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November 28, 2016


Empires pass. But often the things of beauty they have made survive. I find this a consoling thought at the moment.

My best wishes to you, Beth.

Great photos and text, Beth, makes me nostalgic, especially for that Roman light, which you're absolutely right about - it's unique and gives the ochre red colour of many buildings an almost supernatural glow. Your photo of the Trastevere street where you stayed looks identical to one where we lived years ago, in a rooftop apartment. Maybe it was the same street? Can't remember the name of it now.

I am loving your thoughtful travelogue!

Empire was simply the way it was done then; thus must I shrug my shoulders at the thought of India. But I think the Monty Python team summed up those copyists, appropriators, imitators rather well in The Life Of Brian:

Reg: They've bled us white, the bastards. They've taken everything we had, not just from us, from our fathers and from our fathers' fathers. And what have they (the Romans) ever given us in return?

Xerxes: The aqueduct.

Reg: Oh yeah, yeah they gave us that. Yeah. That's true.

Masked Activist: And the sanitation!

Stan: Oh yes... sanitation.

Reg: All right, I'll grant you that the aqueduct and the sanitation are two things that the Romans have done...

Matthias: And the roads...

Reg: (sharply) Well yes obviously the roads... the roads go without saying. But apart from the aqueduct, the sanitation and the roads...

Another Masked Activist: Irrigation...

Other Masked Voices: Medicine... Education... Health...

Reg: Yes... all right, fair enough...

Activist Near Front: And the wine...

Omnes: Oh yes! True!

Masked Activist at Back: Public baths!

Stan: And it's safe to walk in the streets at night now.

Francis: Yes, they certainly know how to keep order... (general nodding)... let's face it, they're the only ones who could in a place like this.

Reg: All right... all right... but apart from better sanitation and medicine and education and irrigation and public health and roads and a freshwater system and baths and public order... what have the Romans done for us?

Xerxes: Brought peace!

I trust you got around to St Cecilia. Had I known you were in the area I might have emailed you a votive offering (even if secular) to pass on as thanks for the width and breadth of her empire. Since my previous comment my teacher has introduced me to Dowland's "Time stands still" and my knees are presently like jelly.

Cooking too! And buying bargain rice! Definitely not just passing through!

Love experiencing your trip and your interpretation and thoughts. Great photos!

Beautiful, subtle photos interspersed with gentle, knowledgeable ponderings - what greater pleasure could there be? Looking forward very much to more of your Rome diary, Beth - so long since I was last there!


We stayed on Campo dei Fiori when we were there in 2006. It's wonderful to relive the trip through your pictures.


Can't resist repeating what I've said so often before, whenever I've read one of your marvellous travel diary posts, accompanied by the stunning photos you and Jonathan take:

It is a book just waiting to be assembled. Do it! If Phoenicia doesn't publish it, I imagine there would be quite a few others very interested.

SO worth waitihg for Beth and I enjoyed looking at it again and admiring the ghosts of the light you describe!

Lovely photos. I have been to all these places and remember them so well!

Since 'the gods' are a construct, you could still stand in their presence should you wish. Much better than electing a demigod, I'd say. The photos are exquisite- both the grand vistas and small details, thank you.

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