Posts Tagged ‘Rome’
Posted in Expat in Italy, Italian Culture, Italians, Italy, Living in Italy, Orvieto, Orvieto Italy, Rome, writing, tagged Amazon, Duomo di Orvieto, Eat Pray Love, Ebook, Estelle Jobson, Finding Rome on the Map of Love, Orvieto, orvieto italy, Rome, The Beehive Hotel, Three Coins in a Fountain, Toni DeBella, Under the Tuscan Sun on January 2, 2013 | 17 Comments »
I’m happy to report that because the end of the world didn’t come this week, my tour of the Christmas lights in Rome was able to go forward as planned. In fact, my personal “guide” for the evening had a new prophecy for me:
“I predict you are going to come to Rome very, very soon…and be astonished from the lights all over, thinking it was the effect of that good wine you just had.”
Maybe it was the wine, or it might have been those sparkling blue and white jellyfish that floated above my head, or the draping of light bulbs that covered an entire boulevard from end-to-end, or the gigantic trees in every piazza…
Whatever the reason, I was totally astonished and also extremely grateful to be here in Italy for this glittery Roman holiday tradition.
Last night Rome was so bright, I should have worn shades.
Posted in Expat in Italy, Italy, Living in Italy, Orvieto, Travel, tagged Bologna, DB Bahn, Frankfurt Germany, Hurricane Sandy, Innsbruck, Munich Germany, Nuremberg, orvieto italy, Rome, Travel to Italy, Trento, Verona on November 9, 2012 | 14 Comments »
All packed and nowhere to go.
Hurricane Sandy, like the Icelandic Volcano several years before it, had rearranged my date of departure leaving me cooling my jets in California for another week. You know how it is when you’re ready to go somewhere – a delay can be a huge letdown. My friend calls it “premature elation”. On the bright side, it was great to hang out with my Mom and Andrew a little bit longer, but after seven days on hold I decided to reroute my trip and fly to Frankfurt instead.
Am I becoming one of those people who always has a story?
On Tuesday I arrived in Frankfurt without incident, carrying everything I own crammed into two seventy-pound suitcases. I literally lumbered over to the DB Bahn desk for a train ticket to Italy. I explained to the young reservationist that I must be on the next train to Orvieto, Italy. She said the train to Munich was leaving in exactly twelve minutes, so I slapped down my credit card and took off like a bat out of hell – I hopped onto the train with just minutes to spare! I enjoyed the German countryside, but my train arrived in Munich late, so I had to make a run for it (with two heavy bags, “run” would be an overstatement). The conductor announced they would be pulling away from the station in 30 seconds so I flung my bags onto the last carriage – I think I have a hernia now. But really, the important thing is I was on my way to Orvieto at last!
I took a seat by the window and looked out at the passing cities of Nuremberg, Innsbruck, Trento…oh sh*t! I took the wrong train! Apparently “Rovereto” is not the German word for “Orvieto”, but actually a town near Verona. Oh well, at least I was traveling in the right direction.
In Verona, my friendly Austrian conductor, Arnold, offered to let me tag along with the train employees to their hotel and even convinced the front desk to give me a good rate. A pizza, a shower and a good night’s sleep was just what the doctor ordered.
In the morning I was on the train to Orvieto via Bologna. I met a lovely veterinarian from Rome, Marco, who helped me get my bags (or as he referred to them, my armadi (wardrobes)) off of the train at Bologna Centrale and three hours later I arrived at my new home. My friend heard my bags rolling down the marble stairs all the way from the station lobby. She remarked how lucky I was to have avoided the excess baggage charges by the airline. Yeah, I am lucky.
Posted in Americans Abroad, Expat in Italy, Italy, Orvieto, Piazza Navona, Rome, Travel, Umbria, tagged Envy, Italy, jealousy, Orvieto, Piazza Navona, Rome, travel, Travel to Italy on June 6, 2012 | 12 Comments »
“Nothing is as obnoxious as other people’s luck.”― F. Scott Fitzgerald
Envy is a malicious emotion in which a miserable and narcissistic person craves the misfortune of others and begrudges their success. From the Latin word Invidia, envy is considered so nefarious it’s ranked number six among the Seven Deadly Sins. Some days I admit it – I’m a sinner…I envy the entire population of Italy.
