Vacation Time, Italian Style

12 Jul

Found this gem on Diexx88’s Blog, charming, filed under “cazzate” (random BS) and “estate” (summer). “Closed for Vacation, for condoms and Viagra go to the bicycle repairman on Via dei Macci, thanks”

Oh, people. Here we are again, already a year gone by and back to vacation season here in Rome. Let me tell you, the joint is already starting to clear out. Everybody seems to be either at the beach, packing for the beach, on their way to the beach, going to the beach in the next couple of days—you get the idea. I write a post like this at least once every July, I think.

Carlo, why didn’t you come up with a sequel to last year’s summer smash hit that I loved so? GodIloveCarloVerdonesosupermuch. Have you seen La Grande Bellezza? Holy crap, he’s so believable and vulnerable and just plain lovable in his first true non-comic role. Y’all know I love the man. Let’s just put it out there: I want a Carlo Verdone clone who’s closer to my age, just to hang out with, because now there’s a man I could shoot the shit with and never run out of good stuff to talk about. One time, I had this dream, and I met him at this party or art gallery or something, and he liked that I was an American who spoke Italian with Roman slang phrases, and he wanted me to be in one of his movies. Yeah, I was pretty excited about that! Until I woke up, obvs.

Ok, tangent.

Well, since that’s not happening anytime soon, I’ll go back to my daydreaming and instead leave you with my latest real-life anecdote on the Italian concept of vacation. Now in convenient bite-size screenplay format!




In a small residential neighborhood just outside downtown Rome, ALESSANDRO, a 40-something Italian man with dark hair, a dark mustache, and impossibly and perennially tanned skin, sits with a friendly smile behind the membership desk of his local sports club.

SHELLEY, mid-30s haggard single working mom, approaches the desk and begins small talk leading up to the renewal of her lapsed gym membership.


Ciao Alessandro, long time no see. Time to sign up again. Gotta hit the weights.


Michelle! So good to see you again! Remind me of how to spell your last name.


Rimini, Udine, Empoli, Livorno, Livorno, Empoli. I need to get back in. It’s quiet here. Everyone on vacation, I guess. I’ll be here. Not going anywhere this year.


Oh, tell me about it! We don’t take vacation here either. I mean, we’re only closing for just ten days in August!

(nodding sympathetically)

Yep, I know. Some of us actually have to work.




13 Responses to “Vacation Time, Italian Style”

  1. Benjamin July 12, 2013 at 11:11 am #

    Try to find a movie called “Le vacanze di Monsieur Hulo” by Jacques Tati. It’s an old movie (about 1960) black and White and no voice just sounds!

    If you will be able to catch it, you will watch the best movie you have ever seen!

  2. Andrea Troiani July 12, 2013 at 11:33 am #

    About the sign: how much great are we?

  3. Nerys July 12, 2013 at 1:03 pm #

    ONLY ten days. Love it. You should see the looks on people’s faces when I tell them that I’m working for the whole of August…

  4. Julie Richey July 12, 2013 at 3:14 pm #

    Shelly, love that photo! I shared it with my politically active Texas fb friends – we are fighting to obtain basic family planning access here, and the legislature is doing all it can to make that even harder. Why can’t we be open about responsible protection? No one here would dare put a sign like that on their store 🙂

  5. Shelley, Sparrow Tarot July 12, 2013 at 7:00 pm #

    Um, ok. But how does this relate to my post? And, you’re scaring me with no voice… that sounds very avant-garde. I’m a Carlo Verdone fan, you see. Not very cultured but appreciate a strong wit. In any case I’ll look ‘er up and let you know how it goes.

  6. Shelley, Sparrow Tarot July 12, 2013 at 7:01 pm #

    Yeppers, turns out that’s my real name, and Italian men just can’t get enough of it. Once I even got “Vabbè però dimmi un po’ qual’è più carino insomma, Shelley Pfieffer or Michelle Pfieffer?” Ecco. I had to hand that one over. You can’t argue that.
    And yes, handwritten signs here in Italy are GOLD. You have to see this old post of mine. I know you’ll appreciate it, Andrea!

  7. Un'americana a Roma July 12, 2013 at 7:03 pm #

    Yeah I know that look. It’s a mixture of disbelief with a hefty dose of pity. By the way folks I changed my profile back to my Roman persona. I only moonlight as Sparrow Tarot. Y’all know I have an alter ego, right?! That’s where I get to blog about super profound stuff, not Viagra and condoms.

  8. Shelley July 12, 2013 at 7:06 pm #

    Don’t get me started, I have 2/3 of an MSW degree from Univ. of WA but then I had to move back here to Rome before I could finish. You know my first job out of college was as an advertising copywriter for a small ad agency in Phoenix who had the AZ State Dept of Health on their client list for an “abstinence only” ad campaign? I even ended up in a commercial with a montage of girls reciting lines of a monologue and my line was — wait for it — “You know that thing between your legs?” OH THE SHAME! Holy crap man, there’s gotta be a copy of that ad laying in some dusty archive somewhere… too funny. Joking aside, I get it. TX and AZ are similar in this respect. Backwards.

  9. Eleonora July 12, 2013 at 7:55 pm #

    Michelle. You never told me about this ad and your amazing line. And I thought we were REAL friends.

  10. Nora July 12, 2013 at 7:56 pm #

    By the way, the sign is one of the best I ever seen!

  11. Catherine July 12, 2013 at 9:45 pm #

    Amazing comment above for ‘abstinence only’. Ewww! To think these views really exist!

    And your handwritten sign, now that is priceless. Don’t worry I think I have to skip Corsica this year too – I need a new computer, kid has to study – but you won’t find me near a gym! Xcat

  12. Filottete Manfredi July 12, 2013 at 10:11 pm #

    You could work with Carlo Verdone, you fit in one of his movies. I heard bad reviews about LA GRANDE BELLEZZA, though.

  13. Andrea Troiani July 13, 2013 at 11:20 am #

    Ah ah ah, I did! “Fragrante”, it’s a strange mistake!!! (not like “qual’è” with apostrophe by the way, but you are not italian so is ok!) ;^}
    I love “Michelle”, but “Shelley” too! And you can call me “Andy” or “Andrew”, I know how much femminine is “Andrea” for the rest of the world (and in Italy too, from a few months ago)…

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