Why do I live in Rome? It’s a question most Italians never tire of asking. I can understand their interest and astonishment when so many of them are once again considering emigration due to lack of opportunities in their native land.
But I love Rome. I’m not somebody who tires of the historic centre or decries it as too touristy. It makes me happy. I have friends who force me to explore, who force me to find and appreciate new places, who make me feel guilty if I don’t.
But it can be overwhelming. A few months ago I watched Paolo Sorrentino’s film La Grande Bellezza.
I love a film set in Rome and become wildly excited when I recognise locations (and this time one of the extras). This film was Rome writ large. Gorgeous, chaotic and at times desperately sad. The photography was sweepingly beautiful. And like Rome, maybe too much. There was so much instantly recognisable, but also much that renewed your desire to explore and absorb (although roof-top parties of the rich and famous have not been part of my experience here I must admit). But it completely reinforced my perhaps over-romantic view of La Dolce Vita.
As a result, I hate it when people leave. I’m almost offended. July is a month when many of my colleagues leave Rome for new experiences or because their experience here has been enough. But how can they leave? Maybe I still see Rome through a rose-tinted camera lens and as in the film, will I be able to face reality when it hits… ?