I’ve been in Italy for about a month now, and though I like to consider myself a master of public transportation and gelato combinations, I can hardly call myself a local. While I may not be familiar with all of the ins-and-outs of what it means to be Roman, I’ve definitely figured out of some things. Here are a few aspects of Roman culture and life that have inspired me and that I hope will inspire you too.
1. Takin’ it slow
While cities tend to be characterized by a non-stop hustle and bustle, Romans don’t mind taking it slow at times. Don’t get me wrong, the rush of the daily commute is still a thing here, but people are doing anything but rushing through life. Take food for example– eating is a social activity in Rome and you’re sure to find the locals taking their time enjoying their dining company and delicious entrees. I haven’t once been given my check before asking, since the waiters here expect you to stay as long as you like. Because of this, Rome isn’t big on to-go meals, so I suggest embracing the chance to sit down and enjoy your pasta alla carbonara even more- if that’s possible.
2. Takin’ it easy
The people of Rome don’t only work hard, they relax hard. Most shops and stores close mid-day for a break, and you will often see people taking time off to enjoy a well-deserved caffè with their friends. From having Sundays off to taking relaxing strolls in the park, Romans are no doubt enjoying the beauty of the city they call home.
3. Supporting small businesses
Back home in the U.S., when you need something, you go to Target or any of the other major supermarkets. In Rome, however, there are mostly small local businesses- ristorantes, gelaterias, and any other specialty shops you may need. I often hear shop owners calling customers by their names and sending them off with a friendly “ciao”. It’s a nice reminder of the quaintness of the local areas of Rome among the big city– and a friendliness that the whole world could learn from.
These examples are by no means reflective of all Romans. Rome is a diverse place, full of people with unique qualities and ways of living. However, these are some things that I have seen time and time again during my study abroad experience, and hope to embrace while here in Rome and back home.
The world awaits…discover it.