There I am. My friend lives in an apartment overlooking the Colosseum.
I just have one thing to say about this city: Why do they have this habit of planting crosses everywhere something is erected? Anything with a pointing vertical extremity has been covered with a metal cross. But the real shock came when I came across this Pharaonic obelisk on piazza del popolo that not only was stolen from (what is called today) Egypt but was ridiculously dressed with a cross. Apparently it was brought to Rome by Augustine in 10 BC, and then ‘crossed’ and erected by Pope Sixtus V in 1589. Two epochs with similar motivations, yet surely with some differences i have no capacity to dwell on.
Whether they are copies or authentic pieces coming from the east, all obelisks have that in Rome. Wait, why obelisks in Rome? Imperialist fantasies on unearthed dead ‘civilization’ couple with a phallic obsession that is instantly gentrified. Anyway, one can indulge in so many interpretivist analyses here.
Else than that, tourists roam in a city that was built on violence. Tourists are enchanted by constructions, buildings, architectures that all symbolize war (commemoration of battles), security struggles in the process of State hegemonic apparatuses, and imperialist (or colonial) quests.
The only good thing about Rome is its trees. Please can we have trees in Beirut? And not those controlled by Solidere’s security guards. The modern enterprise is so inefficient when it comes to create future public spaces (say Solidere). What you need is a State of War with immensely rich aristocrats building villas in the capital with huge gardens that then become State property.