Weekly Photo Challenge: Urban

I was about to upload another photo of my secluded village and start yelling about how i hate big cities and people running like crazy, stepping on your toes, pushing you around and squeezing you in the metro. ( I think i yell a lot lately… i ‘ll check on that!)

And then i thought, wait a minute, i ‘ve traveled abroad in a big city (once), i might as well blog a bit about it! Yes, i haven’t traveled much. You guessed right, this is NOT another travel blog….!

Basilica di San’ Pietro

As a child i ‘ve spent all my summers surrounded by italians. Families who visited Greece every year and spent months in my little village. I remember Valeria bringing her own potted basil from Italy, Anna singing and dancing in the yard, Milena cooking green pasta and the men going fishing. So i always thought of Italians as passionate, beautiful people with strong personalities who looked like Greeks (una faccia, una razza).

Piazza di Spagna

And Then i visited Rome.

Me and my boyfriend only stayed for 3 nights so i didn’t have the time to see the real Rome. And even though i was pretty excited about this trip, at the end it felt quite….sad.


Rome is a breathing monument. Amazing work of art can be found in the middle of the street, you can walk into pieces of Bernini (piazza Navona), things that you can’t imagine were done by the hands of a man, like Michelangelo’s Pieta. You really see what’s left of another time, what Italians were capable of before todays urbanization….


Now i hear about people cutting pieces of the Pieta, i see tourists laughing and taking pictures in a church (where there are catholics praying) and others taking pictures of the Last Judgment in the Sistine Chapel, ignoring the fact that the camera flash can damage a painting. The fountain of Trevi is suffocated among buildings and people who work in cafeterias, in many cases unfortunately, were rather rude…

the Vatican, view from the top

I guess Greece is like that too. Known for its history and civilization, but time has caught us up and now there are just a few signs that magic was done here by true artists.

Still, there are places and corners you feel peace, feel like you know a place, and a country. I felt overwhelming in front of the Porta del Popolo and the twin churches, i saw the old Rome in Trastevere and a bit of Greece in the gardens of Villa Borghese.

statue of Ασκληπιός, Villa Borghese

Ponte Rotto, Tevere

I would visit Italy again and again. I ‘ve grown up with its language, its songs and tastes. The part of Italy i ‘ve met through its people must be hidden in there somewhere and eventually i am going to get to it! 🙂

88 thoughts on “Weekly Photo Challenge: Urban

  1. Great story and amazing photos!
    I wish to see Vatican; sad to hear that ‘some’ needs to R-e-s-p-e-c-t when visiting churches and places that passionately embraces the beauty of Arts, Cultures and Religions.

  2. I’m Italian. Mom and dad born there. Me, made there and brought here to enter the world. I fear there is more of the rudeness here as well. I walk down the street with my husband and ALWAYS complain, “why do I have to be the one to move over” as people pass us by. And hello or good morning or hi? It’s usually me first or else we pass like ships in the night, not a word passing between us. Things have changed. People rushing, not taking the time to acknowledge their fellow man ( or woman). Lack of respect from children, even the very young. Sign of the times? I refuse to follow suit. Ranting. I’m done!
    Love your photos.

    • Oh Gemma i soooo know how you feel!!!! I hate rude people!!! The fact that someone has a bad day doesn’t mean i have to put up his/her bad manners!!! I HATE it when people don’t return my “goodmornig”! I think though, that all this rushing of the big city has to do with our insensitivity. Still, that doesn’t mean we are allowed to act disrespectful!

  3. Η Ρώμη είναι μία μαγική πόλη! Αυτό το ξέρω καλά, αν και η ίδια δεν την έχω επισκεφθεί ποτέ :). Μου έχει μεταδώσει όμως την αγάπη του για αυτή ο φίλος μου. Έχουμε πολλές φορές συζητήσει να κάνουμε ένα ταξίδι-αστραπή εκεί… Μήπως τελικά ήρθε η ώρα; Πολύ ωραίο post! 🙂

    • Αλήθεια η Ρώμη είναι μια κούκλα! Να πάτε, όχι αστραπή όμως βρε παιδί μου…. από λίγο που έχω συζητήσει η Ιταλία έχει τόσο όμορφα μέρη, όχι τόσο τουριστικά όσο η Ρώμη! Πολύ θα ήθελα όταν έχω χρόνο (αρκετούτσικο) να τη γυρίσω! 🙂

  4. Your lovely photos remind me that it seems like forever since I was in Europe – with cool autumn weather soon to come I am already longing for the sun!

