ROMA

 The Giardino degli Aranci, Orange Garden, Rome

ON AN EVENING IN ROMA

The summer-heat slowed walking paces to a stroll, and we took any opportunity to stop by a fountain and dip our scarves in, to wipe away sweat and then wrap the cooling fabric around our necks. The only respite for those mid-day-scorchers was a nap on shaded grass, or a gelato (or five). Then, as the evening began to cool the pavements, a special thing would happen... A large pizza-moon would rise over the city, urged on by a slight breeze, and vendors would appear on the ancient bridges selling grilled corn and butter. Memories of the clamorous art dealers, and of an impromptu fight in one small side street drifted through my mind, but in the evening everything seemed calm. All that existed was the hand of my partner in my own, my two feet walking, and each moment unfurling. Sometimes, during that week-long dream, I would hum the song that was on everybody's minds:

Como e’ bella ce’ la luna brille e’ strette
Strette como e’ tutta bella a passegiare
Sotto il cielo di Roma

How beautiful is the moonlight
Close together, embraced
Going around, take a walk
Under the sky of Roma
— DEAN MARTIN
 View of St Peters through the knights of malta keyhole, Rome 
 Cacti on a terracotta windowsill in Rome
 The tables of Gelateria del Teatro
 A beautifully painted interior courtyard in Rome
 flowers growing on the Vatican wall

A WEEK-LONG DREAM

Waking at five in the morning in a small convent on the edge of the city, then walking through the pre-dawn streets between the small delivery vans and the fruit sellers who open their doors so early.
The smell of sunscreen, and the knowledge that it is going get very, very hot!
Navigating the dusty suburbs using the flow of the river Tiber.
Cool wind between my toes, shoes off, legs swinging, sitting on a stone fence and watching the children of Trastevere kick around a deflated soccer ball.
Lines of laundry strung between windows in cramped alleyways..
Pink petals that fluttered down from vines above, and landed in my gelato.
Prickly pears and burnt sienna walls.
A storm of sorts brewing at lunch, with a bump against a table leading to a full blown fighting match in Italian swear-words. 
Lights drawn over the water from the dome of St Peters.
Riding that rattling, jangling bus every morning and every evening, and sometimes falling asleep before the suspension would snap us awake again.
A view over the umbrella trees.
The scooter drivers that live by their own rule-book.
Napping in an orange grove, the occasional thud of an orange falling to the ground.
Hilarious tan lines caused by socks. 
A vendor selling roasted chestnuts, his small paper cones piled into in an impossibly tall tower.
The disparity of the rich and the poor - a woman in heels talks on her phone while beside her a beggar-lady prostrates herself to the mercy of the public.
Offerings of flowers and hand-written notes in each tiny chapel.
Three men yelling as they try to heave a refrigerator into a truck without a ramp.
A quiet moment in the Piazza Navona, ringed by terraces that will later be filled with merry-wine-toasts. 
 Roadside paintings and the view of the Altare della Patria, Rome
 Fountain in the square of St Peter's Basilica
 The ceiling of the Pantheon in Rome, with a hole in the centre
 The Pantheon and fountain outside
 Looking out over Rome from the Giardino degli Aranci
 A roadside seller of roasted chestnuts, Rome
 Bridges near the Castel Sant'Angelo
 Pigeon near the Vatican walls, Rome
 Sunset in Rome over a nunnery and the trees