Rome: Hanging out Roman-style

Posted on December 5, 2006



by moscerino

I have one thing to say to anyone coming to Rome, whether for a short tourist visit or a long extended stay:

Rome is not Paris, nor London, nor New York.  
Don’t even think that way.

Everything expected of bustling cities with never-ending rat’s nests of underground arteries called “metro” or “tube” or “subway” that go from here to there in minutes should never be expected in Rome. There are no quick visits from the east side to west side just for a cup of coffee, a party or a good kebab. No hip, stylish hotel lounge bars where bankers, actresses, models, writers, locals, ex-pats, adventurers, teachers and artists gather together to smoke cigarettes, drink and dance to amazing DJ sets. There are no confessions on the dance floor.

Rome is the exact opposite of these cities appropriately mythicized in films like Killing Zoe, An American Werewolf in London, and American Psycho where slick backgrounds, fast movement and fab parties pepper the scenes… On a sweeter note, Rome is and forever will be a Roman Holiday, where riding around on a motorino all day is the most work you will ever want to do when visiting or living here.   

Getting anywhere requires an appreciation for patience and public transportation. You’ll find yourself taking many buses in order to travel in a straight line. The trip is guaranteed to be visually stimulating – for example, in what other city can you ride an environmentally safe mini-bus at 15 mph around a 2nd century temple while on your way to go shopping?  

I prefer the taxi when I’m impatient. Taxi drivers remind me that Rome is about relaxation as they are unrecognized philosophers. Whether speaking English or Italian, free wisdom proffered about football (soccer), love, tourism, work and life accompanies every spin around the city I’ve taken. I’ve learned when to give up boyfriends and what kind of contract I should request for a freelance job. And the best wisdom – smiling gets you a good fare.

Bicycles (and your feet) are perhaps the most beautiful way to see the city. The “ride and stop” mentality epitomizes Roman life. You may never get to where you think you want to go because there is always something or someone to see along the way, and in Rome, its important to remember to stop. Getting lost is almost impossible. How could you ever be truly lost in a city where there is always a beautiful piazza just around the corner?

To make it a little more clear, Rome is all about the Hang Out, the downtime between buon giorno, buona sera and buona notte. When you are here, enjoy the fermata (I quote Nicholas Baker) – the pause for your morning café, late afternoon aperitivo, and never-ending dinner. 

Bus and metro information
Vintage car and vespa rental
Bicycle and scooter rental

Posted in: rome