Salt & Starch by Ben Resini

You may have noticed a link to Salt & Starch at the top of my website. You might be asking yourself … what is this? Well let me tell ya …

Photography and cooking I have always found goes hand in hand. I’ve always been keen on browsing the cookbook sections of book stores and noticing some incredible food photography in the process. Having finished high school I found myself working in the restaurant industry for years. It was there as well as at home that I gained such an appreciation and love for cooking.

Salt & Starch is simply another creative outlet of mine that highlights my adventures in cooking. The site is chock full of recipes I have tried, articles and notes (some kitchen disasters), soon to come vlogs, and more!

So, for a fun respite from the wedding photography page head on over to the Salt & Starch blog to check out the latest goings on in my kitchen and more!

www.saltandstarch.com

Facebook @saltandstarchfood

Instagram & Twitter @saltandstarch

Ramblings - {Retro classic inspiration} by Ben Resini

As a photographer in general I can’t help but be inspired by certain things. Lately my inspiration has been stemming from an era long gone but still fascinating to me - the 1960’s.

Recently I have found myself listening to an unreasonable amount of classic Italian Lounge music while editing. Elevator music? …. perhaps. But for some reason it brings me a sense of nostalgic curiosity. Having been born in the early 80’s, the 1960’s were long gone before I got here so the particulars of this era are only left for me to discover via the web, books and stories from my folks. It’s not totally abnormal to draw on the past for inspiration and I find myself doing that more than most.

One autumn night hanging out by fontana di trevi

One autumn night hanging out by fontana di trevi

My heart is in Italy and I pull inspiration from my time spent there, albeit brief thus far. Sometimes I find myself day-dreaming, transporting myself back to the cobblestone streets of Rome. The cacophony of Vespa’s buzzing by, a brisk November morning air flowing thru the alley ways and not a care in the world.

Perhaps it is all a dream.

Speaking of dreams my classic self-appointed film education continued with the latest flick I happened to find on Netflix called In Search of Fellini from 2017. The title struck me as I scrolled thru the glaring screen one sleepless night a few weeks back. Naturally I had to investigate. A bit of an odd movie which attempted to duplicate the whimsical confusion that so often engulfed much of Fellini’s films throughout, yet this time in a modern day era. While entertaining and uncomfortable at times, the film itself had good intentions and perhaps deserves a second viewing.

Besides photography, traveling and winging about traffic in Delaware I also caught the F1 bug a while back. Coupled with my love of classic film I snagged the classic Grand Prix from 1966 on DVD the other week. A combination of early film ingenuity and camera angles that are amazing for the time - Grand Prix is a must own for any car or racing enthusiast. Much is set in Monaco in that ever classic era gone by I mentioned earlier - so naturally this film is at the top of my list. Other noteworthy films I have been enjoying lately are Happy as Lazzaro, The Wonders, Sacro GRA, & To Have and Have Not.

Continuing on my recent film kick I also stumbled across the recently released American documentary Apollo 11. Having been fascinated by the whole space race era to begin with, and space exploration in general, this film is simply amazing. I don’t say that word lightly either when it comes to films. Whatever awards they give out for film, editing, remastering and the like - give them all to the folks that made this film. The remastering alone of the original archival 70 mm film is brilliant and worthy of an entire trophy case. Check this one out, you won’t be disappointed.

Rambling on …

I saw an article recently on the opening of the new TWA hotel at JFK. Needless to say - I am beyond intrigued by this and contemplating booking a room just to check out the hotel & design! {Don’t judge me!}

In closing …

This week I am back behind the screen finishing up some edits from my last wedding. I also hope to squeeze in some re-edits of some snaps I took while in Rome.

Until next time,

grazie a tutti

Air Mobility Command Museum by Ben Resini

Last weekend I traveled south to my states capital, Dover Delaware, the home of Dover Air Force Base. Just past the center of town is the Air Mobility Command Museum. This is one of my favorite museums locally. The free museum and grounds are home to a number of no longer operational airplanes from military transport aircraft to old presidential passenger planes! On certain occasions you can actually climb up inside these planes and get a view of the cockpit, interior and passenger galleys. I have been three times so far to this museum mostly because I am fascinated by these old planes, aviation in general, and awe-inspiring memories they must hold.

