Rome 2021 and beyond
first things first
I love Julia Roberts, and I have a crush on Luca Argentero, despite my age.
My kids, my family, my books, and Rome are what I love most.
Now that I have made that clear, I feel comfortable saying something about the movie Eat, Pray, Love by Ryan Murphy 2010 from Elizabeth Gilbert’s homonym book. Why? Because it’s the first movie that comes to my mind when I think of clichés and prejudices about Italian people. I know a movie is not required to be truthful. It’s a work of art and creativity. Screenwriters, directors and actors can tell a story that has nothing to do with real life. Eat, Pray, Love is a movie that I have loved a lot. After seeing the movie, I read the book, but I feel like warning those who come to Rome thinking they will find what Elizabeth found here; that they will not.
an Italian obsession
If there is something that can be considered highly Italian, it’s Italian’s obsession with their homes. An American University language teacher I met years ago described it this way: “I don’t understand Italian people, their houses are so clean you could eat from the floor, while I have daisies growing on my kitchen floor. But they couldn’t care less if the streets are disgusting.”
I’m not all that sure people today in Italy don’t care about the city streets, but I am sure they keep their homes clean and maintained even if it costs a lot of hard work and money. So, in Rome, a flat like the one Elizabeth rents in the city center does not exist. If a building is in those conditions, it certainly will not be rented because the town laws would have secluded it.
I know that building. It’s on one of the most beautiful crossroads in old Rome. The flats are so expensive that only Julia Roberts, the actress, could afford to rent one of them.
A kettle of boiling water to fill the bathtub? That was something my grandmother had to do during World War II. Please! Are you kidding?
I’m not going to mention the landlady. It’s a quaint character, disrespectful to Italian women of the past, present, and future,
Covid has changed our lives. It’s nearly two years since the last time I went to have a coffee at the same most famous coffee bar where Lisa meets Sophie. Hand on heart, I didn’t have to put on that show. We are civilized people.
The scene hints back to “La Dolce Vita.” The end of the 1950s and the beginning of the 1960s when people were excited by the new prosperous age.
Social behavior is related to culture, and since those years we have studied, we have travelled and have lost, in my opinion, unfortunately, the nice naivety of that new age.
After Ponte Garibaldi, before arriving at Largo Argentina, one of my favorite spots in Rome, there is a tiny public park on the left. That’s where they shot the restaurant scene with the woman feeding her dog with her fork.
The “small dog” fever is a recent Italian disease. I have caught it too. Trying to justify it is another story.
A woman behaving and wearing all that jewelry is in sync with when they were shooting the movie. 2010 was Berlusconi’s age. Today she would raise a roar of laughter and great general embarrassment.
Yes, Italian food is the best in the world, that is why Lisa is in Rome. However, nowadays Italians have a multiple course dinner, maybe at weddings and for Christmas.
The younger Italian generations love international restaurants as well as grandmother’s cooking.
I was driving through Gaeta this summer and had difficulty finding a Pizza takeaway. I would have had lunch an hour earlier if content with sushi, Texmex, or Chinese food.
So if you are planning to come to Italy and Rome, please forget that past.
Many new things are going on, just as exciting, so very, very made in Italy, and dated 2021…and beyond.
We are waiting for you.
© Photo copyright Patrizia Verrecchia. All rights reserved.
Info graffiti foto: https://www.greenme.it/vivere/arte-e-cultura/graffiti-arte-lungotevere/