It’s been pretty quiet around here lately. Well, not on the work front, fortunately. On the life front. Quiet. Nothing much of interest to report. But I feel bad that it’s been such a long time since I’ve written so I’ll just share a few random things with y’all.
A while back I went with the Upstairs Vegetarian to a press thing at the Colosseum. In May, they started to do twice weekly guided nighttime tours and the first tour was for the media. I felt very important because they actually let me in (“I blog about Rome”) while all of the riff raff a.k.a. tourists pressed their noses against the gate and stared at the Colosseum with longing eyes. The U.V. goes to these things constantly because she is a famous journalist and according to Newsle, an app that tracks news about people you know, she is MY MOST IMPORTANT FRIEND.
I hadn’t been to the Colosseum in yonks and the visit was great. Lovely in the moonlight and, since there was apparently not enough real moon and the event was called La Luna sul Colosseo, they rigged up a big fake moon over the arena. My pictures of that turned out disastrously so you’ll just have to imagine it. The guide told us all about the history and architecture of the iconic amphitheater and we went downstairs to see where the animals and gladiators hung out before ascending to the arena in a sort of elevator operated by a rope and pulley system. Oh, those Romans! There is also an interesting exhibit to mark the 1700th anniversary of the Edict of Milan, whereby the Emperors Constantine and the lesser-known Licinius proclaimed tolerance for all religions in the Roman Empire, Christianity included.
The Colosseum is open every Thursday and Saturday night from 20:20 till midnight (last entrance at 22:45). Tours in English and Italian. To reserve, go to www.coopculture.it or call 06 3996 7700. The exhibit — Costantino 313 D.C. — runs until 15 September.
A couple of weeks later, the Ministry of Culture threw La Notte dei Musei, an annual event where 257 museums and monuments are open — and free of charge — until midnight, many of them featuring concerts. My dog friend Daniela and I have been talking about going to the Helmut Newton show at the Palazzo delle Esposizioni for months and we decided to make a night of it. Daniela, by the way, is not a dog. We met while walking our dogs and I call her that — although not to her face — to distinguish her from all of the dozens of other Danielas I know. Italians have a pretty limited repertoire when it comes to naming kids, by the way. Everybody is either Betta or Claudia or Daniela or Claudio or Daniele. It gets confusing but at least they haven’t fallen into the stupid American thing of naming your kids after fruit or computer games or superheroes. Yet. We now have microwaveable food here. Can crazy naming be far behind?
Okay, tangent aside, having gotten far enough into this story that I need to finish it, I just realized that there is nothing to say. We got to the museum; there were a billion people in line even though the exhibit has been running for months and month; we abandoned the notion and got something to eat in oh-so-fashionable-it’s-not-Monteverde-but-it-will-have-to-do-Monti. On the way home we saw huge lines outside of every monument we passed. So not worth waiting in line to save a few Euros and listen to some bad music. We tried to go to the exhibit today as well before realizing that it was a stupid national holiday. Sorry Helmut. And Happy Republic Day everybody. June 2nd was the day in 1946 that Italians voted to abolish the monarchy and establish a republic in its place.
When I am stressed and unhappy I cannot eat and a few years back when I was majorly both, the Upstairs Vegetarian used to pop by to make sure that I did not die of starvation. She’d whip up some vegetarian delight or other. Often, we’d order Chinese.
The notion of food delivery is not very well advanced in Italy. As elsewhere, it was pioneered by Chinese restaurants and pizzerias. Recently, our favorite Chinese place closed down and when we were frantically casting about for an alternative, we came across JustEat. This super cool service originated in the UK, has outlets in 13 countries and involves thousands of restaurants. Here’s what you do (if you are in Italy): Go to www.justeat.it and type in your address. Up pops a list of restaurants, with descriptions and menus. There are 45 restaurants in my zone that deliver, including Mexican, vegetarian (boo), burger (yay) and sushi joints. Order your meal online. JustEat will confirm your order within minutes and will tell you when it will arrive. And then it arrives and you eat. Easy as that. Our first experience was bad with the food not arriving for hours. But it was only the first week of the service so we cut them a break and since then we’ve never had to wait more than 45 minutes. I know this doesn’t sound like much to all you sophisticated Big City American Types who can order your Nobu Hand Roll Box Delivery. But believe me, for us it’s a very big deal.