Without being a total cornball, my trip to Rome was what dreams are made of. It was like my own sequel to the Lizzie McGuire movie, sans the public humiliation and impersonation of Italian pop stars. In addition to all the amazing places and food I experienced, I got to share my last night in Rome with my
Paolo Giorgio. And let me tell ya, it was the kind of night I will never forget. 🙂
My second day in The City of Love
My mom and I went on a 4-hour walking tour of the Vatican (see my next post). Afterward she was exhausted (cancer sucks) so we went back to our AirBnB to nap for a bit before we headed to the Colosseum. Well, our nap turned into a six-hour slumber and I didn’t wake up until 1800 when I realized I had wasted half of my last full day in Rome sleeping. Mom was still too tired to do anything so we agreed we’d visit the Colosseum the next day before my flight back to London.
I let mom sleep as I wandered the drizzly, twilight streets to find somewhere that served spaghetti and meatballs, which was surprisingly difficult.
I stumbled upon Trattoria Elettra, where I indulged in a complimentary glass of champagne, a glass of red wine (which was cheaper than the water), bruschetta, the BEST spaghetti and meatballs I’ve had other than my grandma’s, and this heavenly chocolate mousse that I still dream about, four months later. But this storia d’amore isn’t about the food, amazing as it was.
As I was heading home after dinner
I found a gelato shop I hadn’t tried yet (surprise). Of course I had to check it out. To my happy surprise, it was also a wine bar staffed with two of the most handsome bartenders my American eyes had ever seen. So I ordered a gelato and a wine and took a seat. I caught them both looking at me and one of them asked where I was from. One guessed Germany, the other America.
When I told them where I was from Germany walked away and America (Giorgio) started chatting with me. Small talk. Asking what I was doing in Rome and how I liked it so far. I told him I loved it and that I hope to move there one day. We exchanged some English and Italian phrases, as we both wanted to learn each other’s language. And then he went back to tending the bar. A few minutes later he was at my table with a shot.
Unbeknownst to him, I don’t do shots. Haven’t done shots since freshman year of college. But he was handsome and Italian and I knew I had to take it. So I did. And I didn’t die. Giorgio brought me another glass of wine “on the house” a little while later and then another shot (this time vodka, baileys, and strawberry and it was not all that bad) – which I told him I would only take if he drank one with me. So he did. We continued chatting. I asked him for recommendations for places to visit the next morning and then I asked for my check. When he handed it to me he also gave me his business card and told me to text him if I needed anymore recommendations.
I’m not sure if it was the “solo travel courage” or the wine or what, but I asked him if he could share some recommendations by giving me a tour of the city when he was done with his shift. He said he got off at midnight and that he’d be happy to. He even gave me his umbrella so I could stay dry in the rain as I walked back to my AirBnB (swoon). When I got back I took another nap as I waited the three hours for Giorgio to finish work.
Around midnight, Giorgio called me to let me know he was off and I should head back to his bar, Binario 37
When I arrived, he had sandwiches and a bottle of the wine I had been drinking earlier. It had stopped raining by then so we walked and talked and he played some of his favorite Italian songs and we listened to the music while we strolled under the stars through the empty city streets. I felt like I was in a movie because it was so romantic, but the whole evening happened so organically that I knew that was how my night was meant to go. Eventually he asked if I wanted to take a ride in his “machine” as the places he wanted to show me were a far walk; he wanted to take me on his Vespa, but since the roads were still wet his “machine” was safer. Our first stop was the Altare della Patria. He explained some of its history but I’ve forgotten most of it except for what I’ve read on Wikipedia.
After the Altare he took me to il Fontana di Trevi, for the third time, but this time there was NO ONE there – perks of visiting at 2 in the morning. We sat on the stairs in silence enjoying the view. I was in awe; the Trevi Fountain is stunning at anytime of day. But being there, just me and Giorgio, drinking Italian red wine and eating cheese sandwiches, with nothing but moonlight and a couple of fixtures to light it all up was magical. And before we left he had me throw a coin over my shoulder, ensuring I’ll return to Rome one day (another swoon).
Next was the Scalinata di Trinità dei Monti, the Spanish Steps
Parking his machine was a bit of a hassle at the other two monuments because people usually walk there. But he had managed without issue. This time we weren’t so lucky. The entire area was off-limits to vehicles and as we were pulling up we got pulled over by la polizia. Then we noticed the area was heavily guarded by police and military officials and I almost lost it, worried I was going to end up calling my mom in the middle of the night from inside an Italian jail asking her to bail me out. Giorgio assured me we were fine – his dad was a police officer and it was probably just a misunderstanding. Well, it was a misunderstanding. Giorgio misread the sign that said no vehicles and was given a €60 traffic ticket. By that point, I thought the evening was ruined. I apologized profusely and offered to pay for the ticket since he wouldn’t have been there if it weren’t for me. He declined and told me it was worth it because he got to spend the evening with me (swoon x3). Although, as soon as the police officer handed him his ticket we left the Spanish Steps ASAP.
After our run-in with the law, our last stop of the night was il Colosseo e il Foro Romano and the Arch of Constantine. We couldn’t go in. But I didn’t need to. I was standing next to a piece of ancient history. All of my years in grade school I never imagined I would actually see the place where Roman kings sent gladiators to fight lions and each other. It was eerie but also beautiful. Imagining the skills and tools Ancient Romans needed to build this “magnifico” structure was just… wow. And just like the Trevi Fountain, getting to experience it with no one else around was incredible. No one blocking my view or bumping into me. Not worrying about pickpockets or walking in front of someone’s camera and ruining their picture – my mind and my soul were consumed with love and awe.
Love for the beauty Rome holds that I’ve never seen anywhere else. Awe at the detail in statues on random street corners. Awe for the rich history that seems to fill every square inch of the city. And love for Giorgio for making my last night in Rome the most wonderful night of my life.
Finally, a little before 0700 Giorgio dropped me back at my AirBnB, leaving each other with nothing but sweet memories of stolen kisses surrounded by extraordinary ancient buildings and works of art and empty promises that we’d see each other again in America or back in Rome. And I’m glad the evening-turned-morning ended like that. Because I will forever be able to look back on my time in Rome and think nothing but happy thoughts and remember the incredible time I had in The Eternal City.
Have you experienced a whirlwind romance of your own? How did you meet? Did you continue talking or building a relationship after your paths crossed? I wanna hear all about it!