I think that what hit me most from an English literary work regarding Rome was the quote in A Room with a View”
“A smell! a true Florentine smell! Every city, let me teach you, has its own smell.”
“Is it a very nice smell?” said Lucy, who has inherited from her mother a distaste to dirt.
“One doesn’t come to Italy for niceness, ” was the retort; “one comes for life” (chapter 2)
And this notion of Lucy’s ideals or perceptions of “nice” is in regards to her own experiences. She expects the scent to be “nice” or “proper”, but in realty, every ity does have its own smell–because it has its own way of life… It is something that I was aware of, but you cannot truly understand until you have been somewhere other than the place you are used to; Rome did not smell nice. There were places that smelt nice inside of Rome, like the bakery, but as a whole Rome did not smell nice. It doesn’t need to smell nice. It smells of vibrancy, and life, and those who live there. It smells as it should–different than what we are used to, and I truly appreciated that. I may not have enjoyed some aspects of the scent at the time, but I am glad that it did smell different than I had expected, because it was powerful, and I remember it now.