Well, this is it. My last column before leaving the homeland for back home. It’s so sad. There are so many more topics I could cover, so many interesting little factoids that I could’ve written entire articles about but didn’t have the time to.
I almost wish I could stay here another semester, if for no other reason than to have another twelve installments of the Temple Rome Chronicles to write. In the interest of giving these would-be topics their props, here are some notes
I’ve made in my final week in Rome.
LA METROPOLITNA ROMA: In many ways, the Roman subway is superior to SEPTA. It runs faster and more often and it’s cheaper. (A monthly pass costs
$25 here; it would run between $65 and $125 in Philly.)
On the other hand, the underground is filthy and has a habit of going on strike without warning.
I was once taking the subway from school to my residence when the train stopped one station before mine, all the doors opened, and the conductor announced that it was on strike and everybody had to leave.
SKORIE INDUSTRIALE: This place has the coolest music, the best photography (courtesy of my buddy Eleanor) and the strongest Black Russians of any bar in Rome.
“SEXBOMB”: This song is huge over here. And from what I understand, it hasn’t caught on in the States yet. What the heck? Sure, it’s sick and disturbing to hear the 50-something Tom Jones crooning about sex, but the song is so damn catchy!
BLATANT SEXUALITY IN ADVERTISING: Speaking of sex, it’s all over the place here. Implied sex in advertising is an American thing. Here, TV commercials, billboards and street signs have no qualms about displaying naked women, often in compromising positions. For example: I once saw a commercial for tile caulk that showed a woman taking a shower, complete with full, frontal nudity — the whole nine yards. Caulk: you can’t get unsexier than that.
NUTELLA: An amazing concoction of chocolate and hazelnut you can put on anything to make a delicious dessert.
PICKPOCKETING: I knew quite a few people in the program who were pick pocketed and lost a lot of money. I never had a problem with it. Of course, I didn’t walk around in large groups of English-speaking people wearing expensive clothes and carrying bags from Gucci and Versace.
PORTA PORTESE: Europe’s largest, most crowded and arguably shadiest flea market offers great deals on just about everything — just steer clear if you’re claustrophobic. Metro Line B, Piramide stop.
TRASTEVERE – I found this to be my favorite section of town, with the medieval cobblestone streets (which made for great pictures), fantastic restaurants, cool bars and people with a lively atmosphere. This was much better than the American-centric Campo Di Fiori.
CHANGE-MAKING AND THE LACK THEREOF: For some reason, Romans are very stingy with their change. Stores, restaurants and the like want you to pay as close to the amount that you are being charged as possible. I received everything from dirty looks to outright complaints when I tried purchasing items with a L.50, 000 bill (the same as paying with a $20 back home).
LA FAMILIA SCHILACCI: Grazia, Rosaria, Luigi, Nicola and Felicia — my Sicilian family. They gave me a fantastic spring break and, among other things, introduced me to the wonders of Limoncello.
LIMONCELLO: Fantastic dessert liquor native to Italy, which consists of lemon, sugar and grain alcohol. It goes down easy, but watch your intake because it’s very potent.
MY ROOMMATES: Justin Pagliei, Dave Sugihara and Steve Taylor — the most functional bunch of people I’ve ever lived with. It was a pleasure to have sane roommates for once!