They entered Rome, not on a fine day, not on a fine night, but on a dark evening, in dreary weather which makes everything dull and indistinct. They crossed the Tiber without noticing it; they entered Rome by the Porta del Popolo which leads straight into the Corso, the main street of the modern city but the least distinctive part of Rome because it is more like other European cities
In Rome, that caravanserai, everything is foreign, even the Romans, who seem to live there not like owners, bur like pilgrims resting beside the ruins.
The common people of Rome are familiar with the arts, and discuss sculpture with good taste. Pictures, monuments, antiques, and a certain level of literary merit, are for them a national interest.
Mme de Stael, Corinne, or Italy (1807)