On this most recent trip to Rome, I had no agenda other than some restaurants which I hoped to visit. This left me with three consecutive days to simply wander around to my heart’s content. As I walked, seemingly up and down every hill in that magical city, maybe even twice, I had a realization – Rome’s beauty is like that of a middle aged woman.
Let me explain.
The city of Rome is an extraordinary mixture of steady confidence and softened resignation. Aspects of the architecture have been stunningly exposed with age (think cheekbones), while others have become soft with moss and decay. The unevenness of the cobblestones demand respectful attention while the texture of the ancient stones, achieved after centuries of exposure to nature’s elements, invite exploration of their smoothness.
It most certainly did not occur overnight.
It’s an evolved beauty, timeless and achieved with an elegant acceptance.
As time passes, the structures are repurposed. Their value isn’t diminished and they remain important and vital parts of the landscape. Buildings are not abandoned, destroyed or neglected and they retain their significance.
Middle aged women in the United States are told what to wear, how long their hair should be and what behaviors are appropriate for
them us to exhibit. In Rome, there seems to be a greater acceptance of the evolving state of beauty, of the realities of the passage of time. Like the magnificent buildings visible in every direction, women, and the beauty they possess, are not expected to remain unchanged.
In fact, it’s part of their appeal.
Never has a city’s beauty impacted me so deeply, nor have I ever felt as comfortable in my own skin. This middle aged woman very much sees Rome’s beauty reflected in her own and it’s lovely and welcomed.
Bella, Roma, thank you for a wonderful lesson in how to age with grace.