Annalaura took us to one of here favorite coffee places in the heart of Rome, on a beautiful summer day. This is where we also met her friend Fabio Fontanella, who makes most of the very nice pictures accompanying her articles.
Can you tell us a bit about who you are, and what you do?
I was born and raised in Rome. In my twenties, I left Italy to study in the United States, where I ended up spending close to eight years. I returned to Italy in 2001 and have been here ever since. I have chosen to live in a section of Rome called Garbatella and have made it my home.
I studied sociology and work as a freelancer in market research, doing what is known as ‘qualitative’ market research. Basically, I moderate focus groups, conduct in-depth interviews and ethnographic observations and then write reports on key findings for different clients. I love this field because I get to speak to different types of people all the time and it is a continuous learning process.
What’s life like being a Spotter?
Life as a spotter is quite fun and interesting. My partner and I have fun together, writing and taking pictures of the different places we go to. So, it’s an activity we share.
Additionally, I continuously receive feedback from people who enjoy reading my posts. Some people tell me that they were not aware of some of the places I spotted in their neighborhood and thank me for letting them know. Others also give me suggestions on spots they like and so, it has now become a process of discovery of new places within my neighborhood and surrounding areas.
What is a must when visiting Rome?
This is a question they could be asking on the Who Wants to Be a Millionaire Show! There are so many must-do’s that people from all over the world have decided to move to Rome and spend their entire lives here. This has been going on for centuries. If you take a stroll in the Protestant Cemetery in Piramide, you will see that it is full of tombs of olden-days ‘expats’ who had moved to Rome and died here. So, although my suggestion could be impractical for most people, I guess the next best thing to moving here would be to visit the city as much as possible. Each time you will discover new places, new streets, new corners. Each stone in Rome has a history.
What is the most popular neighborhood to live in Rome at this moment?
Rome is a large city and there are different neighborhoods that are popular with different types of people. If you are a student, chances are that you might really like living in S. Lorenzo, close to the main university. If you like going out at night you might like Testaccio or Trastevere, which are both full of pubs, restaurants, discos and piazzas to hang out in late at night. If you are a smart tourist you might like the Aventine Hill or the Monti area. You only have to open your window to be able to take a glimpse of the Colosseum or the Roman Forum.
Needless to say, I also think that Garbatella is a neat area to live in. I really like living here because it is close by the city center and yet it has the look and feel of a small town or village. Garbatella’s architecture is indeed quite distinctive, with tiny cottages in lush garden complexes. The atmosphere is relaxed and the people are friendly and open, like in a small town.
Which time of the year you like most in your city and why?
Like most cities, Rome is absolutely gorgeous in Spring. The climate is mild and you can walk around all day without getting a heat stroke! However, I also personally love summertime in Rome. While it is true that it gets pretty hot and muggy during the day, I simply adore Roman evenings, which, if you are lucky enough, can be perked up with the famous “ponentino”, a light breeze coming from the sea.
Summertime in Rome is also great because the city offers the Estate Romana Festival. This is a varied program featuring rock, jazz, classical music, theater, film, and children’s activities to entertain Romans and tourists alike on warm summer evenings. Events take place in piazzas, parks, courtyards and museums throughout the city. I especially like watching movies on the open-air film screens put up in Piazza Vittorio, Garbatella, Monteverde and IsolaTiberina. Combining this activity while eating icecream is tops!
Read all of Annalaura’s articles here.
Check out the other interviews with our Spotters.