Wednesday 25 March 2009

A little moan about Rome

If you are one of those people who loves Rome more then any place in the world then please do not read on (I used to be one of the Rome lovers...but now...well now I am not.)

So here goes my big moan about the Eternal City. I've only been back in Rome for a few days and all I can say is thank god I am leaving tomorrow!

Yeah..yeah...Rome is great and all that but as you all know I have done my time here - 2 years in fact so enough is enough.

I have been out of Rome for a while now and had forgotten just how dirty the air is. You cannot breathe in this city at all! I was walking around the Spanish Steps before to visit some hotels and was almost gagging from the pollution. (Ok so I may be exaggerating a teeny bit.)

And the traffic...I hate the traffic in Rome (and all Italian main cities!) The city is constantly one big mix of buses, cars and scooters all trying to push and shove to get one centimetre ahead of the other.

And the crazy people. There are SO many of them in Rome. I am sick of being accosted by the crazy people who seem to seek me out. I must have a beacon above my head saying "here I am! Come and bother me, I have nothing better to do." I was harassed 4 times yesterday - 5 if you count the drunk homeless man who nearly grabbed me. Ok so the drunk homeless man did not literally try to grab me, I think he was just so drunk that he nearly fell on me. Then there are these annoying people who always try to sell you socks on the street. Has anyone else ever seen them walking around or is only me? I got stopped again today by a sock selling man...they seem to be rather 'normal' looking people (not gypsies or dirty and homeless looking) and they walk around Rome (and other main cities I have found them) selling socks...They are so annoying and I always think it odd that they try to sell socks. A lot of illegal street pushers try to sell toys, tissues, almost dead flowers but socks...?

I am accosted almost every second it also seems by beggars of every description (with legs, without, with babies, without...) They love to take the bus that I happen to use and they smell so bad! So bad. But if only you could have seen their jewellery! One had these massive, heavy gold hoop earrings, a gold watch and two front gold teeth...

The book sellers annoy me too - outside of the main bookshops there are these people who try to sell you books or pamphlets or something. Has anyone else seen them? I don't know what they are all about as I don't want to stop and talk to them! I just say a quick 'no grazie' and keep walking.

The restaurants who try and 'entice' you into their establishment also bother me greatly. This morning I was walking down the street when this waiter blocks my path calling out "Signorina, cappucino? Corentto? Prego." Why does that bother me you ask..perhaps he was just being nice. Well I was EATING a cornetto! Leave me be. Really. Leave me be.

So it seems Rome really is the Eternal City and nothing ever changes. Bring on Sorrento I say! Bring it on.


Anonymous said...

It sounds like your ready to move on :) Good luck, hopefully your time there goes quickly.

Rosa said...

Don't want to dampen things but the traffic in Sorrento in summer smells just as bad. Get yourself down to Calabria for a breather in between.

Leanne was in Italy now in Australia said...

Hi Miss B,
I am more then ready to move on!

Hi Scintilla,
Yes, I know the traffic will be bad in Sorrento. A nightmare I am sure because I for one will be on the road and I am very bad and nervous at driving on the other side of the road! At least there are beautiful views of the sea :)

Anonymous said...

I agree with you about the pollution. The two times I went there I got a chest infection that turned into pneumonia. (mind you any polluted city will do this to me) I'm a small town girl myself. However, Rome is an exciting city and sometimes you have to take the good with the bad.
Good luck and quick departure!

Leanne was in Italy now in Australia said...

Hi Ms Violetta,
Yes you are so right - you must take the good with the bad. I was so lucky to have lived and worked here, it was a good starting point for my 'italian' life but now I am ready to move out of the city.

Jessica said...

I am 1000% with you! I feel like I could have written this EXACT post from the socks to the ANNOYING waiters! I was so happy to get the hell out there! Maybe there is a 2 year itch thing about that place because that is how long I was there too. I also think the pollution had something to do with my severe pleurisy last year. Plus my allergies are way better this year in Verona than last year(s) in Rome. Good riddance I say. The charm of the Colosseum and the other sites do nothing for me anymore in comparison to all the other irritating things that go on there. Visiting the in laws at Easter and Christmas is almost too much at this point ;)

Bitter Chocolate said...

I think just about any place eventually gets on one's nerves... That being said, I'm one of the odd people that never really fell for Rome in the first place. So maybe I'll take the opposite route and will wind up loving it if I ever return there some day :)

Leanne was in Italy now in Australia said...

Hi Jessica,
I am more then sure that you get me! You know I have not even been to the Trevi Fountain since being back. Only went by the Spanish steps as there is a hotel close by...and have to pass the Colosseo as it is down the road from me...but you know what? I didn't even look at it when I went past!

Hi BC,
HA! Yes you will be one of those people who never likes Rome then ends up living here for the rest of your life...that is if you don't stay in Valencia or Manchester ;)

Anonymous said...

Hi Leanne,
Florence is very similar in that you get bombarded with people trying to sell you things. It's at best annoying during the day but at night it can actually be very frightful. And the guys that sell fake louis vuitton or prada are all on the lookout for the police and when they pack up, they don't look around and just start running. One nearly bowled me over and I yelled at him. I read that a few months ago they knocked over an older American tourist on one of their runs from the police and she got concussion. I blame the authorities in a way because there is so much in the big Italian cities that they let people get away with.

Carolina said...

D'accordo! Your post reminded me of the reasons why I fell in love with the small villages in Calabria and
moved to Malito... :) After living and working in the Rome you just described, on and off for six years, I found a life that was refreshing, clean, slow and simple, so I moved there! I absolutely agree with you!

Kim B. said...

I was in Piemonte last week with my husband, who's from there, and a friend of his, who lives there now. The two agreed that Rome would be a lovely city if it weren't for the Romans!

: ) said...

Hi Leanne, the jewels are the small towns aren't they? Like Malito! I posted your photo yesterday. Hope you're well. Joe

Kataroma said...

Gotta agree with you there. But I'm a big city person and what bothers me even more than the sock sellers etc is the inefficiency, bureaucracy, rudeness, corruption etc. This may be worse in rome but unfortunately I believe it's the same in most of Italy -apart from some parts of the North.

Pollution worries me now that I have a kid especially. I grew up in New York City though (til age14) and I swear that NYC is less polluted than Rome despite being around 4 times the size population wise.

Anonymous said...

Hi Leanne,

Oh dear.... You need to get out of there :) Luckily you are, l cant believe you are already back in Italy.. Miss Jetsetter! Hope you had a great Easter.
Ps. l will definately email you soon re: catching up.

Leanne was in Italy now in Australia said...

Hi Anon,
They are dangerous when they run around trying to escape from the police. I think there was a case in Venice a while ago when a tourist was knocked down and ended up in hospital.

Hi Carolina!
I so want to have that slow, clean and enjoyable pace of life one day. Chissa...maybe there will be a move for me in the future a little further down south to Malito. Stay tuned!

Hi Kim B
HA! Rome would be lovely without the Romans...and without the tourists too!

Hi Joe
Small towns are just the best!
Thanks for posting the photos, glad you liked them :)

Hi Kataroma
Pollution worries me too and I can just imagine that you are really worried now that you have a baby. For a city Rome is really so much more polluted then most.

Hi Cleo,
I cannot wait to meet you!

Louise | Italy said...

You must have an open sort of face that seems to say that you won't deck anyone who comes near you! Speak more English. When they think you don't speak Italian they just walk away...And if you want some fresh air sometime, come north. Here in the foothills of the Alps we're giving it away!