Finally we have a male expat perspective on the Eternal City. Owen Phillips moved here five months ago from California, not because he read Eat Pray Love, not because he met some Italian lover on a 2-week summer holiday, but to “study the human brain”. You know, the usual reason. However, everyone drawn to Rome is innately creative and indeed, Owen is also passionate about writing and art and has his own blog on life here called Neuro Europe
What made you decide to move to this city?
I picked Rome because I wanted to work with talented people from all over the world. I conduct neuroscience research here in Rome (I take pictures of your brain) at the Fondazione Santa Lucia and I travel around Roma and the rest of Europe.
What do you say to people who lament the fact that business of any kind takes too long in Italy?
No lamenting. Everything has been positive. I am involved with great people who are excited about jumping into cutting edge projects and I haven’t heard much ‘lamenting’. Maybe I have just been lucky but things have only been positive so far.
So you’re creatively sated here?
I’ve met tons of creative people involved in cutting edge work (scientific research/business/arts) – so I have felt constantly stimulated.
We always hear so much from female expats on the dating experience in Rome, what’s your opinion of Italian women?
I have no real perspective on dating in Rome. But I will say that I think my laidback Californian style to woman clashes with what can be occasionally aggressive male approaches here.
Your favourite place in Rome?
The piazza della Madonna dei Monti, aka fountain square.
Which restaurant would you recommend to someone new to Rome?
I haven’t had the best luck with restaurants in Rome. However, any home-cooked Italian food I have had has been great. Try and invite yourself over to someone’s house… if that doesn’t work, tell a native that your mom cooks better food than their mom and you might just get an invite for a fantastic meal.
Advice for fellow expats living in Rome?
Don’t complain. If you get stressed out then stop, sit in a cafe, have a glass of wine and watch tourists shuffle about.