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Let’s All Post Until the Internet Explodes

1 Nov

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Well, it sounded like a good idea when I signed up for it. I just don’t want to be around to clean up afterwards.

Folks, it’s day one of the 2nd annual NaBloPoMo, a.k.a. National Blog Posting Month. I was one of the pioneer participants last year, and since my blog was new at that time, I was just brimming over with ideas! This year a bit less, so be forewarned that in the next month I shall be delighting you and/or frightening you (probably a mixture of the two) with a post a day. Heavy on the quantity, hopefully not too low on the quality… only time will tell!

I do have a few things already up my sleeve. As for the rest, we’ll just have to make it up as we go along.

Seeing as how I might stumble upon a bit of blogger’s-block this month, I invite you again to suggest ideas for posts. I plan to use the list that was generated when I got back from vacation as well.

To get us started, I’ve decided to ask those of you who have visited or lived in the city to share with us your number one most unforgettable moment during your time here. And just to be fair, first I’ll tell you mine.

After nearly 2,190 days of living here, it’s a bit hard to pick just one memory. But I guess off the top of my head, I’d have to say the first day I arrived. It wasn’t any old day—it was the very day after A.S. Roma, one of Rome’s two soccer teams, won the national championship, for the first time in like 20 years. I had never been to Italy before, never really traveled abroad for that matter, so I was already scared out of my wits in general, and this was my introduction to the city. Picture it, if you will:

* people singing and chanting together spontaneously on the street, in stores, in restaurants—and complete strangers becoming instant friends bonded in the camraderie
* people wearing scarves, painted faces, headbands, crazy socks, and riding around the city on scooters with the person on the back letting a huge flag blow in the breeze
* cars riding around the city honking incessantly (yes, it was much, much more than the usual traffic honking; in fact, they were honks with special patterns, like a secret code), with no other reason for driving around other than to honk, wave a Roma flag, and scream with uncontrollable joy—for literally weeks on end
* spray-painted banners on sheets hung between buildings, streets and sides of buildings spray-painted by fans thanking the team, the painting even going on in broad daylight on main thoroughfares
* The song “Siamo noi, siamo noi, i campioni d’Italia siamo noi…” being forever seared into my brain cells, even though I didn’t know much Italian at the time, I knew that song by heart
* learning that to make new friends, all I had to say was “Forza Roma!” Or, even better “Il mio cuore Γ¨ tutto giallorosso” — My heart is all yellow and red (the team’s colors). I know people loved that with my heavy American accent at the time!
* being asked by Alessandro, a big Laziale (fan of the rival team) on the first day in the city when we first met through his cousin (the only person I knew in Italy at the time), how to say “Che schifo!!” in English. Answer=how disgusting! In an interesting twist of fate, Lazio had won the championship the year before. Neither team has won since.
*above festivities going on day and night, usually until about 3 am
*living in a shoebox-sized apartment with three university girls in the heart of the San Lorenzo neighborhood, one of the undisputed hotbeds of Roma fan activity. I remember waking up one night in the muggy, unbearable June heat, having not even a fan in the bedroom, dripping with sweat and thinking I had a fever and must be delirious because I was considering stuffing cotton balls in my ears so I could try to get some sleep
*buying a Roma scarf from one of the many street corner vendors that sprung up and sold untold quantities of merchandise after the match, and proudly showing it to Alessandro, who promptly responded “NOOOOOOOO!!!!!” I hung it on my bedroom wall back in the States for a while anyways…
*thinking that maybe this was what Rome was like all the time, and wondering what the heck I had gotten myself into…

To this day, I still love to tell people that I arrived in the city the day after the “scudetto di 2001,” and wait to see their reaction. By doing this test, I can immediately tell whether they are fans of A.S. Roma, S.S. Lazio, or neutral. Huge smile of pride, then wistful look of nostalgia? Roma. Slight disgust and pitiful look to indicate “poor thing”? Lazio. Eye roll or something similar? Neutral. Scudetto is the word for the championship. “La Roma ha vinto lo scudetto.” Rome won the national championship. I’ll never forget it.