A few snapshots from my visit …


Street Photography - Back to where it started by Ben Resini

The internet is chock full of articles on street photography. Everything from getting over your fear of taking photographs on the street to how to over expose your images using flash - for that ‘real’ feel. For me street photography began a long time ago and was my introduction into the world of photographing things that were multi-dimensional. What I mean by that is I was learning how to capture images of moving objects, changing landscapes and most importantly real life moments while exploring city streets and the public that filled them.

Sadly during those days I was mostly shooting weddings, I never had as many chances as I would have liked to hit the streets again with just my camera and the sense of adventure. As I look back today and review a lot of my work from years ago I cant help but feel excited to get back to where it began for me which is exploring New York City with my camera in hand.

Street photography is not for everyone. It can get ‘real’ - very quickly. I’ve found that the best part about it is the adventure in itself. You never know what you are going to encounter out on the streets of NYC, or any city for that matter. I’ve hoofed it around Philadelphia, Rome, Los Angeles, DC, Munich and other great cities, yet ultimately the love of street photography (for me) originated in New York.

I am looking forward to getting back out there this summer to see what stories may come.

I saw Vincent today by Ben Resini

It’s not everyday you see masters of their craft. Artist’s so memorable crowds clamor anxiously together in wood laden galleries stopping at the restriction ropes with eyes wide open and mouths drooping in awe. Count me part of that collective today, both in awe and jubilation I finally managed to view the work of one of my favorite painters - Vincent Van Gogh.

Rain pounded the windows of my bedroom this morning as I looked out at another grey sky day, all but normal landscapes along the northeast corridor from October to March. I decided I needed a change of that landscape today and set out with the goal to be inspired. On my to-do list for years I make the short trek up to center city Philadelphia to visit the Barnes Foundation. I managed to get there fairly early before the crowds began to simmer, allowing myself some quiet time with The Postman - possibly my favorite painting - and admittedly the primary purpose and motivation for my visit to the museum today.

As I strolled thru the gallery rooms I couldn’t help but notice the building inspiration in myself as an artist. Both as a photographer, sometimes painter, cook & writer. Viewing the works of Van Gogh, Picasso, Matisse, Renoir, Degas, Monet, Gauguin & other brilliant artists of their time only fuels the creative fire in anyone that holds a breath in their body.

I plan to return to the Barnes Foundation soon. It is truly a gift to have this in my backyard. Not surprising, I also plan to paint more.

Enzo Ferrari Demo Day - Simeone Automobile Foundation by Ben Resini

Today I was so fortunate enough to attend the Enzo Ferrari Demo Day at the Simeone Foundation auto museum in Philadelphia Pennsylvania. This was the first time I have visited the museum and was astonished at this wonderful auto collection of classic cars, including some of the most world renowned racing cars of the past.

Today was a special day as the museum hosted the author of the new book ‘Enzo Ferrari’ biography which is considered the foremost accurate and detailed account of the automakers incredible life.

As a budding car enthusiast I couldn’t believe I have this amazing car collection practically in my backyard! I will be visiting this museum again very soon!

Yankees vs. Orioles - 9/22/18 by Ben Resini

I finally made it the ‘new’ Yankee stadium this past weekend to see the Yankees clinch a playoff chance with a win over the Orioles!

1950 Olivetti Lettera 22 - Typewriter by Ben Resini

Over the last few years I have gained an affinity for reading and writing. In particular, the classic 'Mediterranean Noir' mystery and detective stories which really hold my attention. I don't have much time to read these days but I have tried to set aside time to take in a good detective story on a lazy Sunday afternoon.

Last year I began writing my own little novella titled "The Reach of the Wicked".  Writing one's first book I found is something of a love/hate relationship, always pushing towards the end but ultimately finding something along the way that needed changing or amending.

I suppose that is the nature of writing. 

While I make no claims that my first novella is actually any good, or worthy of reading - I am proud I managed to finish the work. I've read it over a few times and it's become a nice little enjoyable reminder of the days when I was in the midst of writing the story line and developing the plot lines. Writing I believe is becoming a nice little outlet for me outside of photography, having experienced the joys and frustrations of both now. 

