All roads lead to Rome.
This week they have anyway, as the city has played host to a number of important visitors.
Last week, the President of the United States himself, Barack Obama was in town, while yesterday our head of state, Queen Elizabeth, and her hubby Prince Phillip also paid an official visit to the Italian capital.
Sandwiched in between those two tours of note, another couple dropped in to Roma to sample its delights. Yes, The Boy and I spent a glorious long weekend in the Eternal City, and while the Pope may not have pencilled us into his diary, the rest of the city welcomed us with open arms.
Having visited with Momma S several years ago, one had already seen the sights - the Vatican, Sistine Chapel, Colosseum, Roman Forum, Pantheon, Trevi Fountain... tick, tick, tick.
And while, naturally, I hadn’t forgotten the grandeur, nor the feeling of shock and awe as you stumble across yet another perfectly preserved 2,000-year-old relic, it had slipped my mind just how friendly and respectful the city’s inhabitants are.
Perhaps I’ve become a little too cynical after a year living in the Smoke, but it really is amazing how much difference a smile and friendly word can make when faced with the hustle and bustle of a foreign city. (Londoners, take note.)
Fair enough, the Italian language is so lyrical that for all I know people could have been singing abuse at me, but as far as I’m aware, not a bad word was said. And respectful, not just of other people, but of the surroundings in which they live.
I’ve walked past buildings built in the 1980s in worse nick than the Colosseum, completed in 80AD and home to some of the bloodiest ‘sporting’ battles seen to man.
One (or hundreds of thousands as the case may be) can still walk in the footsteps of Gladiators and get their own little taste of Ancient Rome. Before sitting down to a plate of homemade fettuccine and a bottle of Piermonte. Just as Maximus Meridius would have done, I’m sure.
Three days of letting my inner-child’s imagination run wild was just not enough, and yours truly returned with a serious case of the Roma blues.
They didn’t last long though, not after one started planning her next visit. I’m sure Barack and the Queen are doing the same thing...