In Rome, Italy

It has been a while since my last update… I feel like it’s been a difficult time for everyone and an unpredictable time too!

Since February (depending on where you live in the world) there have been various types of restrictions placed on our lives. Whether it’s been a full lockdown, semi-lockdown or other rules and regulations imposed. 

I was beginning to feel like life was standing still for me and I felt like I was just sounding like a miserable and moaning ass to anyone I spoke to. So I decided to try and explore somewhere new in my pursuit to redirect my work focus because the dreaded virus has made business difficult.

As you will know, I have been running my concierge agency for almost 4 years and as much as I love it, I am not sure if it’s my future; which is kind of hard to admit or accept. If I break things down to understanding what it is I love about what I do, in it’s simplest form, I just love helping people. 

Something I really miss though is being part of a team and part of a shared journey…so I decided to take a leap of faith and head to Italy to explore more about the country my family originate from and also to connect with the football industry folk here. Football and sport in general has always played a huge part in my life. I thought (and I think my parents hoped) I would grow out of it and be more grown up, whatever that even means, but no, football is here to stay. I think it may even be like one of those corny sounding lines where a career picks you, you don’t pick it. 

SO anyway…I flew to Italy October 8th and decided there were a few people I would attempt to meet with and places I wanted to visit. Rather then use this latest blog to talk about all the places I have visited, on this occasion I am just going to concentrate on Rome.

Having reached almost 40 years old (yes almost! …gifts welcomed by the way) I felt like I had this need to visit Rome. I had never been to the capital of Italy despite both my parents being Italian. So I headed to the big city armed with some comfy walking sneakers.

Now, please bear in mind I am not an irresponsible traveller and that before flying to Italy the UK government guidelines had no restrictions on heading there and vice-versa. However the day before I flew, the Italian government decided to put in place compulsory covid test on arrival (or within 48 hours of arrival). So when I landed in Turin my cousin had managed to book me into a private clinic to have the nasal corona virus test done. Not pleasant, but necessary. Now, although it cost me €85 I had the test administered at 6:30pm and had my (negative) result at 10pm the same evening, which I feel like was money well spent so I knew the people around me were safe….and also meant I couldn’t get on my merry way.

I arrived in Rome and had been told lots about the famous dish of spaghetti cacio e pepe which is apparently a must when you go to Rome. I made sure my first evening in the capital I hunted out a restaurant serving this recommended plate so I could see what all the fuss was about. I am pleased to report it was definitely worth having! It was very rich though with the cheese flavour really having a kick to it, so not something I would want all the time but for sure something that was a tasty experience.

Covid rules wise when I arrived in Italy was that restaurants and bars had to close at midnight, which having flown in from London where a 10pm curfew was in place didn’t actually seem that bad.

My first morning in Rome I decided to walk to the Colosseum. On my walk to the historic landmark I was feeling so grateful, not only for the blue sky and sunshine but to just be able to be out and about for my own mental health. I felt instantly lifted being away and safe.

Here are a few photographs I took whilst visiting the Colosseum. It’s an incredible structure and amazing to think in it’s history it held 50,000 to 80,000 spectators in the amphitheatre.

After wandering round the jaw dropping landmark and literally staring at it from every angle the next place on my list to visit was The Vatican. So I walked from the Colossem, through Piazza Navone (another beautiful spot) until I reached the Pope’s residence.

Again, breathtaking buildings that I just couldn’t take my eyes off. It was a little eerie. There was hardly anyone there – like much of Rome at present. A couple more photographs for you and little video.

Next on my list of landmarks to see was Piazza Di Spagna aka Spanish Steps. I actually got told off by the police when I had this photograph taken as I was unaware you are not allowed to sit on the steps! I managed to avoid receiving a fined and get a semi-decent pic.

The monumental stairway of 135 steps was built back in 1725 and at the top of the steps the Trinita Dei Monti Church. It felt so romantic here, helped by the fact I saw a newly married couple walking on the steps together just before sundown, truly beautiful. 

I continued my epic walk by heading to the Trevi Fountain. Apparently the Trevi is usually so packed full of people you can’t even get anywhere near it…but like everywhere else it was quiet so I was fortunate to get a stunning view of the largest Baroque fountain in the city and one of the most famous fountains in the world. I threw in a couple of coins. According to legend you toss one coin in to return to Rome, two coins to return and fall in love, three coins to return, find love and marry…..ha ha I won’t tell you how many coins I threw in…

Then finally after the Trevi Fountain I walked to the Pantheon. This was built between 25 and 27 BC and was a temple dedicated to the twelve Gods and the living Sovran. I am not sure if the photographs do it justice. I am not sure if any of my photographs do this incredible city justice. You can see how few people were around though.

I managed to walk 22km on my first day in Rome and the steps continued to increase throughout my time there. I repeat my earlier message, take comfortable footwear and really explore the city as much as possible by walking it.

I feel incredibly fortunate to have been able to travel to Rome and experience it without crowds. For me Rome is full of wonder. I have totally fallen in love with this incredibly extraordinary city. I would highly recommend when and if it’s safe to travel from wherever you are reading this from that you take a trip to this magnificent place. I would love to know where you are reading this from by the way so please send me a note on there or Instagram, Twitter or Facebook!

On my final day in Rome there was a government announcement changing the rules again due to covid cases still not being under control. The midnight curfew in some parts of Italy was changed to 6pm. Now daily life becomes a little more difficult as Italians are well known for their social activities and daily aperitivo’s. Some places such as gym’s have been closed completely. These rules are to be followed until November 24th and reviewed then. As I write this we are actively in a semi-lockdown. My BA flight home to London has been cancelled and I am not actually sure when I will go home yet. Plus there is a quarantine rule in place. Who knows where is safest to be….I will just have to figure that out as the information changes so frequently. 

I am trying to just embrace this experience and take as many positives from it as I can, although it is tougher some days than others. I am still in pursuit of something which I have been unable to achieve yet….and I may not get there on this occasion, however I will continue on the journey until I feel it’s either the right time to give up OR I reach my goal…. 

Thanks for taking timeout to read this latest edition. Apologies it’s taken a while. Please let me know what you would like to see/hear more of. Is it the interviews? the travel? the venues? Get in touch!

Ciao for now

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