When I first arrived in Rome in early January, the city was experiencing a fluke of exceptional warm weather and sunshine. While my peers slept through Saturday and Sunday mornings, I awoke early and took advantage of the glorious weather by strolling through the Borghese Gardens. I couldn’t wait for the opportunity to unzip the winter jacket, and to even perhaps take it off. The infinite corners of the Borghese Gardens are a sanctuary on early mornings, partly because Romans do not ‘jog’ as frequently and obsessively as Americans do. In fact, when discussing this dubious concept, Romans elongate the pronunciation of the word and shroud it in hand quotes or excessive gesticulation to further make their point that this form of exercise is truly a bizarre American habit. In fact, Romans regard most all exercise as a bizarre activity.
So while marathons were being run in Central Park across the Atlantic, I was able to relish the park’s quietness and tranquility. I remember walking by the flower buds, anticipating the gardens in full bloom. I felt like I was transported in time, as the gardens were designed in a naturalistic manner in the style of English landscaping. Knowing that I would be in Rome for many months, I never felt the need to rush through these treasured mornings. I was able to return over and over again, to explore the gardens a little at a time.