nerd max years ago when I got a Classics degree…) - the episode was about Rome and, specifically how, for being so inspired by Rome, Jefferson never made it there to see it in person.

Prior to that moment I had never considered whether Thomas Jefferson had ever been to Rome, but I have to say, it was a little shocking. Mostly because I've been to Rome. As we were listening to the episode, it really made me think about how much I value that experience, but how little I think about it on a normal basis. Listening to the host of the show, who just recently returned from a 3-week Roman holiday, describe the sights and sounds and tastes of the city took me back to when I was there. And not just Rome, but surrounding areas as well. I thought of all the things I got to do on that trip and how lucky I am to have been able to do them. 

I looked over Switzerland and Italy from the top of the Alps.


I hung out in a medieval castle.


I lit a candle in the Duomo in Milan.


And that was all before I even got to Rome. 

Going to Rome was an unreal experience. The first time I saw the Colosseum was truly unforgettable - it was one of those great moments when all of a sudden the ordinary turns into something extraordinary.  It was our first day in Rome and we were walking around the city with my group from college, led by my professors, so I had no idea where exactly in the city we were or where we were going at any given moment. We walked through an alley and turned a corner and all of a sudden, this colossal structure I had dreamed about for years and read descriptions of in the language of the people who built it was right in front of me. It was stunning. I was stunned. 


I walked up the same steps that thousands of Romans walked and I saw the ingenious labyrinth of tunnels that would have been invisible to spectators but are now out in the open for all the world to see.


I swam in the sea right next to the remnants of the villa of a Roman emperor and I sat on what is left of one of the columns in a once-great port city.



In the Forum, where I'm sure many tourists saw ruins, just fragments of what once stood there, I saw a city I had studied for all of my young and early adult years come to life. 


I saw the Pieta and the dome of St. Peter's and School of Athens and the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel and the coffered dome of the Pantheon and so many other works of art and architecture, even just one of which would have been more than enough, but I got to see all of them.

I feel a much greater interest in knowing what has happened two or three thousand years ago than in what is now passing. -Thomas Jefferson

At least this TJ got to see it.

16 comments :

  1. You're so adorable in all those pictures I could die :) Going to Rome has always been on my bucket list... just can't seem to scrape up the money for it!

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  2. I finally got to go to Rome a year and a half ago and it was such a profound experience. It gave such a perspective on the world.
    I agree with you, there is nothing like the beauty of travel and learning about other cultures.

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  3. I really want to go to Rome and your post just upped my interest #wanderlustbughashit

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  4. I've wanted to go to Rome FOREVER. My husband has traveled a lot with his family, but I really haven't. I hope to be able to do that someday.

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  5. oh my gosh you are so adorable in these pictures i can hardly handle it.
    i have been dreaming of italy since i was like 10. i can't believe i haven't gone yet! we are (hopefully!) going this summer and i don't have a classics degree but i am so excited to see all of these things and feel everything you said. its rare to be able to stand somewhere that has stood for so long.

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  6. As one who has never set foot on European soil, I am definitely jealous! I took one semester of Latin and a class on Rome at the same time. While I barely survived Latin, the Rome class was definitely interesting and lit a flame in me to go there some day. Some day!

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  7. Rome is amazing! I find places like the Colosseum to be so humbling and it's sort of haunting to think about the history. I've been going through a lot of my old travel pictures for inspiration as one of my goals for the year is to travel and explore more. It's good for the soul. Oh, and I agree, you're adorable!!

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  8. I cant wait to visit Rome one day. I was supposed to go to Venice this year but I put it off because I have a whole heap of other travel plans. Good for you for having visited. Beautiful pics!

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  9. I did a study abroad in Rome and it was seriously one of the best times in my life - amazing city! xo, Biana - BlovedBoston

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  10. I would LOVE to go to Rome someday. What a dream come true! Your pics are amazing. You look so young in the pics!

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  11. It's one of the great tragedies of my life that I haven't yet been overseas and that I haven't seen the country my whole family comes from. I want to go so badly, but living vicariously through this post will hold me over for a bit I think haha. I love, love, LOVE the shot of you sitting on top of the column. These are all such great pictures of what must have been an unbelievable experience. Also, how young and cute are you guys!? #idie

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  12. I'm with Ali - I have yet to make my voyage across the pond but I hope I will someday soon! Peter's parents went to Italy 2 years ago for their 30th wedding anniversary and their pictures were just amazing! I loved all your pictures and reading about your experience!! :)

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  13. Isn't it wonderful how much world travel shapes your perspective on life?! And I love seeing how people in other cultures - even Europe, which we consider to be very much like us here in America - is so vastly different. I've not been to Rome yet, but my favorite European city is Prague. Amsterdam was pretty rad too, but Prague was just on a whole different level. My sister and I went when I was only 20 and stayed for 3 weeks. To this day, that is one of my favorite trips and best memories with my sister!

    I lived in Paris for a while, and wouldn't recommend it to anyone (I know, I'm the only American woman who dislikes Paris...) and my other advice would be to seriously save some $$ if you're going to spend any time in London. That city nearly broke my bank account!

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  14. You were the cutest! I was fortunate to go to Italy during college too, actually with a classics course, so we probably would have been friends, haha. Rome is such a remarkable place- I wish I had more clear memories of everything.

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  15. I would LOVE to go to Rome. I've been to Italy 3 times on skiing holidays, but not Rome. I'm sure I wouldn't appreciate it as much as you as I've not studied it that much and it's always more fun when you know a lot about a place.

    Corinne x
    www.skinnedcartree.com

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  16. Old architecture is interesting. The history that comes with it adds to its appeal. Rome is a great place to revisit the past so to speak. It's full of great historical places. Looks like you undoubtedly had a great time there, Tracy.

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