by Melinda Gallo

Work by day, Rome by night

This morning we went to Rome to work at one of our client's offices for a few days. We got a call a few weeks ago to work with a friend of ours, Massimo, on a project of his in Rome. We jumped at the offer as we thought it would be fun to go somewhere else to work for a few days. We took an early morning Eurostar to Rome, which only took an hour and a half from Florence, and then a half hour taxi ride to an area called Cassia.

Living in Florence :: Work by day, Rome by night

"Allora, non siete di Roma?" the autista (driver) said to me. Then, she excused herself and explained where we were by pointing in directions and naming a few piazze in order to situate ourselves a little bit.

Rome didn't seem as caotica (chaotic) as people said, but there were lots of cars. I noticed that there are many more cars than there are motorini (scooters) in Rome. Many of the churches and monuments that we drove past were majestic especially in size. Statues on bridges in white marble that seemed to tower over us. The autista told us that the area we were driving through was benestante (wealthy) even though it didn't look that impressive. "C'è tanto verde in questa zona." (There is a lot of parks in this area) she told us and suggested that we walk through the Villa Borghese because it is eccezionale (exceptional).

When we arrived in Cassia, it seemed like we weren't even in Rome any more. We drove past a patch of countryside with rolling hills, which reminded me of Tuscany. We got to the office about noon and worked until about 8PM going from meeting to meeting with me translating for Dave and Massimo in both directions.

It was a lot of fun to be in an Italian office since I have never been in such a large company (about 100 people) before. We got a tour of the company, which manages vacations in Italy, and worked with il presidente (CEO) who is a very charming and intelligent man. He is incredibly dinamico (dynamic) and his high energy is quite contagious.

Because it is Dave's first time to Rome, Massimo, Giuseppe e Deborah (who all work together in Milan) decided that we should go to Rome for dinner. Also because they'll be leaving us tomorrow, so we only had one night to hang out together.

We went to a restaurant called Il Tartarughino where we were the only customers for dinner. There were a few people downstairs having drinks and an American man was singing to the accompaniment of a saxophone player and a pianist.

The staff lavished us with attention and even though the restaurant was very chic, they were quite alla mano (friendly/easy-going). It is true what they say about Romans being solari ("sunny disposition"). Everyone we met was very friendly and kind to us. Even strangers talked to me at the train station, which is practically unheard of in Florence.

After we finished dinner at around 11PM, we walked around town to look at some of the great Roman piazze. We first arrived at Piazza di Spagna, which had railing up because they were doing work on the street in front. The piazza was not lit up and there were only two people walking up the stairs, so we moved on. Giuseppe, who is Calabrese (from Calabria), wanted to take us to see Fontana di Trevi because he said it is spettacolare (spectacular) at night. He took us on a few wrong turns so we had to ask one of the agenti (police officer) in a small one-person hut that seemed to be on many corners in Rome. We could hear the fontana before we could see it. It was so beautiful that I had to take a picture of it.

Afterwards we walked toward the Pantheon, which was all lit up, and then to the Piazza Navona. Luckily, it wasn't that cold outside or at least it didn't feel that cold since we had spumante, vino, passito (raisin wine) e limoncello.

We didn't get back to our hotel until about 2AM. With our impending wake-up call at 7:30AM, we were just hoping that we could function at the office the next morning. At any rate, we had a great time touring Rome at night virtually alone since there weren't hardly any Romans or tourists outside. We're hoping that we'll get to eventually see Rome by day before we head back to Florence.

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