The Eternally Quiet City

Non c’e nessuno in giro.

Andrea keeps calling me to tell me that no one is around. Rome is empty. Practically 100% evacuated by the beginning of August. To be more clear-- shops, restaurants, beauty salons, and public and private offices close down by August 8 until the beginning of September. Traffic is at an all-time low, and so it seems are policemen. Veterinarians, plumbers, and most likely every technician detrimental to your life during the month of August (and never again) have packed up their bags and shut their doors by July 31st. Inevitably, your refrigerator will leak gas, your bikini line will grow to forest standards and your dog’s eye will need to be sewn shut by the second week of August. And there will be nothing you can do.

It is silly, ridiculous, crazy that Rome shuts down for almost an entire month, I used to think to myself, until last Monday afternoon when I played dead with Bella on the floor of my apartment- for THREE hours. Come to think of it, Saturday, my parents and I sat around Charlotte’s air-conditioned house, listening to it cool. And yesterday, I hugged (and nearly licked) a deliciously, cold marble column in St. Peter’s cathedral. The heat is unbearable, you don't want to talk to anyone, have any friends, do anything productive-- that is why you have to leave.

Rome in August has always been sweltering. Air-conditioning is not an excepted fact like in Houston or Miami. It’s a privilege that I am not part of. I have decided, long before I rolled over and played dead, that I am going to leave Rome and find a beach breeze for two weeks. I’ve already fought for and confirmed the last bikini wax appointment that Sonia has until September. I found a cute bikini (on sale) the last day the shop was open and my refrigerator just broke. Perfect timing.

Last year, I stayed here and loved August in the ghost town of Trastevere. No one told me to get out of the middle of the road while Bella and I walked around without a leash. Nor did they chase me to clean up dog poop (which I always pick up.) My café was closed for two weeks so I would make cappuccino at home—testing out different recipes for cold, hot and chocolate flavored. I even cooked my own dinners. Bella was eating tuna out of the can. By August 20, I was in dire need of razors, a bikini wax, pedicure and a decent meal. Bohemian and ery fun.

What I would do if I stayed in Rome--walk the empty streets, peruse the last vestiges of saldi in the few remaining shops, check out the ballet at the Terme di Caracalla, the evening events at Castel Sant’Angelo, and the concerts at Villa Celimontana and Fiesta.

Or just spend my days at Villa Borghese--

Morning cafe at Caffe Delle Arti, Galleria Nazionale di Arte Moderna, Viale delle Belle Arti, 131
Cotton Candy at the Teatrino dei Buratini on Via dell'Orologio
Hot Air Balloon Ride, via Galoppatoio 15, 18