Piazza Farnese

The final words uttered by anyone dying in Rome should be, “The Light!”

And, let me add, “The Trees!”  According to one Italian I spoke with, due to Rome’s quixotic and numerous city building regulations, it is extremely difficult to plan in a systemized way.  One result of this are significantly fewer trees planted in equidistant intervals along boulevards, and far more greenery springing from unlikely and random locations — from cracks in architecture, from between buildings, or spilling down from stone ledges above ornate, twelve-foot doorways.

On my last visit, a decade ago, I noticed Italy’s trees only as they soldiered up long, gravel roads or as they buoyed churches and monasteries in green.  But in Rome, it is the trees that are the hidden architecture.  The trees seem to shape the city and the traveler’s gaze.

Like many European cities, there are many symbols of history.  Urns placed along a terrace wall.  Large crests everywhere — an F at the Grand Hotel Flora, a G (and an intertwined V and S for some reason) on the Caffe Farnese window.

All of us, the trees, the letters, the people, waiting for the Light.

The light falls in Rome.  Like a benediction.


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