I remember growing up we had a large, bulky brown typewriter sitting atop a desk where occasionally I would hear my mother tapping away at the keys. I never realized back then that thirty years later I would go out seeking my own little piece of nostalgia to write on. 

Alas, this past week I found myself miracously coming across a beautiful piece of classic Italian design.

The internet - a vast and cavernous array of all things "sell- able". 

Needless to say once I saw this beauty I snagged it immediately from the willing buyer. That night I sat back admiring my newly acquired piece of history from 1950, adorned with just the right amount of nostalgia and intrigue one hopes to expect from something 78 years old.

I thought to myself .. "what stories this machine has told over the years" ...

Now being the owner of such a fantastic machine - I must be careful.

I might actually think of myself as a writer one day.

Art Loop Wilmington 2018 by Ben Resini

Today is the start of Art Loop Wilmington 2018. Last night I finished organizing and setting up the Roma Show photo exhibition which is now available for viewing. The exhibition's 'official' opening will commence on 6/16 at the studio with a great evening of friends, wine and appetizers and the formal showing. 

The work will be on display until the end of July. Details below!

http://artloopwilmington.org/

http://www.studioonmarket.com

#romashow

ROMA - A love letter to Italy - Photo Exhibition 6/16 by Ben Resini

I am excited to announce my upcoming photo exhibition titled 'ROMA - A Love letter to Italy'.  The small exhibition will feature select work from my time in Rome, focusing mostly on black and white images presented in a variety of print sizes and formats. 

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The exhibition is being held at 'STUDIO ON MARKET' in the LOMO section of Downtown Wilmington Delaware.  The event is open for anyone to visit and will include wine and appetizers. All of the prints will be available for sale during the exhibition along with a 240 page hardbound photo book titled "ROMA'. 

Weekly updates can be found on my facebook page- link below. 

https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=623426040

 

 

 

 

ROMA - {PHOTOBOOK} by Ben Resini

It is finally finished! A true labor of love - the ROMA hardbound photo book! This book took a long time to put together, a number of revisions and changes, countless layout switches, and more to get it just the way I wanted to have it presented. I am super proud to announce that this 240 page hardbound and image wrapped book is now available for sale thru the SHOP link on my homepage as well as in person at my upcoming photo exhibition! 

The book is available for preview and purchase at the following link:

http://www.blurb.com/b/8625491-roma

eat cookbook & the reach of the wicked novella by Ben Resini

This past year I have had a number of creative projects all seemingly going on at the same time. Some get finished or amount to nothing while others grow teeth and get finished.

Two of those creative endeavors in 2017 are coming to the finish line over the next couple weeks. 

eat - the cookbook

Eat Cover.jpg

It's safe to say food is a big part of my life. I don't necessarily mean eating it - but cooking it. My teenage years were spent slinging hash on a grill, making subs for impatient customers and eventually busing and waiting tables while in college. The culinary world to anyone who has ever worked within its ever changing walls knows that food in itself is something special - more importantly the desire to learn how to cook it. This cookbook explores foods I make on a regular basis, many that others may not have ever tried or are familiar with. The book is filled with great food photography and easy to follow recipes - not just lists of ingredients. Each recipe I believe is worthwhile giving a shot at in your kitchen and the book is organized in a way that is fun and engaging. Today cookbooks are not just about the recipes but about the photographs and stories behind what's on the pages. I believe 'eat' tells a number of engaging stories while providing fun recipes for new or experienced home cooks. 

 

The Reach of the Wicked

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Over the past year I have found that writing ones first novel is quite difficult. From plot lines to proper verb usage, I had more than one uncomfortable flashback to middle school grammar class while drafting this manuscript! Alas, my first novel has been completed and is in the process of being published. After an exhaustive effort submitting my manuscript to throngs of literary agents with no success, I decided I would self publish the novel to bring it to its completion. 'Reach' follows an inept detective from southern Italy tasked with solving a series of brutal crimes that are sweeping the eternal city of Rome. He is partnered with a painfully beautiful cohort, Isabella, who happens to be the commissioners granddaughter. The pair discover that not everything is as it seems as they weave their way thru a deceptive narrative, culminating in a classic Mediterranean Noir style end. The Reach of the Wicked is available in paperback and kindle version beginning in April. 

