Roman Spring

(click on pictures to enlarge)

View From Terrace of Villa D’Este

Where has the time gone? I seem to have slowed down even more than usual so it feels like the days go by faster. Any how, apologies to my readers for being so out of date with my posts.

I’m now back in Rome where spring is at its peak. It is sunny and warm during the day, with temperatures of 20 – 25C, and the air is filled with the fragrance of jasmine and orange blossom as the flowers are now in full bloom. The orange trees look very pretty as the oranges from last season are still on them as well as the new blooms.

No dinner on the balcony yet though, as it cools down quite a bit in the evenings. The Romans are used to these significant changes of temperature and have not yet shed their coats and boots, myself included, while the tourists are walking around in shorts and sandals. I’m sure they get chilled after the sun sets.

 

Audrey Hepburn/Gregory Peck in Roman Holiday

My return to Rome was more enjoyable than usual as there was a friend staying in my apartment so I came back to a fridge well stocked with food and a hot dinner. My first round of guests arrived from Dublin a couple of days later and we spent a week enjoying the city’s offerings. The highlight for Gerry was a scooter tour organized by Rent Scooter Roma. He lucked out as he was the only one on the tour and he had two young ladies leading him to the sights, 3 hours for Eur 100 which wasn’t bad. I was very nervous about him going on this tour as the traffic in Rome is a bit of a free-for-all but the girls looked after him well and he came back in one piece delighted with himself. No, that’s not him in the picture on the left but all the scooter rental companies seem to have the picture at their locations.

Artemisia, Goddess of Fertility

We went to Tivoli on a day trip to visit the Villa d’Este. The villa is a UNESCO World Heritage site presumably for its gardens which have extensive water features. It was built by Cardinal Ippolito d’Este,  the son of Lucretia Borgia, in the 16th century. Having failed a bid for the papacy, he was made Governor of Tivoli instead and being an extremely rich Cardinal, he proceeded to renovate his villa and build a magnificient terraced  garden filled with fountains and grottoes.  Tivoli was popular among the Romans and the Roman emperor Hadrian had built a summer villa in Tivoli during the 2nd cent. Ippolito proceeded to strip all the marble and statues of Hadrians Villa and transport them to Villa d’Este so the statues adorning the fountains are magnificent. I don’t believe the one on the left is one of these but it is spectacular. That the Cardinal would pick a goddess of fertility for his garden is surprising but he was apparently full of surprises. The gardens  were green and beautiful and of course all the water features were at their best since the natural water supply has not yet diminished as it will once the weather gets hotter.

Herbs on my Balcony

My guests have left and I’m now catching up with my household tasks some of which involve transferring documents from Loris’ name to mine. Sounds simple but nothing is simple here in Italy and everything involves numerous emails and visits to the appropriate office. To make matters worse, its all in legalese and since I can just about function in everyday Italian, I’m never sure that I’m interpreting things correctly. I’m lucky to have Loris’ brother and my friends helping me because I would have given up otherwise. In between these bureaucratic forays, I’m enjoying going for walks, breathing in the fragrant air, shopping in the market and planting my window boxes which Maggie urged me to do when she was here. Stepping out to pick fresh herbs for cooking is a daily pleasure. A few mint leaves in either hot or cold water makes a refreshing drink and reminds me of Morocco.  I could also make Mojitos to bring back memories of Cuba!

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