Thanks to Glamismac for the great photo above, which so captures the spirit of the city as I remember it when I first arrived. Just multiply that by the entire city and you’ll get a bit of an idea of what it was like.

Now, it’s your turn: for those of you who have visited or lived in Rome, what would you say was without a doubt your number one most memorable experience here?

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22 Responses to “Let’s All Post Until the Internet Explodes”

  1. Sara, Ms. Adventures in Italy November 1, 2007 at 12:29 pm #

    Good luck with NaBloPoMo! πŸ™‚

    So many moments…I think a good one was, on a normal Wednesday, I made my way down to St. Peters to see the Angelus, without a ticket or anything, so I was stuck “in the back.” JP II passed in the car path directly in front of me. That was pretty cool.

  2. TNP November 1, 2007 at 1:17 pm #

    Trying to buy a tablecloth from a street vendor. He kept pushing the ugly dark blue one with huge bright oranges. I finaly told him in my rusty Italian that if he liked it that much he should buy it for his wife.

  3. lorraine@italianfoodies November 1, 2007 at 1:46 pm #

    So many too but the one that sticks in my mind is New Year’s Eve about 4 years ago!! I remember sitting in a taxi on the way home at about 6am after a “great night” and driving by the colosseum, it was a really bright fresh morning and the city was just starting to wake and I remember thinking this is definitely the best city in the world – and no it wasn’t the alcohol but it probably helped;)

  4. J.Doe November 1, 2007 at 2:56 pm #

    I remember eating a plain pizza margarita and biting on a lemon seed. What do they put in those things?

  5. Kaffeebohne November 1, 2007 at 2:58 pm #

    I love Italy and I already spent at lot of holidays in various parts of Italy. My last visit was seven years ago when I spent some days at Rome. The whole city is amazing and we walked a lot around. And my favorite was visiting the Fresco of Michelangelo nella capella sistina.

  6. Rose in Cali November 1, 2007 at 4:04 pm #

    During the George Michael concert at Stadio Olimpico, a guy in front of me turned around and asked me what the name of the song was that GM was singing. Not so remarkable, except that he asked me in Italian, and I understood him AND he understood my response! That was a big milestone for me since I am only a beginning Italian student! In fact, speaking Italian the whole time I was in Rome was memorable, since Italians everywhere else I visitied insisted on speaking English to me.

  7. Lauren November 1, 2007 at 4:22 pm #

    I can remember so many funny moments from my trips to Rome. One that stands out is when I was there with my roommate after our college graduation. We were sitting on the Spanish steps, just people watching and resting our feet, when we noticed a small crowd was gathering at the bottom of the steps. When we finally figured out what they all were staring and pointing at, we got our first glimpse of a true “Italian Stallion”–or at least that’s what we called him. He was wearing tight black leather pants, a studded black leather belt, a black leather jacket that said “ELVIS” on the back in pink scroll, a black dog collar necklace with spikes on it, and the worst laquered pompadour I’d ever seen. And he was posing. One hip jutting out, hand on the other hip, basking in everyone’s attention. I still crack up when I go back and look at the picture of him.

  8. Karen Cole November 1, 2007 at 4:36 pm #

    My most memorable moment was not planning my first day, taking a long walk, coming around a corner and having the Pantheon staring me in the face. Every time I visit Rome now, it is the first place I go.

    Some other memories that creep into my brain before others….standing on a street corner and watching all of the traffic converging at once, without a streetlight or stop sign to guide them.

    Eating 3 different pizzas in one day.mmmmmm

    Paola Volpis shop near Campo di Fiori. Jewelry sitting in beakers of water waiting to be bought.

