How long have you lived in Rome and what brought you here?
I’ve been in Rome over three months and was recruited to work as the Group Coordinator for Roma Rentals, an American owned and operated property management company in Trastevere.
Which area do you live in and why did you choose that ‘zona’?
I live in Trastevere and chose it for several reasons. The neighborhood has a great bohemian feel and contagious energy. Trastevere amazes me each day with an ever-changing dynamic of people and passion. It’s like a huge extended family and you quickly get to know the people at your local bars, restaurants and stores. Every day it is like walking into Cheers and ‘everybody knows your name’.
Where and what do you spend your time doing on weekends here?
Since I am relatively new to Rome, the weekends are spent exploring the city and surrounding area. I try to visit a new neighborhood each weekend and love getting lost, with a map in my back pocket, just in case. Last weekend I took a trip to the Carpineti Winery and learned about sustainable and organic wine production. It was amazing that such beautiful countryside lies just outside of Rome and that you don’t need to travel hours to discover ‘a new world’. I love to travel and explore, so there are more weekend adventures to come.
How has your perception of Rome changed from before you lived here?
I had never visited Rome before moving here so my perception was based on what I learned in textbooks and strongly influenced by the friends and relatives that had visited the Eternal City. Being a tourist in Rome for three days doesn’t really provide you with a true ‘Roman experience’. For a tourist, Rome is all sunshine and rainbows, but having lived here for three months I’ve realized the struggles of the people, the bureaucratic hurdles and the complexity of the Italian life. These same things make Rome a city that is always full of surprises.
What is the one stereotype about Rome or Italians that is far removed from the reality in your experience?
Most of the stereotypes are spot on, but there is always an opposite side that people may miss… Italians are dramatic but humbling, loud but gentle, and abrasive but welcoming. Once you get past the rough exterior, you are treated like family.
Where are your favorite spots for eating and drinking?
There are so many great places to eat in Italy. Here are my recommendations:
• Gelato: Gelateria del Teatro
• Drinking: A nice quiet wine bar, Vino Allegro in Trastevere is one of my favorites.
• Dinner: La Ciambella (a new restaurant near the Pantheon)
• New York Style BAGELS: Saturday Bagel Brunch at Ristorante alle Fratte in Trastevere.
How have you found the experience of integrating socially here and making Italian friends?
Italians are a hard nut to crack, so it has been a challenge making Italian friends. I have found that the best way to meet Italians is through the expat community and attending events like Expats Living in Rome, InterNations, etc. The Italians at these events are eager to meet people from all over the world and try out their English language skills.
What drives you crazy about life in the Eternal City?
I never know where to buy anything. You buy hair dryers at the same place you buy computers, the store that sells toilets and shower heads doesn’t sell shower curtains and everything I expect to buy at the supermarket is only available at the pharmacy and vice versa. When I get frustrated, I just keep in mind that all the walking between stores will help work off that extra scoop of gelato I had at lunchtime.