A nightly walk through ancient Rome

Our conversation is stalled by the sound of a countdown. Uno due tre. We turn our head and see six men lifting a car. What the..? Uno due tre. Another lift to move the Smart a couple of centimetres in reverse. And again. And again.

Sitting at the terrace of a wine bar opposite a small parking lot, we have front row seats to witness this absurd and typical Italian macho style spectacle. We are so surprised by the sight of this nightly scene that we forget to record it. But we shouldn’t be surprised really. The cars in Rome look like as if none will make it out undamaged. Scratches and bumps seem to be an inevitable result of slope parking on the small cobble stone streets of Italy’s capital city. The owner of this particular Smart has a bigger issue though. Not only has his or her car now been moved to the middle of the street (although neatly parked behind another car), the nasty surprise will be the impact the lifting an towing has had on it’s tyres and shaft. Serves him or her right?

No longer being served for sure are any other guests at the wine bar. All tables around us have been cleared, folded and stored away and the waiters are waiting for our cue to get us the cheque. Time for an evening stroll to another terrace, perhaps that of a cocktail bar?

Just half an hour later, our Bloody Mary’s are transferred into a plastic cup and we’re asked to hand over the cushion of the chair we’re sitting on. The waiters serving the terrace in front of the Pantheon didn’t bother telling us that they were about to close in five minutes, and we’re now the only ones left again – even the personnel has gone home. But hey, a plastic cup comes with freedom so we make for a stroll around the square with our cocktail on the go and even try a little dance in front of Pantheons’ porch.

The silence of the Roman night amazes us. During day-time the piazza is crowded with tourists admiring the former Roman temple turned into a Roman-Catholic church. At this hour the square is deserted except for a group of friends having a drink on the steps of the fountain while watching a young dog play fetch, and two odd girls dancing in front of a church at night (yes, that’s us).

Cocktails finished, we decide to go for a nightly stroll through Rome’s ages old streets that look like as if they are actually a movie set. The plastered walls, the shutters with cracked paint – it’s all the more charming due to it’s shabbiness. The cobble stone alleys are dimly lit, and its nightly peace is only broken by garbage men picking up the cities’ trash.

Sightseeing Rome at 2:30 is definitely something we’d recommend anyone who wants to see the city without all those crazy tourists swarming the pavements and alleyways. Quiet but still cosy in the yellow light, a relaxed night walk to your hotel makes for a perfect closure of your surely busy day of sightseeing.

On our way to the hotel, we pass Rome’s most famous fountain. The white marble of the Trevi Fountain graciously stands out in the night skies, the coins that have been thrown in by tourists glisten in the spotlights. A true film decor that is, it feels as if Anita Ekberg can appear here any moment now for the most famous scene of La Vita Bella. It’s just us here, able to take in a full view of this iconic Roman piece of architecture. Okay, let’s be completely honest, it’s just us there AND the two young woman smoking a cigarette on the steps, perfectly situated to take a picture of us.

Uno, due, tre: we throw a coin in the water, right hand over our left shoulder – now we know for sure we will return to Rome some day

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