It was my wife Marion’s first trip to Italy, and by chance, I found a room in a small boutique hotel centrally located to all the great attractions – there was so much I wanted her to see! As we pulled-up to this charming tiny piazza that first morning, I was thinking how the Eternal City has this aura, a mystique that truly makes it special – it just never seems to disappoint! Our driver grabbed our luggage from the trunk and bid us farewell – “Arrivederci!” The entrance to the hotel was on the second floor of a quaint-looking building situated right at the corner. Eager to start the day, we checked-in, stored our belongings and off we went!
After a busy day of sightseeing (and fighting the crowds), our room back at the hotel provided a much needed respite - it was elegant (yet simple), very well-kept and spotlessly clean. It had two glass doors that opened to a beautiful window overlooking the piazza below – it was literally right at the corner! I called over to my wife –“Mar, come here – you have to see this!” In front of us were four confluent stone streets surrounded by ancient buildings with flower-boxed, shuttered windows and beautiful flowing green vines – just down the block we could see a peaceful courtyard in front of a small church. The area around the piazza was a restricted traffic zone – so there weren’t any cars! At one corner, there was a small restaurant lined with white cloth tables and umbrellas – a host was greeting passersby with a polite “Buon giorno.” Just across the street was a small food market, and through the door we could see a case filled with a variety of cheeses and Italian meats! I pulled over a few chairs and a small table and said – “be right back.” I ran across the street to the market returning with some parmesan reggiano cheese, prosciutto and a bottle of red wine – and there we sat. At dusk, candlelit tables along the stone streets created a wonderful sense of intimacy as couples, families and friends began the evening passeggiata (stroll). Occasionally someone would look-up and wave – we’d hold up our glasses, nod and wave back – I can’t remember a more memorable evening in Rome!
After three wonderful days, it was time to move-on to our next destination – our taxi had arrived and was waiting downstairs. As I helped Marion into the back seat that morning, I turned and looked-up at the window of our room one last time. I’d made a wonderful discovery - I found a place where my wife and I could just sit back and “take in” our extraordinary surroundings while talking about all the good things in our lives. It was a place where we felt like a part of the city, not just like visitors – and it was down a quiet side street away from all the hustle and bustle. It was a window that overlooked a small piazza right at a street corner – a street corner in Rome.