  9. Sherry November 1, 2007 at 4:40 pm #

    There were so many special moments of my visit to Rome, but probably what stands out just because it was funny is a ride I took in a taxi late after coming back from a day trip to Florence. For the entire 15 minute trip or so from Termini to my apartment, my driver had a full on conversation with the taxi driver to our right, and I mean a conversation while driving with brief glances at the street ahead. Here they were shouting back and forth with little attention to other drivers and apparently our safety. It was so crazy yet funny that we (my friends and I) were laughing (one of friends albeit nervously). We were sort of communicating with the Americans in the other guys’ taxi by pointing at the driver and doing the universal symbol for “cuckoo”. Our driver wouldn’t even let the tram tracks separate him from his taxi buddy, opting to straddle the tracks where necessary to continue the conversation.

  10. nyc/caribbean ragazza November 1, 2007 at 5:15 pm #

    I don’t know how to single out just one but my first trip to Rome was booked at the last minute (I was planning to go later in the year but after the company I worked for shut down suddenly I moved up my date). Right before I left the Pope died. Everyone here was telling me don’t go, change your ticket, Rome is insane without all the people coming in for the funeral. It was too late, I went anyway.

    I got lost the day of the funeral and ended up so close to the Vatican I decided to keep walking toward it. Originally I was going to avoid area at all costs. I’m not Catholic but to see so many people from all over the world coming together really moved me.

    Later I walked back toward my hotel which was near Piazza del Popolo. I stood on that hill (the same one in the your first photo) and watched part of the service on the large sceens the city had put up. There were Americans, Africans, a large Polish group and of course Italians standing with me. Many were crying but there was still a sense of celebration.

    It sounds like a cliche but that first trip to Rome changed my life. I realized I didn’t have one. Three years after that trip I will be in living in Rome.

  11. My Melange November 1, 2007 at 8:22 pm #

    It was by far getting there for the 1st time. We made the drive down from San Gimignano…and it wasn’t until we got to the outskirts of the city on the Autostrada,that I turned to my other half, who was driving and realized I had no idea how to get too the Borghese Park to park the car and get to our hotel!!!! The signage in Rome is bad enough, but I had no directions…not even a map!!! Tired, frustrated and hungry, we drove around for what seemed like hours before we finally pulled over and asked some young Italian boys that gave us some idea..in English. We ended up findng it, but we entered the *motorcycle entrance* to the car park, realized part way down and had to carefully back up without getting wedged in and destroying the rental car. We hopped on a bus illegally and by some *Miracle of God*, ended up standing next to an American family who knew just where to shove us off the bus, right near the Piazza Navona steps from our hotel. We fell out as soon as we hit the hotel. It is a day I never bring up, because it was my totally my fault!! Which reminds me. NEVER DRIVE IN ROME πŸ™‚

  12. John Rauchert November 1, 2007 at 9:17 pm #

    I would say that my two favourite times in Rome was visiting the Mithraic Temple under the Basilica of San Clemente and the National Etruscan Museum in the Villa Giulia.

    Other than that my wife being hassled at the train station by a little old man warning us to watch our bags was pretty amusing (but only to me). I was getting sick by this time so am totally not responsible for being amused at her expense.

  13. Meg November 1, 2007 at 10:13 pm #

    Just one? That’s hard.

    I was in S. Giovanni fuori le mure (and I forget how to spell that correctly since it’s been some time since I’ve used Italian regularly) in the week preceding Easter many years ago. A choir from another country had made the pilgrimage to Rome and they were going to the major pilgrimage churches of Rome. I was (kind of grumpily, if I remember correctly) taking notes for some research, and all of a sudden, this entire group burst into transporting song. It was so tremendously beautiful that it literally gave me goosebumps.

  14. Janavi November 1, 2007 at 11:27 pm #

    One of my favorite memories of Rome is looking out at the Forum from the Campodoglio one night when it was full moon,with the Coloseum light up in the distance. I also love the top floor of the Museo Nazionale with the frescos and mosaics,and of course the carciofi alla Giudea.I also usually go to the Pantheon first.

  15. mentalmosaic November 2, 2007 at 12:30 am #

    Hehe – I’ve yet to visit Rome yet, but enjoyed reading everyone else’s experiences. Must admit that ‘che schifo’ is one of the first phrases I learned upon arriving in Naples, though.

