When in Rome, Do as the Romans Do

by | Aug 13, 2019 | Photography

When in Rome, do as the Romans do.

Which loosely translates to adapting yourself to the customs of the people in certain places and situations and behave as they do. And that is what I set out to do.

I’m half Italian on my mother’s side and spent most holidays and family vacations with her family. I did take two semesters of Italian in college and studied International Political Economy. But, far from an expert in the language or the customs. My feeble attempt to brush up on the tongue by listening to some of my old tutorial Italian tapes didn’t help much either.

I still figured that my Italian background would give me a leg-up on other tourists. Never in doubt, but often wrong. Pretty much summed it up.

I decided that it would be best to be polite, respectful, and courteous to get by. And nod my head in agreement a lot. Which probably holds in most foreign countries that I might visit.

The Landscape in Rome reminded me of Naples, Florida. The trees were significantly similar there were Palm trees that lined the roads on the way from the airport and the weather in September was still warm enough to feel a bit like Florida. Especially coming from NYC at the start of the autumn season. That was my first impression or vibe.

But, that vibe quickly wore-off as I checked into the hotel. The first thing they asked for was my passport, which is locked in a safe, and a copy held at the local police department. You receive your passport back at checkout.

The first thing I did was dropped my suitcase in my room grabbed my camera and headed to the Colosseum. It was close enough to my hotel to walk.

It turned out to be the perfect plan. It was later in the afternoon on a Thursday. There were fewer tourists than the weekend crowds and only open for a few more hours. I paid my admission and started to click away at parts of the Colosseum with very few tourists getting mixed in the photos.

And then the luck had struck. The person I was with needed to use the restroom as the announcer said that the Colosseum would be closing shortly. Everyone headed to the exit.

I needed to wait for my friend. So, I took a wander back to the upper- level and pointed my lens at a tourist-free Colosseum.

I continued to roam through different portions and levels. It was me with my camera all alone in the Colosseum. Taking as many photos as I wished. Amateur photographers dream come true. At least for me, it was.

Finally, a security guard noticed me walking down a corridor, as I looked for my friend.

He said, we already locked the gates. I’m lucky we noticed you. You would have been here all night. I responded by sticking to my “when in Rome, do as the Romans do” creed.

“Thank you, sir. I’m very grateful for your understanding and help.”

He escorted me out and found my friend that was searching for me.

The truth is that sleeping in the Colosseum under the stars, with my camera battery, fully charged, would have been epic.

Now you’re in the know, why so many of my images of the Colosseum are tourist-free.

It was just a matter of circumstances that gave me a little treat of a lifetime.

I hope that you enjoy my photos of the Colosseum as much as I do.