I'm happy to report that I am once again living in Rome's Monti area, where I lived for almost all of 2012. It's a great neighbourhood, snugged in beside the Imperial Forum which runs alongside the Roman Forum, divided only by the major Via dei Fori Imperial.
In fact, the western edge of Monti, known in ancient times as Subura, is formed by a high stone wall along Via Tor de’ Conti, which follows the contours of the forums of Augustus, Vespasian, Trajan, and Nerva.
The wall was built to protect Imperial Rome from the ancient slum, where Julius Caesar is said to have grown up.
Indeed, Monti remained a rather rough, unpopular neighbourhood until Rome became the capital of a united Italy in 1871.
I moved back in to Monti just in time to see the Christmas tree still set up in front of the Colosseum, now undergoing some restoration work and partly hidden under scaffolding.
The holiday tree will likely be removed right after the January 6 Epiphany holiday.
After hearing of the terrible snowstorms that people in Canada and parts of the United States have been facing in these first few days of January 2014, I am doubly thrilled to see lots of green grass around here.