From my first visit, Italy has blown my mind, captured my heart, tingled my taste buds, and confounded my other senses! But for some reason, I hadn’t dedicated a Mini piece to a Roman scene… until now.
My Rome subject folder is bursting with options – so many in fact that choosing which one to paint for this Mini was almost paralyzing. (Ah, maybe this is why I’ve painted so little Rome!) I decided finally to choose a subject that took me back to the first time Italy took my breath away.
In 2005 on my family’s first Italian trip, we took that nasty overnight flight to Rome from Toronto. I had flown to Europe on business previously, and knew the Euro-red-eye flight and I did not agree with one another. So I arranged a taxi to pick us up at the Rome airport to take us into our hotel versus taking the Leonardo train. True to form, I didn’t sleep on the flight and I was in rough shape when we found our driver. The first several minutes of the taxi ride from Fiumicino Airport into the city were fairly boring – highway, industry, suburban malls. I remember feeling very underwhelmed and the jet lag wasn’t helping.
Once off the highway, the taxi entered neighbourhoods in the city where people were on their way to work and opening up shops. We passed a few very large churches and a crazy Pyramid-looking structure, and I started waking up. Then, we rounded a corner and out of nowhere, the Colosseum appeared. I gasped audibly, and the first thing I thought was “It’s real. It’s a real thing.” Have you ever had that moment?
I think I said “It’s really real” out loud, and then twisted my neck into a pretzel as the taxi drove around it. I was now fully awake and energized, no espresso required. We dropped our bags at the hotel and immediately walked back over to the Colosseum for a closer look. Then walked through the Forum, then to the Vittorio Emanuele Monument, then to Trevi Fountain, and the hits kept coming one after another!
Celebrating that moment in 2005 when I was dazzled and instantly fell in love with Italy – Mini #89 “Colosseum, Rome”:
Painted from a 2016 photo, this grand structure still dazzles me!