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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

Waking up to summer

This is the last weekend of August. What a harsh realization. I would like to say "time flies," but at the risk of sounding cliché, I won't. In any case, when we say time flies, it isn't really what we mean. It's not so much that time has really gone by quickly (getting to Fridays always takes forever!); it is more that we realize how long our thoughts have been elsewhere.

Summer has "flown by" for me because since May, my head has been a resident of various la-la-lands: maid-of-honour world, new job planet, travelling universe and moving-house territory.

For most of this summer, my mind has not been a conscious inhabitant of Rome. I have not, therefore, fully partaken in this Roman summer.

With the last weekend of August before me, I hear the fading echoes of "I am so excited for Rome in the summer!", words spoken back in May at the turn of the weather and the lengthening of the days. Those echoes got fainter and fainter the deeper and deeper I ventured into each of my other worlds. 

August 30 and I am just waking up. There is so much I haven't done! I've barely touched my list of Quintessential Roman Summer Musts, activities I need to do every year to put me in the summer spirit, like decorating a tree at Christmas. (Visitors will attest to this list because I make them do all these things too.)

It goes something like this: 

1. Lungo il Tevere Festival:  

2. Outdoor concerts at Villa Pamphili or Villa Ada
3. Opera at the Terme di Caracalla

4. Aperitivo at La Singhita on Fregene Beach

5. Granita di Caffe from Tazza d'Oro

6. Cioccolato Fondente gelato (let's face it, this is all year round)

7. Limoncello (preferably somewhere along the Amalfi coast)

8. Drinks at the Hotel Minerva Rooftop

9. Notte delle Stelle Cadenti (Night of the falling stars) at the beach on the festa di San Lorenzo (August 10)

10. Beaches (many of them)

11. Paddle boats at Bracciano lake

12. Watermelon Stands

13. Campari and/or Aperol Spritz

14. Icy dessert (the granita's cousin) from a Grattachecca

15. Festival at Castel Sant'Angelo

16. Outdoor movie
The list is long, but there is so much more to do. Roman summers are really a wonderful time of year. And even nicer, summers here do often stretch into September or October. So hopefully, I am not too late to partake in some of these wonderful things that I have not yet managed to do.

So if you are in Rome but your mind is in a land far-far-away, may this be a reminder to snap back to earth and to make use of the long days, blue skies and warm sun.

And send any other Roman summer suggestions if you have them!