Rome city of style, culture, food, music and romance. It's almost impossible to imagine how it could be improved. Well, add the charming and talented Patrizio Buanne to the equation and there you have it: perfection.
Buanne's rich baritone voice is ideal for traditional Italian love songs and 1950s and '60s standards. Always the picture of sartorial splendour, Patrizio is tall, dark, handsome, polished and immaculate. He says his music is as Italian as pasta.
The 27-year-old was raised in Naples and from the age of four sang the Neapolitan songs of his father's childhood. The Buanne family moved to Austria when Patrizio was six and his father opened that country's first pizzeria. Before he turned 20, Patrizio won countless talent shows, played Elvis Presley on stage and sang before the Pope.
Just as at home in Rome as Naples, Patrizio was delighted to take the Getaway crew on a tour. It began at the Spanish Steps, a steep set of stairs running between Piazza di Spagna at the base, Piazza Trinita dei Monti and the church under the patronage of the Bourbon kings of France, Trinita dei Monti, above. The 138 steps were built with French funds in 1725 and linked the Bourbon Spanish embassy to the Holy See.
Next was a visit to the Trevi Fountain. The baroque fontana stands 25.9 metres high and 19.8 metres wide and is the most ambitious fountain ever created in Rome. Its central figure is Neptune, god of the sea, standing in front of a large niche. He is riding a chariot in the shape of a shell, pulled by two seahorses, each guided by a triton. One horse is calm, the other restive, symbolising the fluctuating moods of the sea. Legend has it that if you throw a coin over your shoulder into the fountain, you will return to Rome.
Piazza Navona, a marvel of light and sculpture, is very long and owes its shape to the ruins that formed it. Under the buildings surrounding the piazza are the remains of the Circus Domitianus, Domitian's stadium. Part of it can be seen to the left of the north exit.
The piazza marks the area for the races in the stadium. It has many fine old buildings, a beautiful church and three magnificent fountains. It was in the arena that the 12-year-old Christian Agnes, who had refused to marry a pagan, was martyred on the spot where the church of Sant'Agnese is located. It was also the site of the Agonal games in ancient times.
Today, the lively square is filled with entertainers and open air cafes.
The Castel Sant'Angelo was built by Emperor Hadrian as a mausoleum. Construction began in 123 A.D. and finished in 139 A.D., during the reign of Hadrian's successor Antonius Pius.
The building consisted of a square 89-metre-wide base on which a cylindrical colonnaded drum with a diameter of 64 metres was constructed. On the drum was an earthen tumulus topped by a quadriga with Hadrian's statue.
The mausoleum was connected to the city at the other side of the river by a newly constructed bridge, the Pons Aelius, now known as the Pont Sant'Angelo. Its many statues were added during the Renaissance. The mausoleum housed the remains of Hadrian and his successors up to Caracalla.
Rome is a marvellous city to walk around. Every street, piazza and nook has something delightful to offer.