  5. Great Post. Even after being in NYC, Rome was a bit overwhelming at times. I blame the traffic. I do agree that every corner is like being in s new museum.

      • Great story and pictures.
        I am from Rome, and I got my driver’s license and learned how to drive and park my car (I am a respectful driver!) in Rome. Now I live in Maine and it is sooooo much easier to drive here. Every time I go back to Rome, besides the jet lag, it takes me three days to get adjusted back to the traffic and the drivers!!! It is even hard for a native to drive in Rome. I always recommend to non native Romans “Do not drive the car in Rome!”. Taking public transportation can be challenging at times, too, especially in the Summer. The most reliable means of transportation in Rome are YOUR FEET and comfortable shoes!

        • hahahaha! I know what you mean! Traffic in Greece like in Rome! Everyone drive the they like….. I found buses in Rome very helpful, with many routs and operating late hours! And of course you are so right about walking! The roads look like they were made to be walked! Plus you get to see so many beautiful sights walking! 🙂

  6. Great post – looks like you made the most of your 3 night stay 🙂 We went to Rome last year – taking our son to see the ancient buildings for the first time. I know what you mean about the poor behaviour of some tourists. I would never use a flash in a religous building – it shows a lack of respect for the beliefs of the community and does indeed damage paintings.

    I think you should visit Firenza and Sienna too – Both cities have very beautiful Duomo’s built at a time when the two city states were in competition with each other and many other wonderful works of art too. Of course…I should also extend an invite on London’s behalf 😉

    • Ideally i would love to visit every place in Italy, i have a thing with that country! 🙂
      Indeed we stayed in Rome just for 3 nights, but i had made a plan with every place i had to visit! So you can imagine, we were walking all day long! I enjoyed it! I can’t say the same for my boyfriend, i made him walk for kilometers, saying “come on, Piazza del Popolo is just around the corner!” 😛
      Thank you for the invitation my friend! London is another place i would love to visit! 🙂

  7. Love your pics and your points Ioanna…Italy is a great country…We have been many times and each of them we find new spots…I prefer to go out of season, and early in the morning, to the different places, to avoid the crowds….And just the contrary at night; I love the Italian way of life, so similar to the Spanish one!!!
    Try to visit it more!!!

  8. I agree that Trastevere was a delightful section of Rome — but I surprised myself by falling in love with Rome’s gritty, chaotic scene. Tucking away from the crowds down the side streets, watching the sun start to set from the Borghese Gardens overlooking the Piazza del Popolo, enjoying a leisurely dinner at a small sidewalk cafe on a beautiful summer night. Ah, I hope to return some day! ~ Kat

    • Awww…. you describe it so beautifully Kat…. Rome is indeed magical… And if you have much time to spend (and not just 3 days) it must be so much more beautiful, just walking around the streets… 🙂

  9. Great pics. I was in Rome a few years ago and loved it. Unfortunately, I was only there for two and a half days, not enough time to see more than but a drop of all there is to experience. Someday I’ll go back and spend at least a week, if not more.

  10. They say Greece is worse esp. Athens. I wish it doesn’t come to that point entirely in Rome.
    Easy rules, but since no one is policing, are bound to break
    I think I do break some sightseeing etiquette if there is ever a list of it.
    However, I do step away, or keep a good distance from my subjects. And I don’t ever use flash when I’m inside a church.

    • Well, Athens is not as beautiful as Rome….. that is for sure! And i am also sure that tourists reach out and touch the statues and other exhibits in the acropolis museum. The truth is it’s overwhelming to see such beauty so close to you, you gotta see how it feels. But come on, you can definitely take a picture without using flash. We just don’t care….
      I was in a Greek aquarium the other day, and they specifically say that we shouldn’t use flash, it’s bad for the fish. As you can guess several people did. And when i told them not to, they nodded “pffff it’s just fish!” No respect at all.

  11. What a very thoughtful post you have put together along with some wonderful photographs. I really enjoyed the “trip”. Thanks! 🙂

  12. Very thought provoking.. But like you have said, even though the tourism industry has taken over more than anyone would have liked, I think Rome and it’s people are still there and beautiful as ever. We just need to look a little deeper. 🙂

  13. A minute ago I saw a beautiful header of Colosseo…shame it is not fixed. Sweetie, I have a question… where does one check when somebody is online. Yesterday a friend noticed I have not be on WP for a couple of days, and once you told me I had been away for 6 days :S I don’t know where such infor is displayed…

talk to me! :)

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