When I imagined my life in Rome, it landed somewhere between “Eat, Pray, Love” (all lies, no one speaks fluent Italian in 4 months) and “Under the Tuscan Sun.”  The reality is, that though this is a beautiful and complicated place to live that surprises me daily, it’s also real life and involves all of those life sucking real life things that aren’t fun.  There’s a reason why those movies do not include Diane Lane figuring out international tax law, or Julia Roberts doing her laundry.  For me, verb conjugation and sitting at my desk have been the main themes.  But it’s on the busiest indoor days that I try to get out, if only for a little while.

Sometimes I window shop, sometimes I convince myself I deserve gelato, but usually I take advantage of being so close to the Borghese Gardens.  I’ve explored most of the massive park by now, but my favorite part, and where I usually end up is the overlook on the far west side, preferably just before sunset.

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I’ve become a sunset expert in the past several months.

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They’re always different.  Some are frosting pink, others are lemon yellow, some are orange, a few are red.  They’re always gorgeous, especially setting over this spectacular city.

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But I have a sort of secret.  Most people flock to the huge overlook with the wide gravel yard, perched above Piazza del Popolo.

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Piazza del Popolo

And they aren’t wrong, the view over the piazza and city is not to be missed.  But the crowds can be frustrating, and rogue flower venders try to force roses in your hands and demand money.  However, you should also wander about a hundred yards to the left along the ridge.

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The crowd is generally thin to non-existent here, and it’s a great place to quietly watch the sun set spectacularly on one of Europe’s best skylines.  The view revives even the most mundane or exhausting days, or the most weary traveler, and never fails to re-new my enthusiasm for this city.