Again, let me express how wonderful Rome can be. As I said in my last post, each day in Rome we just kept walking until our feet refused to take us further. I can’t remember a moment when we weren’t 110% fascinated by the sights, smells, and stories all around us.
And then, there’s Rome at night.
Let me pontificate a minute. I’m a big fan of third spaces. For instance, I’m writing this from a coffee shop. But America is late to the third space game. Even with our coffee shop culture we struggle to feel at ease in public. There are few places where we go to just BE. This is especially true in the evenings when coffee shops close, restaurants do everything they can to get turnover, and bars get so loud you can’t hear yourself think, let alone hear your companions talk. By contrast, many European cultures thrive through their third spaces. London has its pubs. Paris has its cafes. In these spaces you can come and go at your leisure. You can be social or you can be alone. They are places to relax and to smell the roses.
And Rome? Well, Rome has piazzas. Piazza Navona, Piazza di Santa Maria (well, really all of Trastavere), and Campo di Fiori, among others. These open spaces in the middle of the city fill up at night with people of all ages coming to watch street performers, eat and drink in the cafes that line the square, and soak up the thrilling atmosphere. I treasure our evenings in Rome sitting by fountains to people-watch, and seeing the sunlight turn from gold to pink to purple, slowly yielding to the soft yellows and reds from lights in the homes and restaurants. Magical. That’s the word. Magical.