Nothing beats Medium Format by Ben Resini

This past weekend I found a gem of a medium format square camera at my local film shop. Needless to say I am a huge fan of medium format film cameras, box cameras or 'Square format' cameras.  I love how they set up the frame so perfectly once you have them dialed in. But I digress ...

I used to get asked the question 'What type of camera do you use' all the time when shooting weddings or events. People would inevitably come up to you and ask you about your gear. Chalk it up to curiosity or just another budding photographer interested in making small talk, the questions always ended up with 'Do you ever shoot in film?"

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I love film photography. Personally I think every photographer should learn on a film camera first before even picking up a D-SLR. (If only that happened!). I have dozens of cameras in my collection from old Brownie box cameras to the work horse of the 1970's & 1980's such as the Canon AE-1 and the Nikon FG. I love working with all of them because with film, unlike with digital photography, there is no room (or little to speak of) for error. If you shoot an entire roll of film out of focus or with the speed wrong - well then you're just fucked arent ya!? With a D-SLR it's a no brainer every time, perhaps the massive draw and shift to digital years ago. 

Back to my point, I picked up a Bronica Zenza SQ-A this past weekend for $500.  No doubt I overpaid for it (maybe not?) but I saw it and had to have it. It's not everyday you see these gems in person and are able to inspect it before buying it. I am not a fan of buying film cameras online because you never really now what you're going to get! So the Bronica was added to the collection and I've already gone thru a few rolls of 120 film! I hope to update this post shortly with a list of all my cameras and some examples of the first photos I have taken with my new SQ-A! 


Classic Italian Cinema by Ben Resini

The holiday season always seems like an overly stressful time of year for me, for a multitude of reasons. Lately however I've been actively limiting the amount of social media I engage in during the week and on the weekends I make sure to pretty much stay off of Instagram, Twitter, etc. 

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A lot of my time spent these past few months (in reality - this last year) has been working tirelessly towards my dual citizenship appointment in April. I've also been working with a private tudor to learn the Italian language. So between work during the week, research and document preparation, and my language studies - my time has been limited to say the least.  

Recently however I have focused my down time on a particular aspect of culture that I absolutely love - which is classic Italian cinema.  Sure I've seen La Dolce Vita and Roman Holiday and the big hits of cinema in the past but today I've really gotten into all of the classic Italian movies from the 40's, 50's, & 60's. 

It has opened up another world for me seeing some of these great Italian films from so long ago.  Maybe one could chalk it up to be being a naturally nostalgiac person or one who longs for the past - perhaps much simpler days. Call it what you will but I've recently dived deep into classic Italian cinema as a fully fledged fan and collector! 

While one should be shopping for others during this time of year, this past week I managed to add 10 classic Italian movies to my collection.

leri Oggi E Domani, La dolce vita, Fellini's Roma, L'avventura, Cinema Paradiso, Blow Up, La Notte, Riso amaro, 8 1/2, and Ladri di bicicletta. 

LADRI DI BICICLETTE.jpeg

 

There are many more on my list to acquire of course but I am thrilled to have these classics in my new collection. The classic cinema of Italy during this era is like no other in my opinion. I've become a huge fan of Italian film in general (with the help of Netflix) and highly recommend checking out Terraferma, The Wonders, I am Love, Fire at Sea, etc. 

Call me dated or old fashioned but the modern hit movies made today, even with all the fancy CGI effects, pulse pounding music and over the top dramatics - just don't interest me as much as the classically shot film from the bygone error.  

For me, the classic black/white films shot on the streets of 1940's post-war Rome with crackly sound effects and dramatic story lines are comforting little glimpses into a time long since past but still remembered by Italian film enthusiasts such as myself. 

