As the Romans Do: An American Family's Italian Odyssey
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A celebration of the character and style of one of the world's most spectacular cities! This vibrant insider's view of the most mature city on earth is the perfect companion for anyone who loves anything Italian. In 1995, after a twenty-year love affair with Italy, Alan Epstein fulfilled his dream to live in Rome. In As the Romans Do, he celebrates the spirit of this stylish, dramatic, ancient city that formed the hub of a far-flung empire and introduced the Mediterranean culture to the rest of the world. He also reveals today's Roman men and women in all their appealing contradictions: their gregarious caffe culture; inborn artistic flair; passionate appreciation of good food; instinctive mistrust of technology; showy sex appeal; ingrained charm and expressiveness; surprisingly unusual attitudes toward marriage and religion; and much, much more.
to obtain what your heart desires. I know how I can bring a smile to the face of Maurizio, who owns the little cheese store where we shop, anytime I want. All I have to do is pay with the exact amount. He will grin, and exclaim, “Perfetto!” It is also your responsibility to get the change, not the merchant’s. Once, when I went to a film matinee, I wanted to pay the 8,000-lire price (less than $5) with a 50,000 note (around $30). The cashier dismissed me immediately. “You’re only the third person
scene resembling nothing so much as the trading room of the Chicago futures market. I cannot avert my eyes from the faces of the organizers, looking out over the sea of anger and frustration, knowing they are powerless to stop the venting, waiting for it to spend itself in order that they may continue with the meeting and their proposal, which we had still not yet heard. Suddenly, almost on cue, everyone seems to calm down, and the capi continue, explaining patiently, eloquently, cogently, that
two or three children with Down syndrome in costume, their unmistakable specialness in no way preventing them from partaking of the shared culture of communal festivity. As soccer balls whizzed by, as a mermaid blew bubbles, and a vendor at the periphery of all this sold cotton candy and caramel popcorn and bag after bag of confetti, as our kids, in jeans and sneakers and sweatshirts, zipped along, we realized that Rome is one big party that goes through different phases as the months pass and
gardens anywhere in the world. At this time, ours is not one of them, used mostly for hanging laundry. But Diane and I have promised each other that soon we will adorn the terrace for outdoor recreational use. We will buy a table and chairs, an umbrella, and plants, and we will take advantage of the pleasing Roman climate to eat an occasional meal fuori. It is 10 A.M. The kids are in school. My wife is still counseling. And the shopping is done. We have fresh springwater in the cupboard and
blend of the cappuccino at Allemagna, along with the light, delicate, slightly orange flavor of the cornetto. We had to be there. We had to be there. We managed to find a reasonable flight, booked a small pensione close to Piazza di Spagna, asked my parents to watch Julian for ten days, and took off, knowing the whole time that the first thing we would do would be to head straight for “our” bar. Suddenly, it seemed as though our dream of one day living in Italy was to be put to the test. Would