At three am, the only sound around the Pantheon is the constant trickling of water in the piazza’s fountain. Bathed in orange light, I lie underneath the bronze doors, many times taller than I am, and contemplate the meaning of the word insignificance. I also know that, for this short span of time, this building that has been gazed upon for centuries belongs solely and absolutely to me.
The Colosseum is the same; just before sunrise a car will circuit leisurely around the crumbling stadium, but once it disappears there is no one in sight. This is the moment when there will be no tourists wearing absurd hats in the foreground in every single one of my pictures.
The night is the time to contemplate the must-see attractions of Rome. It’s so much simpler to picture how life moved around the meandering streets when these buildings were still in use.
While this is one way to see the Trevi Fountain, the Vittorio Emanuele II monument, and St Peter’s Basilica, it may not be the ‘ideal’ way.
The energy that buzzes through the city during the day is just as intoxicating as the serenity of night. The sight of frustrated families, gaping tour groups, young locals locked in an embrace, harried shopkeepers, suited businessmen, men in uniform and everyone else either going about their lives or drinking in the splendor of Rome reminds me that Rome is not just a museum or a history book; Rome is alive.