Ciao for now,

-Ben


A travel Memory by Ben Resini

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THANKSGIVING IN ROME

Taken from an original blog post in 2015:

As I sat in terminal D looking up at the screens to confirm my departure to Rome I thought to myself when I get back I want to write a lengthy and detailed account of my first trip to Rome. Now that I am back in the states I am quickly realizing writing about my entire trip while accurately describing the magnificence that is Italy is going to be a bigger challenge than I originally thought.

Let’s start from the beginning. I had originally planned on spending Thanksgiving in Tokyo. As they often do plans changed and I decided to travel to Rome for my Thanksgiving vacation. The days leading up to my departure were filled with frantic reading of the guidebook, frequent visits to Amazon.com to purchase power adaptors, new luggage, and much more anticipation than I had expected. I had always known that one day I would be visiting Italy, the place where my fathers ancestors came from, and the location of the Vatican which takes on special meaning being a Catholic. However, now all of a sudden I was sitting in Philadelphia International Airport awaiting to board a plane to Rome. The day had arrived.

I got to the airport early as always. This time I decided to pay for a shuttle service to pick me up from my house. I had to be at the airport early and figured it was wise to spend the $40 to simply hitch a ride and make it as easy as possible. I travel light. Very light. I had one roller bag full of a weeks worth of wrinkled freshly cleaned clothes and my camera equipment. That was all I needed. I snagged some food, charged my iphone and before I knew it my flight on Alitalia was boarding.

Now international flights are always no fun. Unless of course you are fortunate enough to have a first class ticket. I myself did not have a first class ticket but was pleasantly surprised with my seat, food and space during the 8.5 hour flight into Fiumicino airport which is about 20km outside of Rome. I put on my headphones, listened to a couple podcasts, watched an in-flight movie (The Big Lebowski), and before I knew it I was touching down in rainy Italy.

A shuttle took us from our flight to the customs location of the airport. The line filled with international travelers filled up quickly but luckily moved very quickly and before long I had an Italian officer reviewing my passport. I was very much looking forward to adding an Italy stamp into my passport. Much to my dismay my passport was reviewed for maybe two seconds and given back to me with a nod and approval to enter Italy. I walked through thinking ‘what no stamp?’ ‘This couldn’t be right, I thought I’d get stamped?!’ Walking through the terminals now a bit baffled and admittedly disappointed I ran into an American girl who asked if she could look something up on my phone. Specifically her hotel address. I kindly obliged and in doing so inquired to her if her passport had also been neglected with what I dreamed would be a lovely Italian stamp of approval. She confirmed that they do not stamp your passports here. But maybe they would if I went back and asked. I said thanks as she snapped a photo from her phone of my phone displaying her hotel address. Ah technology. I had now realized that it was not a mistake and started to walk towards the exit searching the train which took me into Rome. Bummed out about the no stamping of passport let down I was having a difficult time locating the train into Rome. I decided to take a shuttle for 40Euro into Rome. The driver had assured me he would take me directly to my hotel. I figured this would be the best bet, as it was pouring outside and I couldn’t afford to get lost or stuck outdoors with all my camera gear.

I hopped in the back of the shuttle and met two other Americans on their way into Rome. Their first time visit as well. I attempted to strike up some conversation with quickly got the impression they didn’t want to chat with me. No biggie. I just looked out the window as our shuttle made its way from the airport into Rome at close to 100mph zipping through traffic. I had been to Germany before and driven on the Autobahn so the speed and chaotic nature of our taxi drivers driving was not really a surprise to me. In fact it was quite enjoyable as I sat looking out the rain splattered windows knowing Id be in the heart of Rome in mere minutes. This trip was on like Donkey Kong!

My shuttle had taken a route into Rome which passed directly by the Colesseum which was unavoidable. I heard the thumping of the tires rolling against the cobblestoned streets until the shuttle abruptly stopped and a thick Italian voiced yelled out from up front -‘Hotel Cosmopolita” – ‘this is you, yes?’ As promised I made it to the front door of my hotel. The Hotel Cosmopolita. I tipped the driver 10Euro which he seemingly was more than grateful to receive, shook his hand and made my way inside where another well dressed Italian man welcomed me to the eternal city. I said hello, in attempts to feel out if he knew any English. Turns out, much like Germany, everyone knows English or some form of it. He checked me into my room, gave me a map of the city, circled the ‘must see’ attractions, and even kindly told me how to get to all of them. It turns out the map he had given me, as I am sure he had given a dozen other tourists that very day, was the most helpful map I carried with me all week long!

