We ditched the kids today and headed off into Rome ourselves. It’s amazing how effortless sightseeing is without two whining, squabbling kids in tow. I’d forgotten!
Our first stop was the Palazzo Doria Pamphilj, a private home that’s been in the same princely family since the 1640s. For someone like me, who prefers simplicity and coziness, the lavishly decorated rooms and emotionally overwrought paintings got a 10 on the hideous scale, but I realize that my reaction is idiosyncratic.
Despite the assault on my senses, I found the tour delightful. For one thing, it was fun to see how the richest of the rich lived in Rome. For another thing, the audio tour (included in the ticket price) was narrated by the current prince, who has a lovely voice and a nice repertoire of family anecdotes.
I appreciated the Prince’s story about the scolding he and his sister got when they were caught rollerskating on the ancient tile floors, which are still polished I’m the ancient way, with beeswax. It made this lavish palace seem like a living, breathing home — and, indeed, Doria Pamphilj family, although it seems to be based in England, still lives there periodically.
From the Palazzo, we simply wandered around, admiring Rome’s endless blending of old and new. Along the way we stumbled into the Jewish Quarter, which boasts a beautiful synagogue. We didn’t have time to go in, so we were left wondering how such a lovely structure survived Nazi depredations.
This is my third visit to Rome, and I continue to like the city. This is actually somewhat rare for me, as I usually find European cities too overwhelming to enjoy. Rome, though, has a warm and friendly feeling that’s very endearing. We’re back on board ship now, heading for new and interesting ports, but I look forward to our final port of call which is, once again, Rome.