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Locked down but not out in Italy

Singing from the balconies! One nice thing about this crisis ... solidarity! “Guess you’re not living like a tourist anymore,” was the funny, truthful and somewhat gut-wrenching message of a friend the day the lockdown in Italy began. Today is day 6. My beloved Italia has been hit hard with the COVID19 epidemic. With the second largest elderly population in the world, the epidemic has meant a disproportionate amount of deaths in the country. So though I haven’t been worried about contracting it myself, this isn’t about me or someone like me who, if contracted it would probably have a sucky couple of weeks and then recover. It is about if someone like me contracted it and then spread it to a person with a complicated health history or an elderly person with a weakened immune system. Eerily orderly: Lines for the grocery store, each person one meter apart In a country with no concept (and no physical room really) for personal space, and in a city with reproachable hygie

Top 10 Reasons I should be sent back to Italy

10. Enthusiasm: For living like a tourist, what better city is there than Rome? There is so much I have yet to do!

Throwing a coin in the Fontana di Trevi for at least the 20th time
9. Language: I am one of the 1% of the world that speaks Italian. According to Eurobarometer and Wikipedia, there are 65 million Italian speakers in the EU, in addition to 20 million in the rest of the world who speak Italian as a second language. Divided by the current World Bank global population figure,  (6,775,235,700) this means I am within the 1% of that can communicate (albeit with flaws) with the people of Italy in their own language.

8. Oenophile: I help the wine industry.

7. Filling Out its Churches: Despite 87% of Italians designating Catholicism as their religion, only 36% consider themselves practicing and only 30% regularly attend mass. With Rome's 300+ churches, attendance can look pretty scarce. I help the churches boost their numbers.

6. Soft spot for animals: I give love to Rome's many wayward cats.

5. Off the Road: I don't drive in Rome so I help keep the carbon emissions down. (With the added bonus that I haven't killed any pedestrians this way either.)

A car parked literally in the middle of a four way intersection.

4. Marketing: I am happily marketing Italy's various agricultural products without compensation.

3. Loyalty: I have lived in Italy, on and off, for a total of almost five years. This is despite the fact that I have had:

  • food poisoning here more times than in any other city, 
  • water dumped on my head from the bucket of an unconcerned lady on a balcony over a busy shopping street, 
  • a psycho landlady that would take over the apartment on weekends, complete with husband, kids, friends and a dog,
  • a 500+ euro surgery bill because of my cat's urinary system not dealing well with the amount of calcium in the water,
  • an allergy to tiger mosquito bites that show up on every part of my body, every day and that have on separate occasions made my arm, lip and eye swell up Quasimodo-style,  
  • the stomach flu twice, 
  • and now recently a reaction to mysterious bug bites that I attribute to romping around a sunflower field in Tuscany. 
BUT I keep coming back. I am loyal.

2. Fending off delusions: When I am not in Italy, I pretend I am anyway.

1. Love: I have friends and family all over the world and Italy is no different. But I have amazing set of friends, not to mention one of the boy-variety, here. So I believe that should count for something.

That's my case. Thank you for your attention God, Saint Peter, fate, karma or whatever department is in charge of these things.


  1. Ah, I just got back from my second trip to Rome... I'm in love!!! Rome is the most amazing city I've ever been to. There's magic on every corner :) I think I've found my place.. I've always had Italy as a place to live, in the back of my mind, but I find it very difficult to do research on how to find appartments for rent.. any advice for a Norwegian Italy-enthusiast? ;)

  2. @SailorChic- Thanks for your comment! Go for it! I feel that whenever you have such a strong connection to a place, it is worth pursuing. Why not? In terms of apartments, I have generally used Craigslist,, Wanted in Rome,, or some italian sites like Bakeca, or Porta Portese, to use if you don't speak Italian though).
    Hope that helps! Good luck!


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