I don’t know how to begin– I don’t know how to describe my feelings clearly– I also don’t know how to end. I will treat this dedication to the Castelli Romani like a toast at a wedding: awkward, but hopefully the meaning is understood in the end.
The communes surrounding Rome are home to the most generous people in the entire world. I have spent the past 4 weeks eating food so good I have no words to articulate the taste, having my haircut for free because I was told cutting a visitor’s hair was a pleasure, learning new Italian words from children, eating Cheetos with a fork and knife to make monolingual Italian speakers laugh, being taken to countless breathtaking and awe-inspiring panoramas, and feeling guilty for offending others by NOT staying in their homes.
I have cried like an asshole when separated from people that I only met two weeks before. Yes, I know this often happens to people who are thrown together for a short amount of time, but I am also convinced that many of them will remain in my heart forever, and I know that I will do everything I can to see them again and again.
Grottaferrata: you have the most adorable children in the world. They are rambunctious, but it’s because they have personality. There are some artists in there, there are some future free-loving hippies. There are some accountants as well, I am sure. You also have some damn good Gelato. I think it’s a bit of a hidden gem. The jasmine flowers lining your streets made me dizzy with happiness every time I caught their aroma.
Frascati: ooooh Frascati. The views, the wine, the parks with toys that would certainly be outlawed in the United States (and that really shouldn’t be played on under the influence of alcohol). The old men playing classic Italian songs outside of Fraschetta’s without a desire for tips. Every moment was unforgettable. The 3 Euro water-bottles-filled-with-wine weren’t very tasty, but the 5 Euro glass bottles were better than good.
Rocca di Papa: I didn’t spend much time visiting properly, but I did stare at you every night as I ate dinner and again from my balcony right before bed. My ears pop like crazy when I reach high altitudes, but I don’t mind it, and even if I did, I would ignore it just for you.
Marino: I hereby promise that I will come back next October for the wine festival. Am I really talking about wine again? I want to drink wine out of a public fountain, thank you very much. I hope you understand why I can’t come this year. Thanks for the football game, it was great.
Ariccia: I’m sorry I didn’t fall in love at first, but I wasn’t over the Grottaferrata thing yet. The views are great, but the stupid nets on the bridge kept getting in the way of my photos. I don’t know why anyone ever wanted to commit suicide while in such a beautiful place. Thank you for Porchetta, and for just existing in general.
Genzano di Roma: you have some really well-behaved kids who speak phenomenal English. I hate to tell you that this means they will probably all leave when they are old enough to do so. Nevertheless, I had fun watching the final game of the Euro Cup in your streets, and I will always treasure the orphaned Italian flag I found (someone must have been really mad that their country lost).
Lanuvio: There are some really embarrassing videos of me singing on stage during your music festival floating around. Thanks for putting up with that, and for cheering “brava!” and “encore!” despite how terrible myself and my friends sounded. Over 93% of you were breathtakingly gorgeous. I want to rename you “Hottie Town Italia”, but I probably don’t have that authority.
I have been beaten into submission. I have learned to kiss both cheeks as a greeting rather than go in for a hug. I know now that visiting Rome is not enough; you have truly missed out if you skip the Castelli.