reddirtlattes/ August 30, 2012/ Uncategorized/ 11 comments

There are quite a few things that have surprised me here in Rome. Of course I come from a bias of NY Italians and the Sopranos, but I think the stereotypes throw a wide net.

Here are some of my observations:

I see more Romans drinking white wine, not red, even in the cold of winter. I wonder if this is partly because there is so much bad red wine here. I cannot tell you how many bottles I have had that have sat in the heat too long and turned. Most wine stores are not air-conditioned, and with a summer of 35+ temperatures (95+) going into a store in the fall for a nice bottle is a bit like playing the lottery. I never win.

There is not a lot of garlic used.

Red pepper flakes are put on everything.

Vegetables are merely a vehicle to get olive oil into your mouth. Everyone of them tastes exactly the same as you spoon them into your mouth, oil dripping down your chin. Of course the ones smothered in pepper flakes also leave a nice burn.

The bread–and I am going to offend some with this one–is not very good.

The pizza–and this one will really hurt–is better in NY. (The pasta however is amazing.)

Coffee is simply to get the caffeine in. The idea of lingering over a coffee enjoying the “roast” as Americans like to do is funny to some of my Roman friends.

Romans do not open their windows at night. Not only are they shut tight, but shutters are locked and metal grates are pulled down so nighttime feels like lock-down in a prison. As an American I love my fresh air, so insisted we not follow this cultural trend. We were robbed.

It is not uncommon to see a pregnant women smoking.

More to come…..

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  1. That’s fascinating. And exactly why I love blogs – hearing the inside story. Don’t stop, please, you always put the inside story so well, too. Love from the tip of Africa where ‘coffee’ is an occassion too xx

    1. The tip of Africa! Lucky.

  2. Another excellent blog post from you. I’m not too surprised to hear about the pregnant women smoking, I’ve heard from others that Europeans tend to ignore some health-related issues more than Americans.

    1. They smoke, they drink, they put their kids on scooters. Sometimes I am horrified. Sometimes I am envious of the freedom.

  3. Delighted to see additional posts from you. I am especially pleased to read your experiences in Rome. Next year it will have been 50 years since I was last there (ye gods it is painful to write that), so I’m even more interested to read what has changed.

    1. Thanks for reading, Louis.

  4. For NYC style pizza you have to go to Naples as that is where many Italians in the NYC area immigrated from (also from Sicily, Calabria, Basilicata… basically Southern Italy).

    Roman pizza is very different.

    Excellent pizza in Rome? Tondo in Montesacro or Pizzarium by the Vatican both use dough by Bonci.

    1. I will try, but I think it’s the water. Yes, Naples has good pizza, better than Rome, but Patty’s in NY is still top of my list.

      1. The name of the pizzeria is Tonda not Tondo. It’s located in Via Valle Corteno 31, Roma. 😉

  5. From an Italian who has never been to Italy, I am envious. Enjoy!!! 🙂

  6. A fascinating read, as always. I love the way you gently explode common stereotypes about Italy and its people (or the Romans, at least). If you want truly fresh air, good coffee and great spots to linger over it, excellent wine, (red and white), and a near total absence of pregnant smokers, ask the Administrator of the UNDP to arrange an assignment in her homeland. 🙂

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