I made my way to my room not really knowing what to expect of a single room in Europe. Hotel rooms in Europe are much smaller than American standard rooms so I had my reservations as to how big the room would be. Much to my surprise the room was quite nice and included everything I could possibly want. A nice sized and comfortable bed, flat screen TV, internet and a lovely bathroom with two toilets. One I understood, the other I avoided as I knew it shot water where the sun don’t shine.

I had arrived in Rome. My excitement was at an all time high. I had just touched down in the eternal city and had 6 days to go exploring. I couldn’t think of a better scenario. I grabbed my camera and headed downstairs out the front door. It was pouring. Damn. I had forgotten that it had been absolutely pouring since I had arrived a couple hours earlier. This made things somewhat difficult to go out exploring with $3000 worth of camera gear strapped around your neck. I dropped my camera back off in my hotel room and this time grabbed my rain jacket I had thankfully brought with me. I ventured out into the rain with no camera but it wasn’t going to hinder my trip I told myself.

My first night in Rome went by very quickly. As mentioned it was pouring outside so walking about on the streets was a bit of a challenge. I ended up visiting the Piazza Venezia which was the next block over from my hotel. Lined with cafes and small shops I would frequently visit throughout the week I ended up taking the elevator up to the top of Altare della Patria (Altar of the Fatherland) also known as the Monumento Nazionale a Vittorio Emanuele II. What an incredible view! From up there I was able to see virtually all of Rome as there are no sky scrapers impeding your view all around. I stayed at the top and got my 7Euro’s worth for the elevator ride up. It was still raining but I had barely noticed at this point. I was in awe of this place already and its sheer magnitude. I took a few iphone shots and eventually made my way back to the hotel. It was dark by this point, still raining a good bit, and I was starting to feel the time difference creep up on me. I made my way around the corner of my hotel and snagged two slices of my first authentic pizza margherita. Wow. Good pizza would be putting it mildly. Still full of excitement, and now pizza, I walked the short walk back to my hotel and turned in for the night in hopes of getting an early start the next day.

I woke up very early the next morning for some reason. It could be attributed to my horrible sleep patterns, normal lack of sleep, and/or the 6 hour time difference between Rome and America. I saw the sun start to pour through my window on the west side of my room and I began to smile. Today was going to be a good day – it was not raining! I slugged myself out of bed and made my way over to my little window, opened up the doors and the sun was making her presence slowly known over Rome. I sat back down on my bed and looked over the detailed itinerary I had planned out months ago. I quickly realized that this itinerary, although noble, would be a mistake to follow for the next 6 days. I turned my phone back on and looked at the time. It was Sunday. I thought -‘what are the chances the pope is in town?’. Turns out he was and there was Sunday mass scheduled for 10:30 that morning in St.Peters Square. And just like that I had my morning plans.

I grabbed my backpack and headed out the door of my hotel making my way across the street to Café Sin Sin. Here I was told I could buy all sorts of morning delights, including a bus ticket for 1.50Euro that would take me to the Vatican. Ticket in hand I hopped on the 40 Express which I read earlier was notorious for pick pockets. I rode the 40, 81 and a few other local express buses all throughout the week and never ran into any situation where I felt I might be pick pocketed. If you are aware of your surroundings and be alert as you would normally be then you most likely never will have an issue. The bumpy bus ride let me off about 2 blocks from the Vatican. It was roughly 8:30 in the morning and hundreds of people were walking towards St.Peters square for Sunday mass. I noticed people from all over were headed the same direction I was. Large groups of nuns, priests from North Africa, and a variety of pilgrims coming from all of the world all seemingly marching in the same direction I was to be part of the papal mass.

