Because the last couple of days have been so hectic (this is something that has always been true on this trip: the day we change cities is spent getting settled and relaxing from the travel and changes–the change of plans because of Heathrow being closed just made it more so) we are tempted to forget the last day in Rome and focus on the first day in London. The last day in Rome was beautiful.
Our driver (we had a driver!) was to pick us up at the villa at 11:30am. We were packed and ready to leave at around 9:30am. Since we had eaten all the food–ALL the food, including red peppers and leftover potato chips–for dinner the previous day, our plan was to find a place to have breakfast and then visit the local market to have a final coffee (sigh) before going to the airport. This ended up being as perfect a morning as anything Audrey Hepburn could have experienced on the back of a Vespa.
It was a little late in the day for breakfast but we found a place that had three panini left (two prosciutto and one chicken) that provided us sustenance for a little money and provided decent coffee in the bargain. After eating we visited the market to buy a few things and have “the coffee.” Janet, more than I, was recognized and genuinely welcomed at the market. If you have watched the television show Cheers in the past, I watched Janet evoke a Norm Peterson-like response. The father and son team that ran the coffee stall spoke with her for at least 20 minutes saying goodbye. The girls and I were swept into her wake of smiles and handshakes (and hugs). As we walked out, a number of vendors smiled, waved, and arrivederci-ed us.
Rome was exceptionally good to us. Our neighborhood was “normal” in the sense that there were few attractions and generally served the people who lived there. We walked around older ladies, nuns, mothers and children to get groceries. The people in the market certainly saw us as novelties but treated us very well. In the words of the owner of the coffee stall, “mondo è piccolo“.
Our walk back to the villa was on clouds.