This month we caught up with Tania Volobueva, one very creative expat who, among other subjects, talked to Romeing more candidly than any other interviewee about her experiences dating local Italians.
What do you do in Rome?
In one month I’m going to be a 100% professional photographer with a diploma. For now I’m a student in the private photography school ISFCI. I do some freelance as a reporter and fashion photographer.
What made you decide to live in Italy?
I am from Moscow – a huge business centre where life is very fast, the city is full of job possibilities, traffic jams… and the weather is cold and depressing for 6-7 months of the year. Grey sky from day to day makes people sad and cold. After my first visit to Rome in 2008 I noticed a big difference in lifestyle and decided that one day I would go to try it for myself. So here I am since 2011.
What’s your favourite thing about Rome?
I like this hot climate, to ride on a Vespa in these cosy streets in the historic center, to drink wine on the terrace and lay on the sun in Ostia beach
What is your least favourite?
I don’t like that there are just two metro lines and sometimes it takes 40 minutes to wait for the bus and then you have to change three times… I hate ‘sciopero’ – the transport strikes by the ATAC every few weeks that make you wake up at 6am to get to work, or to take a taxi or make you just remain at home for a full day! Also I get crazy when supermarkets and shops don’t open on Sundays! In Moscow it’s impossible: people work and people earn 24hours/day 7days/week. That’s why there is a crisis in Italy – nobody wants to work.
Which neighbourhood do you live in and what’s it like?
I live in a ‘zona’ close to Termini that’s called San Lorenzo. It’s quite old quarter full of old Romans and students who study in Sapienza University which is three minutes walk from here. The streets are full of cheap bars which are popular among young people so you can’t sleep till 2am when the bars close.
What’s the one thing that surprised you that you didn’t expect about Italy or Italians?
Before arriving in Rome I was imaging that Italians speak a lot. But I couldn’t imagine that they speak SO MUCH!!! Maybe this is the problem of languages? Another language doesn’t sound so good maybe, so we don’t speak a lot. But Italians are over the top in this. They speak while drinking coffee, smoking, eating, making love, driving a car, moto, bus, while they wait for the bus, going in bus, inside the bus… always! And 80% of these discussions are about nothing… maybe they do it just to speak this beautiful language. But for me, for a Russian person, it is quite strange, because if in Russia some person tells you that he is going to do something – 95% it’s going to happen. Here instead Italians will do it 5% of the time. All the rest is their amazing blablabla.
What is your favourite hang out place in Rome?
I love these bars close to Navona as Bar del Fico. Tre Scalini in Monti or Freni e Frizioni in Trastevere. These bars are always crowded with locals so it’s a great place to drink a glass of good wine chatting with friends or practicing your Roman accent with Romans.
What is your favourite dish to eat in Rome?
Rome is famous for pasta carbonara and amatricina. Not that bad, but I prefer risotto agli scampi with a glass of cold white wine.
What advice would you give other expats making the move?
Don’t be afraid! Rome is beautiful and will give you a great experience.
Have any Italians tried to pick you up yet and what lines or what romantic dates have they tried?
My experience says to me that all romantic Romeos died in the 16th century… I think everyone of us has seen ‘Roman holiday’ with Audrey Hepburn, or maybe, talking about modern cinema ‘To Rome with Love’ of Woody Allen… So when a single girl comes to Rome she is dreaming about meeting a tall beautiful Italian guy and the first “Ciao bella!” will continue with a fantastic love story… Well… talking about my experience with Italians I would say they aren’t able to fall in love. In Rome there are a lot of possibilities to meet this mythic ‘Italian prince’. But when I start to date one of them I don`t see this fire in their eyes. Maybe I am wrong, but as I have understood most Italians date girls just to have a girlfriend. In the end they stay engaged for 10 years and then split. To the question: “Why?? After 10 years? Why didn’t you marry her before?” Italian guys answer: “In the end I understood that I didn’t really love her”. So I am already used to the guys that send me sms like “How are you? When are you free to go out with me?” after one month of silence after the first date… or also the girls should be prepared that the guy with whom she has had a kind of love story for the past few months won’t call her anymore after their first quarrel. It’s so normal here in Rome, but I still hope that Romeo does exists!