Learn more about the Eternal City through my “Seven Facts of the Week” and discover which are the characteristics that make it my favourite city.
When the ladies of the #Dolcevitabloggers’ group – the amazing Kelly, Kristie and Jasmine – shared the topic of this month’s linkup – “Favorite city in Italy” – I admit I internally cursed, since asking something like that to an Italian is almost like forcing a man to give up one of his limbs or asking him to choose between his mother and father. Was I supposed to say my hometown? The places related to my childhood? After much consideration, I’ve come to realize that all these doubts were pointless, as, let’s be honest, one can have personal preferences, but the winner is always going to be one and one only: Rome.
At this point, there was another issue: exactly today I was supposed to write an article about Rome as it’s part of a project I’m carrying out on Instagram + WordPress called “12 Weeks in Italy”. So, was I supposed to write about Rome twice in a day? I came to a conclusion that it was better to “prendere due piccioni con una fava” or “kill two birds with one stone”, as you people say in English, and I hope our lovely hosts will forgive me if I took the liberty of joining the two things.
So, why Rome?
It’s overwhelmingly beautiful
Saying “because it’s unfairly beautiful” sounds like stating the obvious, but eh, can you blame someone for saying it out aloud? It’s so packed with beautiful art that you often are under the impression that it’s all “too much” and you can’t handle it.
If you’ve seen La Grande Bellezza you probably remember the Japanese man looking down on Rome from the Gianicolo Hill and having an heart-attack as a result of the Stendhal’s Syndrome. When roaming around Rome, you don’t see cases as extreme, but you do actually witness to the weirdest reactions by tourists.
During my last stay in Rome, for example, as I was walking inside the historical complex of the Trajan’s Market – basically the first shopping mall in history – I saw a man crouching down, almost weeping, and softly caressing the bricks of a low wall.
As I approached him, slightly alarmed and considering if it was the case to call the Mental Health Services, I heard him quietly whispering: “The red brick of Rome…in Australia we don’t have the red brick!” So yeah guys, when you say that we Italians are overdramatic, please reconsider it as it must be something in the air, haha.
Jokes aside, even if we are Italian and it’s our own Capital city, Rome’s beauty never ceases to amaze us. It’s almost too much for a single city.
It’s authentic (even painfully so)
I don’t know about you, guys, but when talking about relationships and people in general, I have always craved for authenticity my whole life. I hardly stand liars and people that feel the need to act in order to be validated in a social environment. For this reason, I always feel quite at home among Romans who, even if can be rather brazen at times, they are not fake for sure and have not problems in sharing what they really think about you. As a person who has always liked to express her own views and that can handle other people’s opinions even if different, it’s always refreshing having a conversation with these people and not having to worry about them judging you for not being “proper” or compliant.
This level of authenticity is also reflected in the city itself, which is all but perfect, but that does not feel the need to lie about it. Rome can indeed be really frustrating and, as Severgnini likes to state “It’s the kind of place that can have you fuming and then purring in the space of a hundred meters”. You have to prepare yourself for a rollercoaster of emotions when in Rome as, yes, one moment you’ll be almost crying for the absolute beauty of it all, the next second you will scream in frustration for the utter disorganization in every aspect of the city life.
This does not mean that Romans lie about it, though, as I said. Even if sometimes they are a bit too stuck in their own ways and not very prone to change, they are well aware of the problems of living in such a city and they do not sugar-coat the reality of their everyday life. They tell you how it is to live in such a metropolis and won’t depict Rome as an Eden on Earth.
So, even if as normal citizens it must be really hard to live in Rome, I think that as tourists we are allowed to appreciate the frankness of its local culture and its ability to show itself as a real city with merits and flaws, and not as a model of perfection.
It’s the whole world in one city
“Caput mundi”, the Capital of the world, this is how Rome is nicknamed. Even if nowadays Italy has basically no relevance on an International level in terms of politics, when you set foot in Rome you do have the impression to be at the centre of the world.
There is no event, crises or struggle that Rome hasn’t seen and survived and it does seem that the Old Lady has a lot to teach to the new Superpowers of the world that nowadays are facing certain issues for the first time in their history. Rome and Romans have literally seen it all and their living history can be a teacher to all those who care to listen. It’s all written in the city’s ruins.
Before leaving you with my “7 facts of the week” about Rome, let me suggest to you to watch Oliver Astrologo’s video called “Roma” if you haven’t already. It’s the best video about the Eternal City out there, hands down.
Here you are the first 7 entries of my project “12 Weeks in Italy”. If you want to learn more about Italy and Italian culture, consider to follow me on Instagram where I share daily info and stay tuned in here. Grazie, a presto!