Art is all around you!
I loved walking around the area around the Piazza Navona - it has a wonderful ancient, relaxed and joyouse feel. The wonderful architecture, the palaces around the square all dressed up in different pastels to absorb the sun and create wonderful shadows. The fountains at each end gushing noisily and full of incredibly lifelike and engergetic sculpture - the intensity of life and of living well is around you. The pavement cafes are elegant and expensive, as are the pavement side boutiques full of beautiful souvenirs! What I miss about this place is the warmth and life of people who still have time to talk, to converse, to enjoy other's company, to be curious and charming as only Italians can be.
I am very envious of people living here! The sun probably has a lot to do with how personalities are developed, - I know I chill out more there than I do here in dull rainy England if you know what I mean!
Why Some People - Like Coeds - Can't Be Themselves
A few weeks later, one of the girls in the previous Local Custom Tip came in to my office in Rome. She was in tears.
"What's the matter, Suzanne?" I asked (not her real name).
"I can't be myself here," she replied.
After some discussion, I figured out what she meant. As one of the three girls in the previous tips, Suzanne was open, honest, and, well, "what you see is what you get". She was totally unprepared for an urban environment full of all sorts of people, including hucksters and con men and wolves (the two-legged variety).
At home (a town in Texas), she was taught to smile at strangers, be friendly and outgoing, and, in general, exhibit the same personality in public as in private.
In Italy - as is true to a greater or lesser extent in all European cities - people have two faces: the public face that may be polite, but reserved, and the private face that is unreservedly friendly.
In Texas, when a male stranger asks a woman for the time, she is likely (if from a smaller town) to smile and answer the question. If she turns away after that and minds her own business, the man should, too. But in Italy, if the woman smiles at all(!), it's considered a come-on, even if she turns away. The man keeps pestering her, because by HIS rules, she come on to him, even though by HER rules, she was simply being polite, not asserting any interest.
This is very hard to teach people, but for many Americans, the biggest culture shock is learning that the unwritten rules of how strangers interact just aren't the same - and this leads to so much misunderstanding and mistrust...
A very popular street market, held on Sunday mornings, from very early to around 1pm, on the left bank of the Tiber, between Porta Portese and Stazione Trastevere, centered on Via Portuense. The wares are mainly clothes, old and new. There you can by souvenirs very chip. womens and mens clothes
Afoot and/or by bus. It's...
Afoot and/or by bus. It's easy to ride the bus around Rome, but don't totally count on the driver (ask passengers even if they don't speak English), we asked and were told by the bus driver he'll let us know when to get off the bus, we felt it was a much longer ride than we expected, but we did not mind to rest our legs and enjoyed the sights and sounds of Rome along the way, by the time we reached the end of the route, the bus driver was shocked and very sorry that he simply forgot about us, and he kept on appologizing to us and the other tourist couple sitting in the back of the bus from UK.
Our breakfast place
For less than 3 euros a person, you can get a morning drink and pastry for breakfast. No seats, only a bar, join the locals! The owner is friendly, not minding the tourists, although this place is so unassuming, we were usually the only outsiders there.
You order and eat first, then go to the register when you are finished. They will usually remember what you had, and ring you up. Otherwise, they will put up with your butchered attempts at Italian as you manglewordedly or by pointing, tell them what you had... cafe latte and a sugar donut!