On our first day of exploring in Rome, which was a Sunday, we kept seeing confetti everywhere. It was seriously everywhere, blanketing all the streets and sidewalks.
It wasn't like we missed a parade or something because we would have noticed that, maybe. There was just confetti that seemed to have rained from the sky and now the cleaning crews were out in droves trying to sweep it up. By the way, Italian cleaning crews apparently only hire former models. The only people we saw sweeping up the confetti were some of the most gorgeous women I'd ever seen in coveralls.
We finally stumbled across the source of it.
The children of Rome were the culprit! For some reason, the children of Rome were dressed up in costume and throwing handfuls of confetti made from old newspapers. We saw a couple more instances of kids doing this, but for the most part, the rest of the day and the next were pretty uneventful, at least on the confetti front.
On our last day in Rome, Tuesday, we were going to all the last minute sites we could. We had already spent the morning hunting Renaissance sculpture and trying to get into the Borghese Gallery without a reservation (if you ever go to Rome, you need to go there, but make a reservation! We were lucky and someone cancelled theirs, but almost didn't get to see it.) After spending most of the afternoon walking around the park that housed the gallery, I realized we were very close to the Piazza del Popolo, which is totally in "Return to Me" (Oh yeah, that's right. Another Minnie Driver reference!)
And wouldn't you guess what we found?
A whole plaza filled with children in costume and oodles of confetti! I love that little kid dressed as a tiger just dumping his bag out. I swear I must have creepily watched him for 20 minutes.
Fortunately, there were signs telling us what this was all about.
CARNIVAL! Italian Mardi Gras! We were in what is probably the largest Catholic city in the world and had wandered into the epicenter. There were booths and plays and reenactors in Renaissance apparel and hoards of children throwing confetti. It was awesome. And can I just say, why don't we do this here? I understand the density of the Catholic population is much lower here than in Italy, but I don't think many people would care about the religious meaning if it meant just dressing up in costume and throwing confetti. I'd be all for that.
So once we were thoroughly tired, we mapped out the best route back to our hotel. Well, weren't we surprised that apparently our route back to our hotel was the parade route.
The tiny street we planned to walk back to our hotel was wall to wall with people. It was a little hard to maneuver, but at least we were going with the flow of traffic. We had planned to go back to the hotel, relax a bit, grab some dinner, and take the subway back to the square after dark when the real craziness started, but that was a pipe dream given how fast our energy was waning.
Today is Mardi Gras. Carnival. And while I'm glad to be having a much calmer Tuesday than that day, just thinking about it makes me want to plan our next adventure.
Where should we be confused next?