Travel in Rome Italy: vacation rentals in Italy, villa rentals, Rome Italy hotels

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Destinations - First person reports from the world's best international travel and adventure travel destinationsWorld Travel Destinations in Italy

Great Travel Destinations in Italy - European Cities Tour

Italy Travel Destinations - Rome, Italy

by Wade Rowland - Part 2

The restaurant was called Il Desiderio Preso per la Coda, which means something like "desire captured by the tail". It turned out to be only a block or two from the second-century Pantheon and the church of Santa Maria sopra Minerva where Galileo was tried by the Inquisition in 1633.

The food was good and, for Rome, inexpensive. Over a second bottle of Vino di Scansano I asked our cosmopolitan companions how they thought Rome compared to Paris. They did not hesitate: "No contest." It was not simply the depth and richness of the historical surroundings, they said, but the vibrancy of life in the city.

Some might call it anarchy. An enduring picture of Rome, for me, is a pretty young woman in a skimpy black sheath and sling-back heels chatting animatedly on her cell phone while smoothing her hair and checking her makeup in the rear view mirror of her Yamaha scooter. She then rockets off with the green light into the bedlam of traffic on the Via del Corso. No helmet, of course; no driver's license, either. You don't need one to drive a scooter in Rome.

The morning after our dinner, speeding down the Corso de Francia on our way to the airport we saw a scene that must be repeated dozens, scores, of times a day all over the city. A Fiat Uno cheekily poked its front quarters out of a cross-street in the accepted technique for inserting one's vehicle into the traffic flow, and was promptly smacked by a scooter speeding down the meter or so of open real estate between the curb lane vehicles and the curb itself.

Whap! The scooter rider did a loop-the-loop through a shower of plastic and chrome, landing neatly, almost gracefully, on his rump, while his mangled Vespa bounced up onto the sidewalk. His briefcase landed beside him and sprang open. He looked at it and then at the car, while the driver rolled his eyes skyward and lifted his right hand, palm upward, in a silent questioning of Divine wisdom: "I needed this ?"

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