Yakov Manshin

Rome 2018

Let me be clear. I don’t like big cities. I mean, like, at all. I don’t feel comfortable scrambling through crowds in the streets. I prefer going around the town on foot rather than taking a subway. And no, the fact that I have actually been living in a big city for a while doesn’t make things any smoother.

Yet, I travel to some big cities more or less frequently (aside from near-daily commutes to Moscow). Last summer, I visited two: Paris and Rome. While my stay in Paris was far too fleeting to devote more than a couple of tweets and Instagram stories to it, the Rome trip lasted long enough to post about it here.


Colosseum was so, so crowded I could barely have a good look from across the street.

Rainbow flag

This was the view from the hotel window. Nothing special, huh.

However, I spent more than an hour looking for the hotel since it was so inconspicuous. Luckily enough, I had bought an Italian SIM card a couple of hours before that and was able to ask for directions on the phone.

Piazza Navona

Piazza Navona is a relatively quiet place in downtown Rome, thanks to the absence of car traffic (most of the Rome’s public squares aren’t car-free, though).


The Pantheon

Ice cream

Gelato is delicious in Italy! I didn’t want a second one, obviously, but I was basically forced to buy it since the gelateria had a minimum limit of €5 for card payments. That’s a normal thing for European stores, and yet, I’m so into all of this card and Apple Pay stuff I can’t remember that having a little cash is often useful in Europe.

Speaking of Apple Pay, I was greatly surprised to the fact salespeople had finally started recognizing the thing’s existence. Just less than a year ago, telling a cashier I’d like to use Apple Pay resulted in a confused look on their face.

Piazza Spagna

Here’s a “standard-size” crowd that surrounds every fountain, monument, and historic building. In the photo is Fontana della Barcaccia in Piazza di Spagna.

Altar of the Fatherland

Altar of the Fatherland

Italian flag


Via Vittor Pisani


Vatican City’s Piazza San Pietro features St. Peter’s Basilica (in the photo), the Vatican Obelisk, a couple of kiosks, and a mobile post office inside a trailer.


Trevi fountain

The Trevi Fountain

Piazza del Popolo

Piazza del Popolo

Bottom line

Rome turned out to be a typical big city—just what I expected. I’m not disappointed, of course—otherwise, I wouldn’t be wasting even more time blogging about it—but it’s not the kind of place I’d return to very often.

Bus at night

P.S. Besides Rome, my summer Italy trip also included Venice which had me fascinated to a much greater extent. The post is coming soon, so stay tuned.