Category Archives: Local Life



We are, quite simply too tall for Italy. We have to dip our heads going up and down the stairs to our bedroom and bathroom. Clearance is less than 1.7 metres! (Until you get to the top of the stairs, when clearance is even lower jutting out over half the stairway.) Likewise, the staircase to the laundry has an even lower clearance. It’s hazardous negotiating the stairs at night, holding the laundry, trying to turn off the light, and remembering to duck. Once I forgot. Did I mention the stairs are concrete? Ouch.

Our apartment is described in airbnb as a torretta – the tower bit is actually the laundry, shared with two other apartments. But our bedroom is still in the roof-line  and it slopes down to the sides, quite low, with beams, even lower. I can sit up safely on the bed, but can’t stand straight up. Of course, the first day we hit our heads several times. Then I had a week or two free, then bashed my head on the beam the other day. I am being extra-cautious now. And I have to admit to a few close shaves too.

Okay, that’s our heads taken care of. Ouch again. But it doesn’t finish there – the stairs are steep and the steps are narrow, built for smaller feet than ours. We ascend (remembering to duck – mostly), with relative ease. We descend much more carefully, coming down sideways, because that’s the only way our feet fit. We descend as if we were children, leading with the same foot –  left foot down, right foot meets it, left foot down, right foot joins it, left foot down, etc.  

However, I don’t want to complain, because our next stop may be even worse.  


Eight things you can do on a Vespa


This morning, walking down Via Pineta Sacchetti to do some shopping, there was the usual noise. Lots of tiny cars, being driven very fast. Though unusually, no sirens this morning. And of course, lots of Vespas.

It is amazing how much life can be conducted while riding on a Vespa:

  1. Picking noses
  2. Romance (with pillion passengers)
  3. Arguments (with both passengers and passers-by)
  4. The usual Italian gesticulations when having a conversation
  5. Whistling happily
  6. Taking your pet out for a jaunt (the dog sitting happily between the driver’s feet)
  7. Talking on a cellphone, and
  8. Texting on a Galaxy Note (or something of similar size), whilst riding handsfree

An apartment in Rome


So here we are, in our apartment in Rome. We’re not in a fancy area, or the famous and romantic (apparently, we have yet to visit) Trastevere, or very close to anything. We’re in Primavalle, an area that distinguishes itself by not having anything to distinguish itself with. But it is full of normal, Italian life, and that’s what we wanted.

The apartment is as expected small, but not outrageously so, and we have a decent-sized dining room/ kitchen, a separate living room, and in addition to our blissfully air-conditioned bedroom, there is a mezzanine bedroom that is useful for drying clothes when the rack in the laundry in the tower is full.

We’re in a small, three storey apartment building, in a street full of slightly large 4-5 storey apartment buildings, surrounded by many more streets full of 4-5 storey apartment buildings. Outside our door, about 100 yards up the road, you can find, in order of proximity, a bar (bar/café), a pizza place, two dentists, a bar/gelateria where locals sit with gelatos in the evening, the small piazza or square where the locals congregate, a women’s clothing store, a busy sports bar, hardware store, pharmacy, tobacconist/magazine shop, a pizza/deli place, a pasticceria (pastry shop), a deli with good cheeses and artisan pastas, and a supermarket, amongst a few others.

Across the busy road from the supermarket there is a park, full of pine trees and dry long grass, with a view of St Peter’s Dome in the distance. We keep meaning to head over in the evening, when the sun is at the right angle, and take some photos. We’ve never quite got there yet, despite walking past it every day on our way to and from the metro.