Using Dr. Ph. Martin’s Bleedproof White and a small watercolor brush, I made this map on my ticket from the Colosseum. During the trip my friend Ella and I stayed in the lovely little lake town of Bracciano. The white line connecting Bracciano to Rome shows the route the FR3 train takes into the city, which takes about an hour.
Things I like about Bracciano:
I. There is a medieval castle.
II. They host Renaissance festivals, one of which just happened to coincide with my 21st birthday.
III. Our humble abode. We found a place through Airbnb, renting from a couple of Italian documentary filmmakers who were sweeter than pistachio gelato. Pippo and Marina were incredibly accommodating and genuine. They even invited us over to their home in a neighboring town for a homemade four course meal. It was delicious. Our place was right in the heart of old Bracciano and we were living next door to Italian families going about their daily lives.
IV. FOOD. Without a doubt, the most delicious food that I have ever consumed was at the Vino e Camino restaurant in Bracciano. Soup: Chestnuts, leeks, and ham. Dinner: handmade pasta with pecorino cheese and black pepper for Ella and pumpkin and parmesan risotto for me. Dessert: pistachio gelato and napoleon with chantilly cream and chocolate drops. Dinner that night was nothing short of a religious experience.
V. This girl was there with me.
VI. The town is beautiful, no denying that. Bracciano is built on a hill, overlooking the pristine volcanic Lago di Bracciano. Life is slower in Bracciano, and I love that.
Things I dislike about Bracciano:
I. Well I haven’t been able to think of any, but I’ll keep brainstorming. Maybe the bathtub, it was not designed for a 6’3″ human.
Most days we hopped on the train to Rome. In its 2,500+ years of existence, the city of Rome has been home to many of the greatest achievements of the human race. With such history, we had much to see and it was nice having eight days to do so.
The perfect trifecta of pizza, pasta, and gelato sustained us through the long and arduous days of visiting masterworks of the Renaissance, exploring Roman ruins, soaking up sun in piazzas, and searching for more pizza, pasta, and gelato.
I have seen and heard about Rome all of my life; in first grade I learned about the gladiators battling lions in the colosseum, and as a freshman in college I studied the barrel vaults the gladiators walked through, preparing to face those wild beasts. Yet no book, photo, movie, or even the greatest teacher can recreate the sensation of running your hands against the cold travertine stone of the Colosseum. Experiencing a place with all of the senses is the beauty of travel. I am unbelievably lucky to have this opportunity to observe. Travel is a privilege that few people in this world have. I owe my friends, family, community, society, and the universe a massive show of gratitude.
Below are some photos that will probably fall short of accurately depicting what I consider to be some of the best days and nights that I have spent on the earth.