Our first views of Rome are from a shuttle bus, but it's enough yo make us laugh like children. we've really done it. We're really on the other side of the world.
It's both like and unlike the states: Marriot and Toyota abut ancient villas which still sport huge garden plots and small herds of sheep.
I read somewhere that the Romans love flowers, and so far from what I've seen it's true of plants in general. Every villa outside the city has a garden plot, and even the apartment balconies within it overflow with containered gardens.
The city itself is a strange mix of old and new: old buildings surrounded by Mercedes and Fiat, Peugout and brands i've never even heards of. The drivers are aggressive but oddly polite: it's clear that they know where they're going and brook no dilly-dallying, but there's also none of the obliviousness to other drivers that you see in the States. Mopeds and motorcycles outnumber cars almost, and the tiny vehicles zip through traffic, riding the center line between our huge buss and Mercedes vans with apparent fearlessness. It's intimidating but also fills me
with jealousy. I miss Skya fiercely, and if I ever travel Europe alone, it will be by bike.
The ancient Romans, I read, hid their homes behind high villa walls, and it seems that their descendants hace chosen to keep the tradition where possible. Every larger home has a wall in front, even if that wall is only a single meter from the front door. The anthropologist in me suggests that that this may be indicative of the culture: my assumption is that once a Roman invites you into their home and past the walls, that it is significant.