Saturday, 28 March 2015

I Anticipate A Holiday

In preparation for my Roman holiday, I've just Googled, 'What do Romans do?'  The first result starts like this: 'Some things Romans did for fun were horrible.'  Having watched Russell Crowe fighting his way to a dubious and vengeful moral victory in Gladiator yesterday evening, I couldn't agree more.  

The next result of my inquiry discusses the Roman invasion of Britain.   This makes me remember that I've never visited the site of the fourth largest Roman city in Britain, Wroxeter.  Wroxeter is just outside Shrewsbury, where I've lived for over twenty years.

The third: 'Your stay in Rome is all about your state of mind.'  I'm still thinking about that one.

The original saying which prompted my search: si fueris Romae, Romano vivto more ...  When in Rome do as the Romans do ... has been attributed to St Ambrose, to St Augustine, and to other purveyors of such wisdom.  If I follow this advice, based on my experience as a Londoner who's never been to Madame Tussaud's, I probably won't visit the Sistine Chapel, the Spanish Steps, the Trevi Fountain, or even the Coliseum, arena for many of the horrible things Romans did.

What I might do is sit around in cafes with my sons, anticipating a bowl of pasta, noticing the latest trends in Italian fashion, imagining Keats, here but dying, drinking 'a beaker full of the warm south', enjoying dolce far niente - the sweet Italian art of doing nothing.

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