As if winter were an old overcoat, Rome has shrugged it off in the last few weeks to bask in the seductive warmth of spring. Her skin glows in the sunlight, peach, orange, marble white, and terracotta brown. The scent of Rome, pleased with herself, at home in the sun, is fresh and inviting. She wears cherry trees along her streets and she lets her grass grow in the parks, festooning her body with daisies.
Rome fills her churches and museums with art, Alma Tadema’s explosion of feminism, Caravaggio’s mysterious shadows and the romance of Rodin, all the better to attract, ensnare, seduce. Rome is a flirt and she loves to talk to strangers. The buses and the metros, laden with tourists from all over the world, convey their passengers past the great monuments that, having slumbered under cloudy skies, shrunken against the cold, now burst forward, their shapes crisp and weighty against the smooth bowl of the sky.
The people of Rome are still wary. Last year at this time, rain still cloaked the city in gray, and we have only just emerged from Marzo Pazzerello, or “crazy little March.” One day it will be sunny, and the next, gusts of cold wind will be making you regret not bringing your long coat.
Last week, the seasons fought for half an hour when bright sun was replaced by torrential rain and pounding hail. As I crossed the street, umbrella battered and dripping, I saw the drops of rain illuminated by the same bright sunshine of an hour before, so that instead of water, the sky seemed to be emptying itself of liquid light dropping down to earth, texturing the roads with the illuminated splashes of each drop. People sheltered under umbrellas and the shades over shop windows, watching the sky dispense its (hopefully) last great storm. Some people were in sandals and skirts, others were still in overcoats and scarves.
Rome recovered from the shower, dried herself off, and, newly clean and inviting, proudly posed for her picture.
Romantic Exhibits for spring that are on my list…
Rodin: The marble, the life
Where: the Museo Nazionale Romano at the Baths of Diocletian: Viale E. De Nicola, 79
When: Until May 25th
How Much: €10
Alma Tadema and the British Painters of the 19th Century
Where: The Cloisters of Bramante: Via Arco della Pace, 5
When: Until August 31st
How Much: €13
Where: Scuderie del Quirinale: Via XXIV Maggio 16
When: Until July 13th
How Much: €12