I was reading earlier today about how rough Rome is. As Rick Steves says, “While Paris is an urban garden, Rome is a magnificent tangled forest…With the wrong attitude, you’ll be frustrated by the kind of chaos that only an Italian can understand.”
That explains why Romans were surprised we wanted to live here, because it’s not all la bella vita. It’s haggling, it’s pushing your way, it’s getting oogled and touched when you don’t want to by people you don’t want to. It’s hearing “Allora” 100x a day. It’s buses and metros and waiting and sweat. It’s chaos in what should be standard. Again, Steves: “While the rest of Italy uses “bella” to speak of the beautiful, Romans use “buona” which roughly means “tasty.” And that’s exactly the feel the city gives off, that it’s licking its chops, that it’s going to consume you.
Turns out, here in Rome, our beloved passeggiata (that we still enjoy each night) is called something else, a cruder, big-city term struscio. Struscio means “to rub.” And that’s just what it feels like lately. Our first week here, a fellow ex-pat told us we should watch her short clip on life in Rome. The volley between ‘I love Rome’ and ‘I hate Rome.’ Sometimes it’s just like that.