Once the power center of the world, the Eternal City shines and inspires anew if you take your time with it. (Just don’t order cappuccino afternoon.)
Author Joe Keohane Photography Mark Read
IT’S THE TREVI FOUNTAIN that does it. You’ll be strolling aimlessly around Rome’s alleyways at night, ideally with an almond gelato in hand, and all of a sudden, there it is: the Trevi, packed into an undersize square, the light off the water flickering up against the Baroque masterwork, gazed upon by young Roman lovers sharing bench space with tourists. It’s one of the city’s—which is to say one of the world’s—leading tourist attractions, but nothing can prepare you for the sensation of just happening upon it.
Many a Roman holiday has been ruined by outsize ambitions. It’s more important to feel it than to see it. In Rome—a single syllable that once encompassed the world—stylish businessmen wander down narrow mazelike streets originally trod by distant ancestors, and workaday Romans chat idly in the shadows of great monuments to lost power and faded glory. Here, the weight of history subtly imbues even the most pedestrian routines of city life. Three days here is all the evidence you need that though the Eternal City has lost its imperial reach, it has lost none of its power.