Friday, September 09, 2011

Il Centro Storico

Here in Rome, I live in the area known as "il centro storico," the historic center of Rome.  With a few exceptions, this includes all the area that is within the ancient city walls.  I live a few blocks from the Piazza di Spagna, the site of the famous Spanish steps that somehow show up in most movies set in Rome.  I'll admit, there is something very nice about being able to walk (not more than 20-25 minutes) or hop on a bus (much quicker if the timing is good) and find myself at the Pantheon, Piazza Navona, or the Roman Forum.  It's hard to complain.

There is, however, a downside to living in such a great location.  Tourists.  The past few days, there have been a couple of times where I was trying to walk quickly from point A to point B, just trying to get through the neighborhood, and I got sort of "locked in" to packs of tourists.

Also, today, I had to go to a certain bookstore to get the books for the Italian class I'm taking.  On the way back, there were a couple of young women passing out balloons and flyers that turned out to be for a Gap store about 2 blocks from my apartment.  Now, within about 3-5 blocks of my apartment, there are stores for not only Gap but also Nike, Adidas, FootLocker, Disney, and Swatch.  I'm sure there are many many more that could be named, but I haven't really been paying that much attention.  I'm just saying, it is a little strange to go halfway around the world and realize that walking through your neighborhood isn't that different from walking through the average mall in the U.S.  Well, not every mall has Swatch or Disney.  But, if my Italian were better, maybe I'd be able to make a joke that implies that "il centro storico" is the "store center" rather than the historic center of Rome.  Except the only word I know for store so far is negozio, and the joke is lost.  Oh, well!

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