We could learn a lot from Venice how they deal with floods, which is they take it in their stride, they sell more wellies and get on with it. I learnt a lot when I was in Italy, how journeys become more philosphical with age, how magic moments are the simplest. The Venice hotel had the best view. The other hotels had walls. Rome had the best food and Florence the best galleries. Venice the best waiters, Florence the best shops and Rome the most characterful faces. The Venice hotel had the most wonderful fragrance in the rooms but I'm not paying £40 for a jar of grapefruit smelling oil. Sorry. I will squeeze a few grapefruits in my kitchen every morning and waft it about the house.
They love this Pope. They wish they had had him earlier and they are pleased the other one abdicated. I know having been to Argentina only the mont before, they want him back. They miss him too.
Florence it was the paintings and sculptures that stick in my mind even now, but I kept thinking when I was crossing the square to the Uffizi of the scene in Hannibal, because the character of Hannibal Lechter had walked across that square at the beginning of that horrid film. I tried to focus more on the scenes from Merchant Ivory's altogether more romantic A Room with a View. That was nicer. No eating of brains or being eaten by pigs in that one.
Rome, I last visited twelve years ago for a book launch. So much has happened in twelve years. And it will in the next twelve, it's all a drop in the ocean of time compared to the timescales on show in the incredible history on display in thsese citites.
We are a funny breed. We admire the very old and revere the brand new. It's frequently loving, living, appreciating the present moment we have a problem with. Except when you have a journey like this when you enjoy every moment of it as you are living it and the fact that life for all it's shit is brilliant.