Amatrice, the destroyed town that I still call “home”

If you are not living underground or on the top of a very high mountain, you might have noticed that this end of summer has been quite dramatic for most of us Italians. The earthquake that suddenly shook central Italy in the night of August 24th has stolen 296 lives and is still haunting the dreams of the ones of us who have been touched, directly or indirectly, by this reoccurring tragedy…

Continue reading the original article on Kappa Language School’s website.

Musings in a roman church

I step through the worn wooden doorway and am greeted by a rush of air that caresses my cheek. The candles that hang in lanterns cast a soft illumination, and I breathe the warm scent of old incense. I can hear the laughter of my friends drift down to hushed whispers as I lead the way in, bowing my head to the statue of Jesus that watches over those who have entered. As I raise my eyes, the calm atmosphere brings my aching heart a bit of comfort. In these last intense weeks of college finals, saying goodbye to the study-abroads, and packing up for the summer, this tranquil place gives me a sense of peace…

Keep on reading on Kappa Language School’s website.

A meal in a Roman square

474411420Sitting down at an outside table, I set my cappuccino on the table and dig into my beat up purse to find my notebook. The sun is relentless today and sitting under the large crimson umbrella that blooms over the middle of my table is the only reason my skin isn’t lobster red. I put my purse under my seat and open my notebook, then turn my head to look out into the square. In the middle rests a large fountain, with steps leading up to see into its waters. Art students are perched all over it and look around the square as I do, reminding me of a flock of pigeons, their heads bobbing up and down as they draw. Speaking of pigeons, they of course are all over the place. I remind myself not to drop any of my sandwich when they bring it to me, because otherwise death-by-pigeon will be on my coroner’s report.

Around Rome (8 of 49)-LSipping my cappuccino, an elderly couple walks by with a fat dachshund, who is merrily waddling along in front of them. A lady passes them going the opposite way and honestly I’m impressed at how well she is walking on the old cobblestones, which are riddled with cracks and holes. I can barely manage to walk on them in flat shoes. Brava, lady, brava. An elderly woman stands in front of the church across the street begs for money from anyone who walks in or out; and I have to look away, because its painful to watch. I try to give money when I can, but I can barely afford to feed myself as it is.

The birds’ chirping is a sweet melody that twines together with the smell of the lavender plants that blanket many of the buildings in the square, and its calming qualities make me lean my head back and just listen. With my eyes closed I can hear the clicks of someone’s shoes pass my table to go into the bar, and a deep voice bellows out a cheerful greeting that is reciprocated wholeheartedly from the female bartender. I imagine they are old friends, who see each other everyday and yet never run out of things to talk about. And as they begin to chat loudly among the tinks of the china and the bubbling of steamed milk, my mind wanders to a different sound. I assume one of the street musicians has set up shop somewhere near the fountain because now there is some lovely violin music drifting steadily to my ears. Oh, he is playing Ave Maria I realize, and find a newfound love for whoever this street performer is, because that is one of my favorites.

2929081691_1a89901780_bI hear footsteps approaching and slowly open my eyes to the crimson umbrella above me. I can see little dots of sunshine peaking through, which dance and sparkle when I move my head. Wow people probably think I’m high right now I think to myself and crack a smile.

Signorina, il tuo panino.” Says a handsome bartender who is hold a plate with my sandwich. I smile and take it from him with a Grazie. Setting it down, I take the last sip of my cappuccino and once again have to remind myself not to feed the birds, even if a little brown one just happened to land near me and chirp with an otherworldly cuteness. As I breathe in the hot Italian air filled with lavender (and now salami from my sandwich), and I hear the birds and violin sing in a natural harmony, I set my cup down and sigh with content. I am the luckiest girl in the world if I can call this beautiful place my home, even if only for a short while.

Read the original article on Kappa Language School’s website.

Let it snow! 5 must-visit winter landmarks in Latium

Brace yourselves, winter is coming! Or, we should say, it’s already here. Temperatures dropped so dramatically during last week that Romans are experiencing somenthing very unusual: a real winter!