    This is my first time with the NaBloPoMo, should be fun, don’t you think? πŸ™‚

  16. Mitch November 2, 2007 at 2:59 am #

    So many choices!
    If I had to recap some things that stand out in my mind: A full day of Palatine Hill crossing to the subway station across from the Coliseum, getting out at the Spanish Steps station – and grabbing a fantastic slice of pizza from the vendor at the exit.

    Dinner at Nino’s, just off the Spanish Steps.

    Enjoying the “Passeggiata” one evening, and ending up drinking and hanging out in a random bar along Via della Santa Croce

    Way too many to list!! Can’t wait to go back!

  17. Shelley, At Home in Rome November 2, 2007 at 9:35 am #

    Grazie mille, to everyone, for such great stories!

    I definitely laughed out loud more than once. This is such a crazy yet loveable city, is it not??

    Great kick off for NaBloPoMo. I’m looking forward to more fun this month…

  18. Avril November 2, 2007 at 2:58 pm #

    My best friend lived in Rome for five months in 2005 and met her now husband there. He lives in the States now, but in 2006 she convinced me to go and visit him with her and her mother. One of my favorite moments was riding on the back of a motercycle through this beautiful city at night. In Rome I found myself and lost my heart.

  19. AmericanaRoma November 2, 2007 at 3:22 pm #

    My most memorable Rome experience (positive): getting married at Trinita` dei Monti, at the top of Piazza di Spagna. What a BEAUTIFUL MOMENT IN MY LIFE…A special day that unitied me with the two things I love the most: my husband and Roma.
    My most memorable (super negative): failing my esame di guida (driver’s license exam). I will never forget the feeling of being bocciata. I had never failed anything in my life before and I was soooo upset. I drove for more than 15 years in Chicago and didn’t think I needed that much practice. Luckily, I took the test again a few months later, and after a few more Roman lessons, I passed. Che esperienza!!

  20. Vicky DePersiis Vona November 2, 2007 at 4:51 pm #

    Two memories stand out; one was the first time I ever tasted wild strawberries at Otello’s restaurant on Via Della Croce. I was 4 and never forgot that flavor. The other also involves motorcycles and Rome-By-Night.

  21. Jen November 3, 2007 at 9:16 pm #

    Sad to say, I haven’t been to Rome yet — despite years of Latin in high school and more years of Latin in choral singing. But I love the “che schifo” story. Nobody seems to know exactly how the slang term “skeevy” originated in English, but one theory is that it comes from the word “schifo” in Italian. I’ll put my money with that theory, because (a) all roads lead to Rome, and (b) I never heard the term “skeevy” growing up in Minnesota (land of few Italians), but hear it all the time in Philly (home of the Italian Market). And please don’t say it’s because Philly is more skeevy…

  22. blacklightblue November 4, 2007 at 9:18 pm #

    Sorry, I just cannot choose a number one… Rome/Italy is too beautiful for that. I’ll keep these short as I can:
    – turning the corner and seeing the Coliseum looming in the distance. It sounds completely corny, but I had the urge to get down on my knees, it was so glorious. Had similar urges throughout the rest of our stay, refrained as I want to stay married. Although I secretly think my hubby would have completely understood.
    – feeling very ‘hood’ as I ate my incredibly good spaghetti a vongole (sp?) with huge, glorious chunks of garlic in the little trattoria not far from our hotel, and wishing I could speak better Italian with the very ‘mamma’ waitress who served us with a very kindly, tourist-friendly smile
    – stumbling on Blue Ice after that meal
    – the yellows, oranges, pinks and burnt umbers of some of the buildings in the afternoon sun… along with a pastel blue in a square in Trastevere
    – the first time I attempted to speak some Italian and got a smile in return
    – the waiter who flirted so sweetly and relentlessly (he even did a little dance) with his girlfriend (?) who stopped by as we had a little apertivo…
    Okay, I’ve got to stop… this is making me want to go back. Viva Italia!

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