Rome is still asleep. The morning air tastes different, untainted as of yet by pizza and tobacco. A few workmen amble along the fountain, sharing a cigarette and a joke. Their laughter bounces against the old discolored stones and dies off in a musical echo. In the background Neptune stands tall, his muscles perfect, held in tension and plaster. His entourage hangs around him, playing it up in the fresh morning light. I follow their every curve, dent and detail in quick greedy movements.
In an hour everything will change: floating sunflowers, umbrellas and backpacks will push me to a corner. Tacky souvenirs will push the fountain in a corner. Vendors will set up their knock offs under the eye of a concerned Madonna. Somewhere in the crowd a wallet will be misplaced; and Rome will be lost in a swirl of clichés.