It seems it would not be a trip to Italy without some time at "our apartment" in Rome! This penthouse apartment has a massive patio with views to die for! (Click on thumbnail below for larger image)


Rome is a city of endless scenes. My day would start with an early morning photo-walk, picking up some cornetti to have with our coffee and then Karen and I would go out for the day.

The cornetto, meaning little horn, is not a croissant, but its Italian version. Both are breakfast pastries. I had to learn to ask for it vuoto (empty) if I did not want it filled with cream or jam. Is there a difference between the croissant and the cornetto? Yes, the croissant typically has butter that is trapped between many layers of dough, the cornetto is not necessarily made with butter, but tends to have more sugar. They can be somewhat similar to brioche and are called brioche is parts of northern Italy, Naples and Sicily. (Click on thumbnail below for larger image)

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This year I went to the Mercati di Traino and the Museum of the Imperial Form. Despite the many trips to Rome, it seems that every year some new aspect is discovered. I was really impressed with the Imperial Forum Museum and Trajan Market. In walking through the massive Trajan Market, I could not get over the fact that I was walking through a building that was built thousands of years ago.

The exhibition, Lapidarium, by artist Aceves of Mexico, was very impressive. The horses are cracked, broken, stripped... they represent the human suffering that affects millions of migrants and the toil involved in the quest for survival. It is a timeless story, and the setting with the ancient setting of Trajan's Market is very fitting. (Click on thumbnail below for larger image)

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We both enjoyed being back in Rome. The frenzy of tourists is a bit grinding. If you want to enjoy the Pantheon, get there before 8:00 am, then you can walk in the Piazza della Rotonda and just be impressive by this massive structure. The Trevi Fountain is packed all day and into the evening. I went there one night for some night photographs and even with rain falling, there was hardly a spot to be found in front of the fountain.

I decided it was time to return to the Roman Forum. I remember just walking through it on my first trip it Italy some 30 years ago. Yes, no tickets, no gates, no crowds. Just walking down Via Sacra and seeing the ancient structures that remain. Well when I saw the line up to buy tickets I almost gave up, but luckily I stuck it out. There is a lot to see in the Forum. I was there for well over two hours and could have stayed longer.

The Santa Maria Antiqua, a Roman Catholic Marian church built in the 15th Century, was very impressive. The walls are covered in old paintings. The Imperial Ramp, which only opened last year, is a ramp the Roman Emperors used to ride their horses up from the Form to the palaces that were on the Palatine Hill.

Of course no trip to Rome would be complete without a visit with Marco at Novelli Pen. We enjoyed our lunch at Archetto, Via Dell'Archetto 26. I also selected some stunning fountain pens.

The vacation came to an end, we left at 6:40 am for the flight Rome to Paris, and then Paris to Vancouver.

I think we are planning our return trip already!

Of course a trip to Rome means a visit with Marco at Novelli Pen. It is like being a child in a candy store! I brought home the Pelikan Special Edition, M800 Burnt Orange. I actuall at one point said, well I will get that last year, but when Marco said, there are only two left, and the pen is no longer in production, it meant it came home now!

The Visconti Corsani is another stunning pen that just had to be in my collection! This is a limited edition pen created by another pen store in Rome, Corsani. There are only 90 pieces made and I have pen #75.

I had to bring an old friend home. I have been looking at this pen on each visit to Novelli Pen over the last few years. It is a beautiful yellow celluloid that just has a great feel in the hand. Well it was the laste of the MIYA Colection and it did need a home.

Pelikan M800 Burnt Orange

Pelikan M800, Burnt Orange

Visconti Corsani

Visconti, Corsani

Montegrappa Miya