Summer in Italy, never a dull moment (2)

Along with cultural activities such as concerts, outdoor film screenings and lectures, Italy’s towns – in particular the smaller ones – dedicated much of the summer months  (but the season can run from April to October) to what are generally called “sagre”, a word that was originally coined to describe some kind of an event […]

Italians gearing up for the Ferragosto holiday

I’m about to rush off to the Coop to buy some chicken as my contribution to a Ferragosto barbecue tomorrow in the countryside near lake Bolsena where I am spending most of my summer. Ferragosto is the biggest Italian summer holiday, actually the only one, and the week preceding it is the week in which, […]

Sites re-opened at Pompeii

Ten buildings in Pompeii have reopened to the public as of August 4; they include eight domus (upper-class homes) and a bath complex,  with a caldarium and frigidarium as well as a changing room where there are sixteen panels with depictions of erotic scenes, including one portraying two women, almost unique in Roman painting, The […]

Rome tourism surges: good for the economy (perhaps) not for residents (for sure)

The other day I left my apartment in Via della Scala to walk three blocks to get to Piazza Trilussa and  the Lungotevere (the river road) where I was meeting someone. I could hardly get down the street. I kid you not. There were enormous groups of young tourists, one group wearing straw hats and […]

Summer in Italy, never a dull moment (1)

Although they are desperately keen to attract tourists, most Italian cities manage not to forget their own residents when the summer season arrives. Take Rome. If you look on the cit’s official Estate Romana website you can see what’s on in the week to come and here’s a guide in English that those who […]

An occupied theatre. Too much tolerance?

This is one of those typical Italian things that it is hard to make head or tail of. A major theatre in Rome is “occupied” by a group of performers who, if I understand it correctly, were concerned that the theatre might be falling into the wrong hands (private owners) and in June, 2011 took […]

Si? No? Ni?

The tourists are certainly pleased that Rome’s beautiful Piazza di Spagna is now – as of yesterday – closed to traffic, the first step in what is supposed to be a near-total shutdown of the Tridente area – 15 streets included within the three roads leading away from Piazza del Popolo towards Via del Tritone.  […]

Momma. Forget the kisses thrown from the train!

So much for throwing Momma from the train, a kiss, a kiss. Say goodbye to that last-minute embrace. And forget about tipping some guy to help you with your heavy bags. Someday soon – but in Rome you never know what that means – access to the track platforms at Rome’s Stazione Termini will be […]

Rome’s public transport to be (more) bike-friendly

One of the recurring mysteries is why Italian companies continue to use slogans in English in a country where relatively few people know English and where only a very small number actually know it well. No harm done, of course, and “it is fashion” as the Romans say. So when you see the words “bike […]