This weekend, my friend Marina arranged for herself, her roommate Emily and I to stay in a B&B that her family has been going to for years. Zagarolo is a little medieval town just outside of Rome. It used to be a major neighborhood for the Roman Empire, but nowadays it’s more of a sleepy Italian suburb. Our little room is cozy, but the best part is the man who runs the B&B, Evano. He really should be a college professor with everything he knows about his town and his country’s history, but he’s content with playing a part in local politics and giving tours to his visitors. Last night, he took us on a night tour of Rome, and he meant night. We met at 12:30am, were in Rome by 1, and we didn’t get back to Zagarolo until 7am. It sounds crazy, but the city really is completely different at that time. Evano showed us “his city” the one he grew up in for 37 years before moving Zagarolo. He showed us some of Rome’s best known tourist traps, but from his point of view. And alone and at night, they really didn’t seem like tourist traps at all.
Here are the same places I visited last time I was in Rome, plus the Vatican, but last night they were brand new to me.
Evano taught us about the hidden treasures of the city, and of course he swore us to secrecy, but one perspective is too amazing not to share. This is the Pantheon, which in its entirety looks like a beautiful but average Roman temple. But a closer look at the size reveals just how difficult it must have been to create such a huge structure. It took all three of us, Emily, Marina and I, to wrap our hands around one enormous pillar. These pictures were taken to show my view looking up from the massive pillars at the front of the building, and I think they show just how awesome this 2000 year-old temple really is.