Imagine, if you would, that everything you were looking at has about 2000 years of history stemming from one of the greatest and most powerful civilizations that has ever existed. Yet despite buildings being built up on one another and hosting one of the most consistently used roads in history, pre-medieval/post ancient settlers had no idea an ancient civilization existed there at all.
Then, on top of all that, construct the origin of a religion at the center of western civilization and pour in an obscene amount of money and art like icing on a cake so dense that you can't cut it.
The end result is a city that you can't build a proper subway in because every time you dig you find history. You also get the European equivalent of Disneyworld: more weekend event than city, more teenage class trip than a place to raise a family.
Into this place throw two American twentysomethings, one has been here 5 times with his father (a professor in a study abroad program) and the other has never left the country before. Neither learns a lick of Italian, except for what they pick up from subway announcements.
They drink wine. They wander aimlessly. They embarrass themselves in front of shop keepers. They get blisters on their feet from walking upwards of 4 miles daily. They, by the end, never want to see a fresco or a marble bust ever again.
They see the Pope. Twice. The second time he's a white speck in a window no larger than a penciltip. They think he might be a puppet. Or a cardboard cutout.
They see a whole mess of other stuff, have a lot of fun, and (insert sappy stuff about friendship here).
Rest of pictures are here.
6 hours ago