Going as far back as High School, I was always told, "You've got to go to Rome, you particularly will love it."
I went, I liked it, but I didn't quite see how it was better than London or Paris or some of the other places I'd gone to when I first went to Europe in 1963, at age 32.
Over the years though, it hit me. Rome was like home. The people in Italy in general and Rome, in particular, were patient with the idiot American who ordered coffee calda because it sounded to him like calda meant cold (it does not).
In some countries language, or lack of it, is a barrier. The Parisians barely tolerate the accents of non-Parisians, and though I love Paris, I always feel the "tourist" because I don't speak French.
Rome, for me, was quite different. There was patience, warmth and a joie de vivre, (which though a French phrase, meaning "joy of life,") seems particularly apt for all of Italy where one of the phrases most often heard is, Va bene, which (roughly) translates to, "It's okay."
Once, I was planning to go to the Sistine Chapel with L.A. (my wife), and we were told that it was closed that afternoon.
"Sistine is closed? That's ridiculous. It's never closed!" I ranted.
As we wandered through other parts of the Vatican L.A. noticed a limousine pulling up in the courtyard. She said, "Look, Jay!"
I leaned out and saw Mikhail Gorbachev (then Premier of the Soviet Union) getting out of the limo.
I put the 300mm lens up to my eye and was told by a cop, gently waving a finger at me, "No, No, No" - But there was a warmth even in that.
I wanted to say "Va bene," but I didn't.