“Ma che freddo fa” or “how cold it is” really sums up the Roman climate right now. The original song premiered at the 19th edition of the Sanremo Music Festival with a double performance of Nada and The Rokes. That said, living in Italy 5 odd years ago I fell in love with the Giusy Ferreri cover. While the song talks about anything but the weather, it is often bouncing around my brain and fuelling my steps as a I wander the streets. This post is dedicated to my winter so far. I have been courteous enough to add subheadings so you can find points of interest:
Personal stuff…feel free to skip to my city wanderings if you wish!
The last month I have been a little lax with the blog due to a few personal milestones and celebrations happening amidst the chaos of finishing 2020. I turned 30 a few weeks ago. That was a big one. The weird thing about turning 30 in Italy is that I also celebrated my 21st here almost a decade prior. At the time, my current housemate Paola was actually still in high school. She was also my English student. A decade later, so many things have changed for me. I would not say that I am wiser. I guess that the more you reach certain milestones, the more you realise that proper adults have no actual idea what they are doing. We plunge into our quotidian doing, more often than not, what is expected of us: achieving certain goals by certain ages. Paradoxically, I feel that it is when you reach those so-called milestones, that you realise that you really never reach a conclusion; a point where you can say “I am on my game”. I will say that, if anything, this chapter that I will soon be calling “my twenties” has taught me that I will always have more to learn.
How did I celebrate? My wonderful house family made me delicious lasagne with pumpkin and sausage and another amazing person made me a divine Sacher cake. I was spoilt by family and friends all over the world. It was simple and nourishing. I loved it!
Now, back to wandering…
The Commute – By car, scooter and Metro
Since working in Rome I am yet to purchase the red vintage Fiat 500 of my dreams (alas); however, two of my lovely colleagues live on my side of town and have been kind enough to lend their kilometres across the city to me: every afternoon I jump in and hitch a ride from Portuense to Roma Nord, where I currently live. This affords me the wonderful authentic experience of almost being killed every day. Not by my wonderful “Uber driver” of course, but the crazy Italian drivers. Lanes are simply optional, as are seatbelts, and stopping at red lights. “Passare col rosso” (running a red) is a common occurrence and, it appears, scooters and motorbikes also have a set of rules that no one outside their secret society has been made privy to. That said, I love every minute of it. Whoever hops on those heinous tourist buses has my complete understanding, but you simply must be in a civilian car to get that real dangerous dolce vita. As my colleague “Uber” zips between lanes and the idiots who drive along them, I make the most of the time to admire the various routes we take:
Il Lungo Tevere– This drive was the first one we use to go on. I adore following the Tiber River because it leads you past the lesser-known Jewish Quarter (more on that in another post), L’Isola Tiberina as well as Castel Sant’Angelo.
Il Centro– Nothing beats passing by Teatro Marcello and heading towards Piazza Venezia. Lately, the historical centre has been open to traffic. The most wonderful treat this winter has been seeing the daily developments of the Christmas tree until it was fully erected in all its splendent majesty. We always seem to hit this part of the centre when the sun is setting and an explosive shade of fizzy pink stretches across the skies of Piazza Venezia. This roundabout has to be the most captivating in the world. As you swing around the head towards Via del Corso, you musty do a cheeky look back: in the distance, past L’Altare della Patria, stretch your vision towards the Colosseum itself. That little peak at the end of a working day makes everything worth it.
The bike run – One ride home I shall never forget:
One day, my lovely “Uber” had a personal appointment and could not give me a lift home. I despaired for all of 5 minutes thinking I would have to attempt to socially distance for about an hour on various modes of public transport to get to my humble abode on the other side of the city. Fortunately, my other colleague said “Skye, do you know how to ride on the back of a scooter?” My response: YASSSSSSSSSSSSSS. (Side story: I lived with the infamous and oh-so-cliched “ex-boyfriend” in Puglia for 5 years in which time I gained significant proficiency as a scooter passenger.)
Ragazzi! (Guys!) I lived my Italian dream! I remember seeing “The Lizzie McGuire Movie” at a friend’s place during a girly high school sleepover. You know? The one where she goes to Rome on a school trip and meets Paolo? Well, I do not have a Paolo (working on it), but I do have a Paola (my housemate) and NOW my fantasy is complete: We slalomed down the main streets through Piazza Venezia and down Via del Corso. I was dressed in my camel work coat and felt like a veritable movie star (admittedly clinging firmly to the passenger handles) as we weaved in and out of traffic to head home.
Well folks, next post is all about my winter wanderings around various city spots including the Jewish Quarter.
Skye xoxoxox Un bacio