Last week, we moved to a new apartment. When we had arrived here a little over a year ago, we took a one bed-roomed furnished apartment until we decided what we were doing and which area of Rome we would eventually like to live in. As it turned out, we love the area we’re in so when we saw a larger apartment higher up the hill for a small amount more than what we were paying, we took it. There was a lot of paperwork involved and I must say it would have been much more difficult if Fidz wasn’t Italian. One thing I found unusual was that we had to pay the agent who showed us the apartment a fee of one month’s rent. We found the place through an internet search so all he basically did was to show it to us. Apparently, this is the norm here which seems strange to me as it would make more sense for the landlord to pay the agent should he/she find a tenant.
As you can imagine moving from a fully furnished to a completely unfurnished apartment involved buying a lot of stuff. The pressure was on since my nephew and his girlfriend were coming from Toronto on a visit the day after we moved in, a trip that had been organized a few months ago. Thank goodness for Craig’s List, Kijiji and, here in Italy, e-bay which also has a site for used goods with no bidding involved. We were able to find nice furniture in good condition and in the process see parts of the city we would never have had reason to visit. Driving to the outskirts of the city stuck in traffic made us appreciate our neighbourhood which is green and leafy and a stone’s throw from the historic centre, a real jewel. We have wonderful views from both our balconies and a communal rooftop terrace should we decide to have a party. Anyhow to cut a long story short, we managed to get relatively settled by the time my nephew arrived and we were able to entertain and accomodate our guests comfortably. It was a stressful and tiring week but worth the effort as we are now enjoying the fruits of our labour. We can sit on either of our balconies in the early morning drinking coffee and watching the swallows dipping and whirling, with a backdrop of the Vatican city on one balcony and a Russian Orthodox church on the other.
There are beautiful terraces and rooftop gardens in Rome should you take your eyes away from the sights and look up. I had the good fortune to visit one of these yesterday, thanks to our choir. The choir is associated with the church in Flaminio, an elegant area of Rome close to the Tiber and the Borghese gardens. Since the church is celebrating its centenary, parishioners have organized various events to mark the occasion and one was a choir performance on someone’s terrace. A magnificent apartment with a terrace larger than our old apartment overlooking the Tiber and with a view of the observatory on Monte Mario.
We literally sang for our supper as after we (hopefully) entertained our audience everybody was invited to partake of hors d’ouevres, and alcoholic beverages. I was thrilled to have the privilege of a glimpse into how the rich live in Rome.
Just to tell you why we like this neighbourhood, its like a little village. People get to know you and there is a ‘neighbourly’ atmosphere. Last Friday, on our way back from dinner at a restaurant, Fidz pulled of a branch of a sycamore tree to show me the fruit which looks a bit like a chestnut. I was carrying this in my hand when we decided to stop in our local bar for a drink. An old man who is a regular at the bar leaned over and upbraided Fidz for giving me this instead of flowers. Next thing he jumped up from his table, walked down the street and returned with a little bunch of jasmine flowers for me. Now isn’t that sweet? Incidentally, the sycamore fruits have the same vulgar connotation in Italian as chestnuts have in the English language and Fidz’s nterpretation was that it could be construed as offensive and lacking in finesse to present a lady with these fruits!