My oldest daughter Ilsabe knew I wanted her Christmas present, Anthony Doerr’s “Four Seasons in Rome.” She was only 8 when we arrived in Florence in 1974. When we arrived in Florence in 1974, we 9 years old, but at that time we were on a long journey in Italy. sometimes with my students But they are usually the same family. The experience was unforgettable. When Ilsabe’s children were teenagers, she took them to Rome. Live life like we do in a small hotel. within walking distance
My youngest daughter Elke feels the same way. In 2018, she persuaded us to take her family to Italy. which is an experience enhanced by Turkish Air flight. which allows us to visit Istanbul The city she had seen when she was eighteen. And I’m the project director of ACM Yugoslavia, then we go to Rome. Stay in a small hotel near train station and can walk almost all of the city Traveling in Rome is challenging. And I know what challenges I want to avoid. Groping on crowded buses is a national sport.
This book is not for everyone. It’s really a prose poem. Impressions recorded during a year of research and writing at the American Institute, one year complicated by having twin babies, one of which required special medical care after birth. There, they had just arrived from Idaho in a bustling city that little did they know about. They had to communicate in Italian and deal with almost incomprehensible customs. What they understand how all Italians react to their twins: “Che belli, gli gemelli!” All Italians are poets at heart and love children.
Our children, ages 8, 6 and 4, are much easier to deal with. But there are no issues like concentration, excess energy, narrow pavement, and fast drivers. Our son Karl doesn’t like everyone touching his curly blonde hair. So he learned to walk with bobs and looms that avoided most of the hands. Our daughters have no problem as I know — Italians respect the fact that they are women.
Rome is sweltering in the summer — one chapter mostly devoted to the sweltering heat — but I had to find a cheap hotel for our students in the fall. That allows us to travel for free, there is a cold shower like on a hot day. (And no hot water!) No one wants their showers to last longer.
we see everything Because I’ve never liked to take my students anywhere I’ve never been. There is nothing worse than a professor standing there. clearly lost and don’t know what to do next. If nothing else, know where the nearest toilet is. This might be a bit of a problem. especially in a city like Rome. where everything is a museum And all tourists are natural victims of the natives. Imagine 2,000 years of shocking visitors. Not everyone knows the art of pickpockets, prostitutes and gamblers, the waitress’s ability to pour wine and pay the bill is much less. Most visitors don’t even know how to cross the road. But wait patiently for the traffic to stop. No, the crossing is waiting for the group to form. and marched together on the street Don’t look right or left, the car will stop, at least for the Italians.
I love forums, I’ve been here a few times. more than a dozen Or maybe less than 20, but I prefer Palatine Hill. And very surprised how it has evolved over the years. The problem is that almost every tire group after four or five hours. and though the cold water from the drinking fountain washes away the sweat But it also combines appetite with exhaustion. tourists heading into the city Italians go the other way through the Coliseum
Ilsabe was with me in Rome in 1987 when Pope John Paul II celebrated the Christianization of Lithuania. I was invited to hand out the paper—all expenses paid. And when I asked if my daughter could leave Munich to join me? The organizer said “Why not?” Most of the conversations are in German. By requiring her to explain that she understands everything. “How is this possible? You are American!”
When the Pope learns that we are Americans He asked “Why Do We Speak German?” Long story. The short version is a responsible monsignor who likes to speak German. and when there was a large crowd at the door of the auditorium Only we know how to pass to the Swiss Guard to warn him – we used to live in Italy,
William Urban is the Lee L. Morgan Professor of History and International Studies at Monmouth College.