In March of 1999 I visited Rome. It was my first trip to Italy and I had a wonderful time. I stayed with my brother, who at the time was on a 3-year fellowship there to do research. He studies myths and religions and does comparisons between deities in various cultures. He also collects folklore: dying traditions and customs. Takes lots of photographs and films them as well. The latter part of his work is exciting. The former puts me to bed. Mille scusi, fratello!
Anyway, I had the most wonderful time. Bogdan (my step-brother — he’s pictured above) had his nose buried in dusty books at various libraries in Rome, while I literally walked through the entire Rome on foot, taking photos with my trusty little Canon Elph and consulting the map here and there. The Canon has since become unusable, because APS film is no longer available, but it did help me preserve the wonderful things I saw. Over the years, the photos gathered some dust themselves in my closet, till I finally decided to scan and share them online. Since I don’t have a scanner that will work with APS film, I scanned the photos themselves. I realize that’s a real step down in quality, and given the age of the prints, it really shows, but the digitized photos still serve to convey the beauty and history of the place. Plus, the aged paper gave a nice Sepia effect to the photos that I’d be hard pressed to reproduce in Photoshop.
While I really enjoyed Rome, my experiences with Romans were mixed at best. And I had breathing problems there as well, due to the pollution. But none of that could eclipse the sense of wonder and discovery I had every day as I planned out where I’d go, then get there and take photos. Maybe I’m biased, but I find today’s architecture pathetic. It’s disposable, ugly, flimsy and imitative. Few and far between are the buildings that make a statement. Well, in Rome, as in most European cities, you’ll have no shortage of good architecture. I think that’s what makes them so beautiful.
Here are several of the photos I took during my trip.