They say all roads lead to Rome, and sure enough, our honeymoon concluded where it began: the Eternal City.

The finale turned out to be quite a wrap-up for our adventure.

I’d been interested in Rome for years, mainly for the historical sites. The Coliseum, the Pantheon, the Vatican, the Sistine Chapel, and St. Peter’s Basilica were all phenomenal — all totally exceeded my expectations. Probably the most awe-inspiring moment was walking into St. Peter’s and accidentally being there for a Catholic mass.

Why yes, that IS the Coliseum right across the street from our restaurant…

I confess, I was eagerly anticipating Rome for two reasons unrelated to the city itself: some new friends from Florence were meeting up with us, and so were some long-time friends from the Netherlands and Canada. And for bonus fun, the two from Canada were a surprise that I’d worked up for Sal.

Outside of the outstanding company and the breath-taking history around us, Rome was… Fine. It often felt like New York with an Italian accent. The very thing that I was most excited about — exploring the urban metropolis — was the least compelling part of the trip. It lacked the charm¬†of many of the other parts of Italy that we really cherished.

Don’t get me wrong: I liked Rome, but I’m not sure I’d be hugely excited about going back anytime soon. I certainly wouldn’t say no, but there are other places (coughFlorencecough) that would tempt me far more.

As I said, it was an appropriate wrap-up. It incorporated many of the things that I love about Italy — the history, the people, and oh god the food and wine — along with dear friends from around the world. By the end of the trip, though, we were just ready to get back home.

And on that note, I now have nine hours’ worth of movies to watch on the plane back home. By the time you read this, we’ll be back in the States and missing our daily gelato, plotting our return to Italy.

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