I lived in Rome for 16 years. I augmented her citizens by two when I gave birth to Lehua and Cristoforo, my daughter and my son who still live there. Although I am essentially a Hawaiian woman, the 21 years I lived traveling around the world have formed who I am today. I have two homes: Hawaiʻi and Rome.
Rome is so many things in my mind, but she is quintessentially female. She is an aristocrat decked out in the beauty of her fountains, parks, and belle arti. She is an aging courtesan with an interesting past. She is a young woman discovering the power of her femininity for the first time.
It is a sensual city full of sounds, odors, visuals, and foods to be savored.
During the Spring, the historical center is pervaded by the distinctive fragrance of the False Chestnut trees lining the Tiber river. The weather is as fickle as Roman politics. Huge vases of flowers along with youths line the stairs of the Spanish Steps. Skirts are suddenly shorter and necklines are lower.
The coming of Summer brings with it hoards of tourists and San Pietrini cobblestones baking in the sweltering heat. Italians and tourists alike sit at street-side tables. Conversation is punctuated by laughter and the clattering of dishes being served or taken away: pomodori al riso, pizza, spaghetti alle vongole. Cars crawl past the restaurant tables crowding the narrow streets while moped zing.
Fall is my favorite season there. It is gourmet heaven: Mushrooms,Truffles, and Monte Bianco dessert. It is finally cool enough to enjoy heartier dishes: amatriciana, carbonara, straccetti, bistecca fiorentino, patati arrosti, polenta con salcicce. A gastronomic litany for the palate.
In the Winter, the rain renders the cobblestones slick and unlocks the scent of history embedded in the cracks between them.The perfume of roasting chestnuts sold by street venders mingles with the odor of fireplaces and hovers in the cold air.
Ah, Roma. Ma quanta sei bella. You are so beautiful. I shall see you soon, once again.