I'm getting ready for my third night here in Rome, and my head is overflowing with experiences. It's all too much to recount here, but I've done and seen a lot. I've wandered through ancient ruins (and ancient here means B.C. as well as A.D. ancient). I've been inside the Roman Colosseum, looked up at the Sistine Chapel (and it's worth the trip just for that view), looked down the length of St. Peter's Basilica, and stood under the dome of the Pantheon. I've eaten all kinds of pizza and gelato, and I've given lots of Italians blank looks and asked, in Italian, if they knew English when they asked me something in Italian.
What really made me fall in love with Rome, though, was a bicycle trip. I went on a bike trip with an Italian guide, a man from Germany, a woman from Australia, and a woman from San Francisco. The five of us spent four hours on the bikes, going on busy streets and back streets. We went down cobblestone paths and up to vistas overlooking the city. We passed all kinds of sidewalk restaurants, and we even looked through the Keyhole of Rome. I can't tell you how full my heart felt riding through Rome.
I've noticed Italians will say a word in all kinds of situations. They'll say, "Prego." I couldn't figure out what it meant, because they seemed to say it in different circumstances. I checked, and I was right that it means many different things. Sometimes it means "Please," sometimes it means, "You're welcome," and sometimes it means, "I pray." The Florentine says, "Because we really are talking about a magical word. It's not just “please.” It also means “you're welcome,” and almost everything in between." So as I drift off to sleep tonight I'll think of riding a bike through Rome, and I'll wonder what it means when they say, "Prego."
"In drawing up its regulations, we hope to set down nothing harsh, nothing burdensome." - Rule of St. Benedict