Robert Browning probably never made it to Rome in March during all his years living in Italy. If he had, he would surely have eaten a Roman artichoke and then, forgetting all about England in springtime, would have written “Oh to be in Rome now that artichoke season is here.”
I, on the other hand, have been in Rome for every artichoke season since 1996 – except for this year. I’m not happy, but I’m dealing with it. And hoping some late bloomers will still be around in April
My friends have been speculating for years as to why I go to Rome every March. Maybe I’ve been rendezvousing with a mysterious Italian lover (they’d be sick with jealousy), sneaking off to experience the rejuvenation powers of a thermal spa (they’d be jealous of this, too), or maybe reaffirming my faith at a Vatican-sponsored religious retreat (they’d probably question this one)? Love does play a role here, and I certainly do get a physical and spiritual boost, but the object of my passion happens to spring from the rich, humid earth of the Roman countryside. I go to Rome every March because artichokes are in season.
And a Roman artichoke, unlike a lover, never disappoints.