I passed my culinary exam at Accademia Barilla, finally conquering the rules and intricacies of Italian cuisine. How epically romantic you feel to have escaped it all for piazzas and melodic vowels and a lifestyle envied by every outsider. I was on a press tour recently in Toronto and a woman came up to me after I gave a speech on the experience of creating a life in Italy. I actually did what you did and went to live in Rome but I only ended up staying for three months.
Did you enjoy it? It happened to me too! You probably hang out with your classmates and you have set group excursions scheduled into your free time. This does happen, but you need to be patient and you need to throw yourself into this city. I would walk for hours in the evening taking in the architecture and the labrynth of palazzi.
I was a student of this country I had loved for so long from afar and despite the fact that I could pass a whole day without speaking to anyone, I felt thoroughly immersed and considered it an honour to finally be a part of this whole scene. I remember spending my first Christmas totally alone, feeling closer than ever to the buildings and relics of Rome and yet so far from any intimate human relationship.
Here below are just a few tips to become less of a loner in the most beautiful city on earth. You can easily make coffee at home in the morning but push yourself to go out to one cafe on a regular basis. Resist the easy English invitations.
Italians are inherently social. Once I made friends with real locals I was fielding invitations to parties on Monday nights, trips to the islands in summer and Tuscan dinner parties in winter. Aperitivo is the most beloved time for socialising in Italy. Those hours between coming out of the office and heading out to dinner are buzzing with Italians and expats who crave conversation with new friends. The guys who put together the events calendar for Romeing are amazing. Literally every night there is something cool and social going on in some part of the city, from swing dancing and tango to vintage markets and speed dating to language exhange groups.
It sounds like the worst idea ever in this exquisite city. But I really came to love getting up early, grabbing my bike and a quick espresso and heading to a pilates class on a Saturday morning where you instantly bond with other early risers. In the evenings, I would head to boxing classes and meet a whole different group. Tags from the story.