I managed to snag a chair. My chair was roughly 250 yards away from the alter and the pope. Mass began and I was in awe. I was attending mass given by the head of our church at the Vatican. The sea of people ahead of me and behind me all listened intently as the pope gave mass in Italian. I will never forget this day and how close I was to the Pope. As a catholic it is our belief that the Pope is the closest person to God. To hear Pope Francis speak to the crowd and bless the crowd was an event I will always hold in my heart. I even managed to snap a few photographs of the mass and will cherish these photographs forever.

After my decision to visit the Vatican and witness the Pope give mass I realized I had already wildly exceeded my expectations on this trip. Anything after that would be icing on the cake. As I hopped back on the # 40 Express bus headed back into central Rome I realized that I was in for an experience of a lifetime being in this city. Not knowing how the rest of the week was going to go or where it would take me I was prepared for anything and literally ready to explore all of what Rome had to offer.

The following days flew by in a flash and my time in Rome was inching towards an end. Each morning I would wake up early around 7am, hop in the shower to calm my notoriously horrible back down, throw on my clothes and head out the door. Each time I would venture out I had the hotel map given to me on my first day which proved to be the best map I could have used my entire trip. My days in Rome were spent walking the city. I wanted to walk every inch of the eternal city, experiencing first hand as opposed to on top of a tour bus or by taxi. I wanted to feel the cobblestoned streets underneath my well worn sneakers, as only they would truly lead me on my own adventure.

As luck would have it I could not have chosen a more perfectly situated hotel in all of Rome. The Hotel Cosmopolita was located in the heart of Rome and almost every major tourist attraction was in walking distance. As I quickly realized a few days into my trip – Rome can be walked in its entirety. Any location with Rome can be trekked to with a good pair of sneakers, a broken watch, and a good camera to document the journey.

Walking the eternal city allows you to experience so much more than sitting atop one of the many open air tour buses that whirls you past the major attractions. Walking the city throws you directly into the mix of Italian life in Rome and all the joyous attributes it holds. As you walk down any of the thousands of small cobblestoned streets you pass by shops, cafés, vendors selling roasted chestnuts, and most importantly incredible Gelato stands. Yes…it is a must to eat Gelato while in Rome…even in Winter!

Throughout the week I found myself walking everywhere. I walked down the Roman Forum walk which was only 2 blocks away from my hotel. I made my way to the Colosseum only to be pleasantly surprised at how quickly the lined moved to get in. I walked to Trevi Fountain multiple times, both during the day and at night as the fountain atmosphere is completely different at each time. I found myself walking along the Tiber river and stopping off at the Pantheon on my way back to the hotel. The Spanish Steps, Termini Station, The Vespa Museum, Cafés, restaurants, souvineer shops ….you name it I saw it in Rome and was in awe of it all.

Each evening when I would eventually get back to my hotel, downright exhausted and still jubilant from the days adventures, I would revisit the sites I saw that day in my guidebook. I made a habit of doing this to determine how accurate the guidebook really was. The majority of the information in the book was accurate expect for a few things I thought it left out that I think the budding visitor would find helpful to know prior to arriving in Rome.

