We have neither a Starbucks nor a Pizza Hut in the village, so I was tremendously excited about travelling to the home of good coffee and Italian food.

Rome (or Roma, as we bilingualists call it) is a wonderful place to be in the spring. The city is buzzy and vibrant, and there is not as much dog shit as there is in, say, Paris. I meandered the streets happily whilst the LTLP attended her Important Scientific Conference.

There are lots of people who say that the British are a bit hung up about their Empire – well, I say we don’t go on about it half as much as the Romans do. Everywhere you go there are notices and inscriptions and buildings with spotlights pointing towards them. In my opinion they need to get over this before they can build a new Italy that will take its place in modern Europe and hopefully have less boring football.

Incidentally, I noticed that whilst at its peak the Roman Empire covered the whole of Europe south of Hadrian’s Wall and up to what’s now Germany to the West, and stretched into swathes of North Africa, they never managed to conquer Wales. I don’t know if they were too bothered about this, but it must have been annoying when they looked at their maps to see this tiny part of Europe that wasn’t theirs.

I loved Rome, but I’m not sure if I could live there. With the redevelopment of King’s Lynn town centre continuing apace, we will soon have our own eternal city which will probably be just as good.

Granted, we don’t have a Colosseum and that, but I’m sure we can manage a Via Delia Smith and a Piazza Tony Martin.

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