Today an interview with Barbara Marcotulli, Spotter for our Rome cityblog.
Can you tell us a bit about yourself?
Shopaholic, clubaholic, chocoaholic, lifeaholic…if I may, I would happily get an avatar to keep up with all this “heavy” duties!
Well, if you ever decide to come to Rome and follow my “itineraries” by gathering the locations I recommend, you will also learn a lot about me.
A brief profile…brief? Me? Oh…there’s nothing brief about me. Not my passion for chocolate, travelling, bricolage, shoes, wild life, art&design, a kid’s smile…
But, despite the fact I love doing it (especially in late evenings, in front of a glass of excellent wine…), I believe that Speaking is energy consuming, whilst Making does create it. This is why I love exploring and experiencing…before sharing with you the outcome of those adventures!
Independent traveler with a taste for “quality” and a sensibility for “money”, I am a master at low cost traveling in style. Being a territorial marketing specialist during office time, and an hotel inspector on the spare time, has allowed me to access experience I had never thought of…and, lucky you, “Sharing” is my mantra word nowdays! From smiles to emotions, from info to suggestions, I just cannot keep anything for myself.And when I go through the feedback and comments readers leave, I know I am just right. And I am happy!
Why Rome? What is a must do when you visiting Rome? What not?
Breath it, feel it, live it. Which may be difficult when other 500.000 people are trying to do it, too, at the same time…
I wont’ tell you why it is a must to visit Rome, it may take hours to list. But, besides the usual archaeology, history, art, weather, food, etc. motivations (which are, btw, more than enough to decide to stay for far more than just a weekend…) there’s another factor to be considered when picking Rome as a destination.
The “p” factor.
People. Like them or not, they can make the difference. ‘cause, more than in any other city in the world, they can turn your visit into a real experience.
When scheduling your trip, make room (and time) for sitting at the bar, or at the restaurant a bit longer than usual, to allow the waiter to enquire about your nationality, making jokes, recommend what to see, where to go, what to avoid, or simply offering you an extra drink from the house whilst exchanging some conversation.
Or the bus driver to challenge his/hers poor English to explain you how to get to your final destination in time. Or the fellow pedestrians at a street cross that prevent you from running under a car. Or the anonymous that approach you in the middle of the street when you are just trying to find out on the map where the hell you are…
We, Romans, are ofter described as rather cynical. It’s due to our background: when you have ruled the world for quite sometime, and you can see the Pope every Sunday, it’s easy to get a little colder than one would expect.
But we enjoy passionate hearts, and it takes nothing to let them beat again…
Get the chance to talk to a local, and don’t let the language barrier prevent you. It will be rewarding!
P.S. forget about the map. The best way to live Rome is walk freely and wandering down its narrow streets without paying attention (or not too much) to the given routes, the itineraries, etc. The best will happen if you let it come to you…
What do you know about Rome what no tourist will know?
I know its secrets. Rome is vast, and its beauties are spread all over and around town, rather 95% of the tourist do not raise their eyes from the printed guide (or the iPhone ones) and visit always the same locations. Traveling shouldn’t be all about ticking a box and pass on to another attraction.
Traveling has to do with the senses, and I always try to help tourist to use – and enjoy – their all 5 senses when visiting my hometown. All, of course, to tickle the 6th sense…the one that will make your stay truly unique and will leave you the right memories to take home with you!
What is the most popular neighborhood to live in Rome at this moment?
If I may, I would defenetely move to Pigneto. Once a working class neighborhood, it is now a mix of bohemieme and professionals who love coming back home and still free at the center of the world, where life and excitement is.
Packed with unusual ateliers, art factories, galleries, innovative designers shop and extremely good restaurants and food spots, Pigneto in among the livelies areas in town. An exciting cultural life here is matched with a strong retained “working class” feeling, that make it very appealing.
Can you describe a perfect day in your city?
Well, I would start with the best breakfast ever! Whatever your choice, sweet or salty, Rome will spoil you. From ” cappuccino + cornetto” (yummy, soft sweet pastry) to “pizza ripiena” (plain, delicious pizza filled with Parma ham or, more traditionally, “mortadella), you’ll get the right energy to start your day. Of course, we will have them whilst sitting in the sun on one of the many terraces!
Then a walk through the center, at its best at early mornings, when the buzzling city still has to wake up fully. Wandering around will take us to lunch time, another rewarding experience…I will then recommend to explore one of the minor museums (there are dozens, packed with unknown treasures) before starting a shopping session at Pigneto, or San Lorenzo, where the latest trends are on.
At sunset time, it’s time to get on the bike and reach the Ancient Appia road, to watch among the most romantic sunset in the world. Of course, I will have a bottle of good wine with me, to toast to it and to this magnificent city!
Check out all Barbara’s articles and the other interviews with our Spotters