1. They don’t stamp your passport. I mentioned this earlier in my post. This was a big disappointment but you get over it quickly.
2. Traffic is chaotic in Rome. Seemingly with no pattern or rules to the road but somehow it all works. Watch the Vespa’s & Taxis when you are crossing the road as many times they are traveling at a high rate of speed to what we would normally expect to see in the States.
3. Learn some basic Italian phrases. Learning a few basic greetings will help you out as you get accustomed to the culture. If you do not know a single word of Italian you will still be completely ok. I never ran into anyone that did not speak at least a little English.
4. Taxi’s are VERY expensive in Rome. Learn the transit system if you need to get to & from the airport. It will save you about 52Euros each way by avoiding taking a taxi. But then again, the taxis offer you a straight express ride to and from your destination so it all depends on your travel budget.
5. Allot money for gifts. Less than 30% of Americans hold a passport and the family & friends back home that are not as fortunate to travel to Rome will very much appreciate a little gift from you when you return.
6. Eat. Eat often and eat well. My favorite dish is Spaghetti Carbanarra with Bacon. Oh, and enjoy a coke while you’re there… real sugar in these pops so they taste better. But don’t be surprised to pay for refills.
7. Pack light. Take only what you need when traveling. Over packing will eat into your travel adventure time. Don’t check a bag unless you have to. Remember, you most likely will be bringing some things home so the less you arrive with the better.
8. Bring a camera. This is for obvious reasons.
9. Yes, do as the tourists do and throw coins into the Trevi Fountain. But do it correctly…throw 3 coins over your right shoulder ensuring your return to Rome one day.
10. Enjoy the seemingly small things during each day. Take a few slower sips of your café latte at an outside café, order the most expensive glass of wine on the menu, take in the beauty of the history of Rome and realize how it shaped modern day civilization.
11. Secure an isle seat on your flight to & from. The flight is roughly 8.5-9.5 from NYC to Rome. The return flight is almost 11 hours given the jet stream. It’s a long flight and admittedly the one going to Rome is always better.
12. Take someone with you. I travel mostly alone, including this time to Rome. I enjoy traveling but having someone to experience such a wonderful place with is always preferred.
13. Take an adventure each day you are in Rome. Throw out your itinerary and wing it each day. Walk down streets and get lost. Getting lost results in the most memorable sites you stumble upon. If you have a few days in Rome you have more than enough time to see the major sites and much much more.
14. Understand, accept & realize that you will not see, anywhere else on gods green earth, more beautiful woman than in Rome. If you disagree than I know you havnt been to Rome before.
15. Avoid television and the amenities in your hotel. Go to Rome to experience Rome, not to watch tv and lounge around.
16. Share your photos and stories with your friends back home. Although they are no doubt super jealous they will appreciate seeing the occasional photo or text from you 5000 miles away.
17. Rome in Summer is hot. Rome in Winter is cold. Rome in Winter is also rainy. Spring & Autumn are great times to travel to Rome.
18. Purchase your Vatican and other major attraction tickets online before you travel to Rome. The lines wont be that long in the off season during Winter but if you find yourself in Rome during the Summer the last thing you want to do is wait in line for 4 hours when you can ‘skip the line’ with a pre-purchased ticket. Avoid the ‘tours’ as much as possible.
19. When visiting the Vatican – prepare to be overwhelmed. Quickly realize you would have to live a lifetime at the Vatican to see all the exhibits, paintings & sculptures. Take your time of course and be sure to visit the major sites – Sistine Chapel & St.Peter’s Basilica.
20. When in Rome – you want to stay in Rome. Coming home from Rome is the toughest thing you may have to do. I honestly did not want to leave Rome. By the end of my week I started envisioning a life there and contemplating my ‘options’.

In summary of my ramblings about Rome and as mentioned previously, no words can accurately describe the eternal city properly. Any attempts to describe the atmosphere of Rome to friends and family will always remain futile and leave you almost frustrated tripping over your words. Rome immediately went to the top of my lists as favorite places Ive been and remains as the most beautiful and inspiring place I have ever been blessed to visit.


An evening in Rome - {SHORT STORIES SERIES} - {Vol. 1} by Ben Resini

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PAULO & FRANCESCA

The sun came crashing down over the Tiber with a magnificent display of natural beauty and power, closing out the hours of a long hot summer day in Rome. She walked slowly across the cobble-stoned streets, not really there but lost in her own mind about the possibility of the city. How enthralling the city was to her. It captivated her, holding her in a dream-like grasp not soon letting go. She knew she had found her home among the side streets and corridors of the eternal city. She would go by the name Francesca. 

Native to the city, all knowing of its intricacies and secrets, Paulo was a man on the run. Not literally but in his present tense racing towards Termini station to catch his train home. Weaving his way thru tourists and Vespas he found himself breathless and tired trying to get home. The long and steaming mid-August day in Rome had worn him out. He longed for rest and solitude on his journey out of the city. He proclaimed no return would be possible until he was brought back to strength on his families farm just south of Rome about 150 kilometers. 

Ticket in hand he boarded the train and settled in for the long journey home. What happened next changed the course and direction of both himself and the beautiful woman he found sitting next to him grasping her passport. 

Ciao bella, my name is Paulo. 

Ciao, my name is Francesca. 

Fine.