This same trip to Italy, in the late spring of 2001, involved further exploration of the Amalfi coast and a visit to Pompeii – impossible to skip but strangely unaffecting, perhaps because of the crowds and also because of my own confusion, in the vast network of ruins, over what was original and what had been reconstructed or heavily restored.  The Greco-Roman ruins at Paestum, which were virtually deserted and had beautiful roses growing among them, had been more enjoyable, in part, I suppose, because I had fewer expectations attached to them.

At this point, our group had gone its separate ways, and my traveling companion and I found ourselves with a last night in Rome before our flight home.  We didn’t have a hotel reservation, and I lobbied hard to stay, just for this one night, at the Hotel Eden, which my trusty Fodor’s had informed me was “superlative”, had a rooftop bar with a famous view over the city, and – the unanswerable selling point – had been the favorite hotel of Federico Fellini.  We walked in off the street and were given what must have been one of their prettiest rooms.  I’ve been looking at the hotel’s website just now, and none of the rooms photographed on the site have that wonderful green wallpaper.  I hope this doesn’t mean they’ve gotten rid of it!

The sheets were linen… this may have been a first for me, but it was not a last, because I got a couple sets as soon as I could after getting home, and have never looked back.  Linen sheets are not cheap, but they last forever (so far), and I’m surprised they’re not much more popular.  I can still feel the warm air as I sit on the window seat and eat my room service breakfast… heaven.  My traveling companion was complaining about the expense, but once in a while, something really is worth it.

Ordinarily, I’m not given to photographing bathrooms, but this one was so spectacularly be-marbled that I had to document it:

It’s been my idea of the ideal bathroom ever since.  Such an elegant combination of luxury and simplicity.  I see, on Flickr and elsewhere, that others have felt compelled to photograph their Eden bathrooms as well!  But I think ours was the very, very best.

I don’t know what the Eden’s ownership situation was ten years ago, but I see that today it is owned by the Starwood chain, and I hope it doesn’t mean that things there are somehow a little less fabulous, because I would dearly love to stay again one day.  Or is it better, when something is perfect, not to try to go back?