Ah Rome, you must be living “La Dolce Vita”, is something I hear often when I visit the United States. When people visit Rome they see laundry hanging and perhaps someone passing on a bike, possibly with that evening’s ingredients for dinner, thoughts of “how idyllic’ come to mind. While it is not just Rome, but other places in Italy visited, people take notice of the differing lifestyle lived here. Things move a bit at a slower pace, even the Internet service. You may notice that shops close midday. You may see that there are no Starbucks on every corner.
I hate to tell you, but Fellini’s movie, “La Dolce Vita” was actually an irony. Now, I’ve come to accept I need to watch the weather in order to do my laundry. I rejoice when I see a 5 day forecast filled with sunny days and romanticize the thoughts of clean things I can get done. I think I may wash napkins for crying out loud. As for the shopping, two reasons for the constant shopping, freshness from the market and the size of the space in the apartments. Seriously, who wants to pedal their bike to the market every day? But you develop a rapport with the owners of the frutteria (produce) and alimentari (food). Many of the food items have no preservatives and rot quickly here as well. Oh and coffee…there is no “to go” or “take away”. Now, that you have lifted yourself from the floor, you can enjoy the best coffees standing at the bar or at a table with friends. What is your rush?
But what I have found is that I live in a wonderful neighborhood. I love the owners of our Fruitteria always eager to show me the best fruits and vegetables in season. I even got cooking tips for the eggplant that were amazing. As for the Alimentari, I get great food and wine recommendations. As for coffee, I have two bars that I frequent. One is nearby our apartment, the other is near my son’s school that I enjoy with the other school parents. It’s true that we discuss getting errands done before the midday shutdown and if there will be another sciorpero coming up. Oh, yes, “sciorpero” is an ugly Italian meaning transit strike, which can be downright maddening.
What I have found in Rome is that it moves at a different pace, a rhythm. It is different, not making it bad, but know that you cannot change it. When you fully embrace it, you show Fellini that you can find a Dolce Vita.