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There is a 12th-century French proverb meant to signal that greatness takes time. “Rome wasn’t built in a day,” the saying goes.
The Eternal City isn’t really meant to be seen in a day, either. But I was going to try.
I had been in Rome for on assignment with Secretary of State John Kerry, seeing the city mostly from a motorcade, glancing at sites from a van window in between stops for press conferences and photo ops. But when Kerry departed for the Middle East, I remained in Rome, tacking on about a day and a half of personal time.
I had no guidebook, had done no planning, and was traveling alone.