“Envy is for people who don’t have the self-esteem to be jealous.”― Benson Bruno
Jealousy, similar to envy, is often defined as “resentment against a rival, suspicion or fear of losing someone or something you love.” Hummm…
You know, I am not going to allow myself to linger any longer in these emotional black holes. When I find myself in this unhealthy state of mind, I’ll just remember that the merry-go-round of life spins and spins and there are more than enough brass rings to go around. I’ll wait and be patient for I am about to come around again for another grab at the prize. Negative moods are neither good for your soul nor your skin.
Envious or jealous is just no way to be.
Posted in Expat in Italy, Italy, Living in Italy, Orvieto, Rome, Travel, tagged hand gestures, Rome, Speaking Italian, stazione di roma termini, Stazione Termini, Termini Station Rome, travel on May 13, 2012 | 21 Comments »
Proper Bathroom Etiquette
I put my euro into the slot at the automatic gate and a high-pitched alarm sounded. The gate wouldn’t open so I started fiddling with the coin return button in an attempt to make the buzzing stop! Fifteen seconds of that ear-piercing noise brought out the bathroom attendant who shouted at me in Italian to move my bag. “Can’t you see that your suitcase is too close to the gate and that’s what’s causing the commotion?” he growled at me menacingly.
Big Fat Chicken
I’ve never been very good at confrontations – I get really nervous in tense situations and this usually renders me completely inarticulate. If someone is aggressive or mean to me I dummy-up only to think of a pithy comeback later, when it’s too late.
Parlo Italiano un po’
But something strange happens when I speak Italian; my personality changes and my communications become more direct and my tone tougher. Perhaps because my vocabulary is limited I don’t mince words – what finally comes out of my mouth is basic and instinctual. In Italian, I don’t pull any punches.
The change has come…
Without missing a beat or hesitating one millisecond, it came over me – a reaction as natural and spontaneous as I’ve ever had. “Eh, no, non ho capito perche’ il problema non e’ ovvio, SCUSA!” I yelled back at the attendant, adding the appropriate hand gestures for greater effect. He backed off. Maybe this place is rubbing off on me?
Posted in Artists on Piazza Navona, Expat in Italy, Italians, Italy, Living in Europe, Living in Italy, Piazza Navona, Rome, tagged Bernini, Fontana dei Quattro Fiumi, Fountain of the Four Rivers, George Bernard Shaw, Massimilliano Balletti, Painters on Piazza Navona, Piazza Navona, renaissance, Rome on August 13, 2011 | 3 Comments »
“A picture is a poem without words.” -Horace
A revolution has been brewing for almost a decade on the Piazza Navona, one of the most famous and historic squares in Europe. Millions arrive to see Bernini’s magnificent Fontana dei Quattro Fiumi (The Fountain of 4 Rivers) and to stroll along the road, hoping to acquire an original picture of a Roman scene painted and signed by the artist in front of them. Now the tensions are high: real artist are pitted against counterfeit ones.
“Art is not a thing, it is a way.”- Elbert Hubbard
I can’t intelligently speak to the political or economic ramifications of the most recent decree approved by the City of Rome to regulate painters and street artists on the piazza. What I can say with certainty is that I believe society is obligated to defend those among us who have the ability to suspend reality and, with a brush in hand, transfer it onto a canvas to make a thing more beautiful – to make l’arte. George Bernard Shaw said it best when he wrote,“Without art, the crudeness of reality would make the world unbearable.”
In 2005, the Mayor and Council approved a ban prohibiting any type of commercial activity in the center of Piazza Navona. It was declared that permits would no longer be issued to paint in the city. Then came a resolution to govern the artistic profession, but nothing came of it. Nearly 6 years later the absence of rules means anyone (real artists and fakers) can enter and do what they want. The result has been a dilution of creativity and a strengthening of chaos and clutter. The legitimate are at a disadvantage to the counterfeiters who defraud tourists by peddling reproductions passed-off as originals. But why should the artists, some of whom have been on the Piazza since the 1960s, pay the price for the City’s failure to control those who bring urban decay to this beautiful place? Why should the people who have promoted all that is good about the Eternal City and have contributed to its charm and mystique now be threatened with displacement? Leonardo is turning in his grave!
“No heirloom of humankind captures the past as do art and language.” – Theodore Bikel
What is at stake on the Piazza Navona is the keepsake of a city. Art has defined Italy since the renaissance and just like the oxygen in our atmosphere, civilization and Rome need it to survive.
Photographs by Toni DeBella and Massimilliano Balletti
Paintings by Massimilliano Balletti