After weeks of dread prior to my departure — dread that I wouldn’t have the right Covid documents to enter Italy or get back into New York, a gnawing nausea that I’d fail to accomplish all that I needed to regarding the house, and obsessive fretting that I’d lost my Italian language skills, having noticed that a number of words and expressions were eluding me — I ended up really feeling my oats this last trip.
As it turned out, the travel angst was unnecessary, I found the property management of my dreams (next post), and, once I got onto the ground, I reclaimed all of my Italian and then some. It was as if the down time of the last year and a half had created space in my brain for new words and expressions to land and take root. As I’ve noted before, I don’t speak “House” in English, never mind Italian. But I was on my game with tradespeople — even on the phone, which can be especially challenging if the interlocutor has a heavy local accent.
I was starting to feel downright cocky about how well I was doing all’Italiana, right down to the way I dressed. I like to be comfy when I travel, but am loath to look the part of the fabled Yank in the tracksuit and fanny pack. I’ve long noticed that Adidas leggings, particularly the black ones with the three white stripes at the outer leg, are standard issue for Italians in transit, so I was sporting those when I got on the plane and again when I boarded the bus from Pescara back to Rome. It wasn’t until I was seated on that bus that I realized I’d put the pants on inside out and would be arriving in Rome in that sorry sartorial state. Guastafeste.*
I stayed for the first time at a somewhat swank hotel called Parco dei Principi on the far side of the Parco Borghese. I'd chosen it partly because I needed to find a Covid testing site within 48 hours of boarding the plane for home and this hotel had a concierge service purported to be excellent. All the more unfortunate that I had to present myself at the desk with my pants on incorrectly.
Note: Pants donned correctly in photo.
Here are just a few curiosities I discovered along my unaccustomed route through the Park into the center.
Who knew there was a Roman avenue named for our own Giorgio Washington? I did some follow-up googling, and found there’s also a Via Abramo Lincoln. I wonder if Tommaso Jefferson is fuming somewhere in the thereafter. It’s funny, too, because there is a Via John F. Kennedy, and they don’t make him Giovanni F. Kennedy. I guess if you’re a name from the distant past, they can take more liberties.
Forgive the photo quality. The sun was so bright, I couldn’t even see what I was photographing and just had to point the phone and hope for the best.
Yarnbombing! Is this going to be a thing? A lot of trends do get their launch in Rome. If so, I hope it’ll be with synthetic yarn.