Continue reading on Kappa Language School’s website.

Italian cinema: 10 little known gems set in Rome

When you think about Rome in movies, you suddenly face a bunch of titles that brutally take the scene, leaving little space to a whole genre which we could boldly call “romexploitation”.

Keep on reading the original article on Kappa Language School’s website.

La Città Eterna

Another chapter of our From students to students! Today Mariko, a Japanese Rome enthusiast, describes the Eternal City in her own, very poetic, words.

Read the full article on Kappa Language School’s website.

Ostia Antica, a convenient alternative to Pompei

Delightfully Italy

www.delightfullyitaly.com_ostia-antica

Visiting Rome and no time to go to Pompei? Well, Ostia Antica archeological site could well satisfy your ambitions of visiting the remains of an old Roman city.

Ostia Antica has been for centuries Rome seaport, until the change of the Tiber river course left it high and dry. The town was then abandoned and buried by centuries of sediment until the 19th century excavations.

Ostia Antica site is noted for the excellent preservation of its ancient buildings, magnificent frescoes and impressive mosaics, and is conveniently located less than one hour train from Roma Termini station.

To go to Ostia Antica web site, click here.

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Nicknames in Rome

You might think I am going to provide you with the usual list of funny nicknames that romans use to give to their family and friends. And yet, if you follow us and got to know well enough Rome and Romans, you should have learned that the creativity of this amazing people goes far beyond usual boundaries. As a matter of fact, in Rome even monuments and neighbourhoods have their nicknames.

  • The Cuppolone watches you from above...

    The Cuppolone watches you from above…

    Er cuppolone. Ok, this one was easy, being one of the symbols of Rome, along with the Colosseo (another nickname, by the way, since its real name is Anfiteatro Flavio). And if you think about it, calling this enormous, white church “the big cupole” is far more expressive than referring to it with the name of a (yet most prestigious) saint.

  • ‘A machina da scrive – ‘a torta nuzziale – ‘a dentiera – er calamaio. It is impressive how many nicknames this controversial monument has been able to inspir during the last 100 years: in order, “the typewriter”, “the wedding cake”, “the denture”, “the inkwell”. Originally buit to commemorate the fallen soldiers of IWW, the Vittoriano gained consideration among Romans for its distinctive shape, which in the opinion of many stands completely unrelated to the urbanistic landscape of Piazza Venezia.

    It seems a typewriter indeed. A very big one.

    It seems a typewriter indeed. A very big one.

  • So geometric...

    Wow, so geometric…

    Er Colosseo quadrato. Being the symbol of EUR, the vast neighbourhood that Mussolini had built for the Universal Exposition of 1941, the Palazzo della Civiltà Italiana is indeed a rationalist reinterpretation of the famous amphitheater. With the usual perspicacity, Romans have been able to syntethize the main carachteristic of this architectural structure in just two words (“the squared Colosseum”). Chapeau.

  • This image actually doesn't give an exact idea of the size of this structure.

    This image actually doesn’t give an exact idea of the size of this structure.

    Er Palazzaccio. On the right hand side of Castel S. Angelo stands this huge white building, once the central Courthouse and now home of the Supreme Court. Its nickname, formed by the addition of the pejorative suffix -accio to the noun palazzo (“palace”), is due to its humongous size and to the fact that the entire palace seems built using rough stones.

  • That is embarassing...

    That is embarassing…

    L’Orinatoio. Parental advisory: here’s an example of how roman people can become amusingly blasphemous. Whoever had the chance to take a train from Termini Station, surely noticed this bizarre statue of John Paul II, which have been inspiring jokes and laughs since its inauguration, in 2011. To understand why Romans use to call it “the urinal”, a quick look at this awful example of modern sculpture is more than enough…

As you might imagine, this list if far from being exhaustive. There are many more statues (er Pasquino, er Babbuino, l’Abbate Luiggi, er Marforio), buildings (er Dado, ‘a Scala Santa, er Fontanone) and even neighbourhoods (‘a Subburra) that could have been part of it. Is there anything like this in your city? Reply in the comments! 😉