10 observations about Rome, Italy:
- Italians are very friendly. Whereas the French look annoyed and offended by the very sight of an American, Italians are genuinely friendly and helpful.
- There are 4,000 restaurants in Rome and 90 percent of them are the same. The restaurants have different signage and décor, but the same homemade pastas, antipasti’s, gnocchi, etc. It is difficult to get a bad meal in Rome with most restaurants serving hand rolled and hand cut pasta.
- Italians drive crazy. There are roundabouts with cars shooting in haphazardly from three different directions. Tiny cars and Vespas cut off busses and busses change lanes as if there wasn’t a car directly beside it. I feel when I am in a taxi in Rome I am risking my life, but the Italians all seem to know how to navigate their crazy streets. When Italians drive, there is no one looking, talking or texting on their phones because then they couldn’t be on high alert when another car pulls right in front of them.
- Everywhere you turn in any part of Rome, you will find a part of history; a hundred or thousand-year-old building, relic or tribute to someone famous from ancient Roman times.
- This is how Romans give walking directions to an area: “It’sa very easya. All you doa is take this roada downa, turn right and then lefta. Very closa.” It always seemed so close and reasonable to walk to our next destination, when in fact it was always farther than they said and their directions were usually lacking a few more rights or lefts than mentioned. Lets just say we were lost a lot.
- In Italy, they WILL NOT take your credit card from you at the end of the meal as you are waving it at them like they do in America. Americans are always so busy and when we are done with our meal we like to pay and go. Italians like to sit and relax at the end of their meals. We talked to our friends while here in Rome and everyone concluded that they will not take your credit card EVER before the bill is dropped. You must wait another 10 minutes for the check to come out and then you are allowed to pay and then you must wait another 10 minutes for them to pick up your credit card and another 10 for them to process it and hand it back. Maybe there is a lesson learned for us; try to sit and relax and enjoy the moment. This is difficult when there are so many wonderful things to see as a visitor of Rome.
- Italians are very small people. Being a small person myself, I notice my kind when I see them. Many of the men I see around Rome are no taller than my height, 5’2”. Michaelangelo was only 5’ tall and very petite in frame.
- There are not many homeless people in Rome. I was just in San Francisco a week before leaving for Rome and was appalled at all of the homeless people everywhere begging. Two old homeless ladies who were not in their right mind came into a Starbucks while my friend Lesley and I were getting our coffee and started begging customers for money to buy them a muffin. It was so sad. In Rome, you will see your occasional old, scarved hunched over begging woman. I think I saw two homeless people the duration of our stay in Rome.
- We don’t drink a lot of Italian wine at home, but we realized that we LOVE the smooth dry taste of a Brunello. As far as I’m concerned, Brunello may have to replace Zinfandel in our home for awhile.
- Rome and Florence truly have beautiful hand made products. I splurged and bought a couple of handbags made in Florence with the softest, most pliable leather. Their leather jackets are extraordinary. There are hundreds of beautiful scarves being sold by vendors on the sidewalks in Florence and Rome. And don’t get me started on the shoes. Rome and Florence have some of the best looking shoes around. I noticed that Italians of all ages like wearing these leather shoes that look a lot like Birkenstocks and I wondered if I am going to be able to break out my birks from the 90s soon.
I would like to mention that Chris took all of these fabulous pictures and edited them himself.
Until next time, the Mothership is signing off.