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Extra resources for A Traveller in Rome
After a few days I would not have exchanged my balcony for the finest view in Rome. The little slice of street life below was a perpetual entertainment. It was a fragment of Martial’s Rome. That great journalist anticipated the camera by many centuries: he was the photographer of imperial Rome. It came to me one day that his room on the Quirinal must have been similar to mine; and he had just as many steps to climb! He was horrified and dismayed by the noise of Rome; and so was I. He found it difficult to sleep in Rome; and so did I.
The old palaces with their iron-bound lower windows, their walls of burnt sienna, yellow, and Roman red, the archways leading to courtyards where wall fountains dripped into moss-grown bowls, though triumphantly Renaissance, stood in dark and narrow lanes which recalled an older, mediaeval world. This moment of silence and dignity, which our ancestors knew, does not last long. Soon the first motors and scooters come hooting and exploding down the road. One morning I walked to the top of the Spanish Steps and stood looking out towards the Tiber and St Peter’s.
I fancy it must be almost impossible to speak Italian without gesticulation. It is a language that demands an accompaniment either of music or gesture; and in the national art of opera there are both. Rome is thus a city of gesticulation. There is gesticulation pianissimo; gesticulation andante; gesticulation robusto; gesticulation fortissimo; and it goes on around one all day long. When a motor car bumps into another in the street, the drivers leap out and address each other with gesticulation furioso, which is in the highest class of this art.