Our run-on sentence of Rome festivities:
Jason said right after arriving in the airport he saw a lady's phone ringing in front of him which said the caller was Luigi - she answered "LOUIE!!" and began speaking animatedly in Italian and well, I can't think of better way to begin our Italian trip. So.
We arrived late at night and at the train station was probably the most fearful I was during the trip – clutching my bag tightly and nervously looking over my shoulder (but we survived and didn’t have any problems!), found our bed and breakfast which had a bathroom so small you felt accomplished when you managed to turn around, headed to the Colosseum first thing in the morn and was able to get some photos of mostly-people-free building shots, had a sudden maddening desire to watch Gladiator, uncovered new and delightful sights at every turn in the Roman Forum, got our first views of the cityscape and marveled at how much colorful Rome is than our past European destinations, felt crowded and overheated and somewhat underwhelmed by the Vatican (think late July in a building swarming with people and far too old for AC, or at least well-working AC), found ourselves often confused and befuddled by the Rome bus system, ate gelato atop Janiculum Hill (the first gelato of many!), were disappointed to find the Trevi Fountain under construction, ordered individual pizzas and valiantly tried to finish (only Jason managed), drank our only red wine of the trip and tried to savor it (we were quite poor after that whole expense of ya know, getting to the country, and just to clarify for Marisa's mom, Marisa did not drink), were impressed by the Mercedes buses (transit in high style), found the Pope's image plastered on every type of souvenir you could imagine, never saw the actual man in person (SAD), went to St. Peter's Basilica on a Sunday morning and creepily took photos of the church attendees in service, climbed all 551 steps in the panic-inducing dome (again, hot summer day, lots of people and a tiny, tiny closed-in stairwell with curved walls so it feels like the place is closing in on you), were lavishly rewarded by an amazing view that I still dream about, saw several crypts and then found myself googling "what does a body look like after it's buried" but then never getting the nerve to click "images", said "when in Rome" far too infrequently, ditto on "All roads lead to Rome", and stuffed our faces with pasta near the steps of the Pantheon.
A friend of our B&B host took us to the airport. She spoke very little English, but as she scurried in and out of traffic in her beater car, she exclaimed "Mama mia!" and we declared our Italian trip complete.
(We can all just pretend there's not a weird bump in my hair.)
Jason said he was in Rome now and no longer needed that top button.