by Melinda Gallo

On a motorino to visit an apartment

This morning when I began my day I had no idea that I would find myself on the back of a motorino (scooter) to visit an apartment near Santo Spirito. It's been a long time since I was on the back of a motorino, and I almost forgot about how thrilling and scary it can be.

I met up with my agente (real estate agent) #3 on the corner of two streets in another part of town. The apartment was located on the other side of the viale (avenue), which is the street that goes around centro storico (historical town center). For anyone who lives in the centro storico like I do, it's far from town. Mostly I think this is true because I'm on foot and don't have a scooter. Walking across the multi-lane viale is a little too overwhelming for me: cars and motorini line up waiting for the light to change colors and I'm trying to cross as fast as I can. The only place where I'm willing to cross the viale is at Piazza Beccaria because there's an old porta (door) in the middle to divide the two sides where pedestrians pass.

I had never met agente #3 before, but she's my friend Valentina's friend. Valentina told me all about her and said, "Ha delle case belle da vedere!" (She has beautiful houses to see). I had called agente #3 once before we left for the States to tell her what we were looking for and she told me to call her when I got back from our trip. Funnily enough, she called me yesterday after I had written myself a note that I wanted to call her.

She drove up in her motorino going a contro mano (on the wrong side of the road) and parked right next to where I was standing on the side walk. She had her cell phone propped up against her face under her casco (helmet) and was talking. She looked up at me and whispered my name to make sure it was me.

We arrived at the bottom of the apartment building while she was still talking on the phone. I was impressed with the building because it was clean and majestic. She called the proprietario (landlord) from her cell phone and he buzzed us in. We walked up the two flights of stairs and saw the proprietario standing in the doorway. He was a tall guy in his early thirties. He led us to a very bright living room that was sparsely furnished. The apartment was bright and airy, and if it was in the centro storico I would've snatched it up.

What I do like about the agente #3 is that she lets me out of the apartment without my having to explain if I like the apartment or not in front of the proprietario. The proprietario told me that he had another place near Piazza Santo Spirito that he'd like to show me and I agreed. He then asked me, "Come hai fatto per venire qui?" (How did you get here?) I was a little embarrassed because I had to tell him, "Sono venuta in taxi." (I came in a taxi). They had just gotten finished with telling me that the apartment isn't that far out of town and here I wasn't willing to walk it.

"Vuoi venire con me in motorino?" (Do you want to come with me on the scooter?) I nodded my head and hoped that the initial fear I was feeling wouldn't show on my face.

He handed me a casco and I hopped on the back. I held onto his shoulders lightly because I didn't want to wrap my arms around his waist. We talked the entire way through traffic where I could feel that at any moment the cars next to me would graze my legs. "Non hai paura, vero?" (You're not scared, are you?) "No, per niente," (No, of course not), I responded.

A few times I was a little nervous as I peered around his casco to see us heading for a bus or two cars going toward each other thus closing the gap between them. The proprietario was a great driver as we did arrive without incident and I was only slightly worried at times.

The second apartment was beautiful, but the bedroom window was right over a busy street near a traffic light. He said it wasn't that noisy, but I could hear the cars whizzing by while I was standing at the door to the bedroom.

I was disappointed once again today after spending so much time looking again. It was nice meeting agente #3. We had a caffè together before I walked home from Piazza del Carmine. Agente #3 is planning on showing me a few places tomorrow morning, and I'm still hopeful.

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