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  • Writer's picturecaryn baumgartner


Updated: Jul 25, 2018

Rome….cradle of civilization, fashion and fine Italian gelato.

It was many years ago that I traveled the 15-plus hours to reach Italy, barely surviving the cracked-out-on-sugar 8 year-old swinging from the ceiling next to me, mother conveniently hiding under a flimsy blue airline blanket.

Never having been to Italy, my mom and I decided a tour was the best way to see it.  Three days in and we were ditching the group whenever possible. While we couldn\’t avoid the bus as it was our means of transportation, we could avoid the pre-planned restaurants that were unbelievably disappointing–watered down Italian dining seemingly focused on appealing to a bland, American palette.

We had an otherwise wonderful trip and happened upon the “real” Italy through our escapes. Including an other-worldly moonlight concert of a lone violinist playing within the columns of the Pantheon. Away from the group, my mom and I discovered the perfect Bolognese, stuffed squash blossoms and Sangiovese in the tucked-away cafe\’s scattered throughout the city.

We wisely opted out of the Leaning Tower of Pisa tour for our own side excursion to Siena. Our reward? Seeing the Pope drive by not 15 feet from us, safely ensconced in his Pope-mobile.

While I have, literally, hundreds of photos from this trip (including the Pope waving), the photos I enjoy the most are of the found art scattered throughout the city on walls, buildings, overpasses and bins.


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