Rome | 2019


City  Rome
Age  49
Profession — Teaches Italian Language and Intercultural Communication at university level
Love life  Lives with her companion of 13 years and their 6 year-old son
Years in Rome All her life, although born in Venice 
Location  Villa Ada Park


T H E  R O M E  S T O R I E S






  • What makes you happy?
    “Nature. Being alone in a park or forest or at the seaside and being present. I like to observe and connect to what I see and feel. It’s really fulfilling for me.”
  • What is your best personality trait?
    “I try to align with others’ needs, to let them be and to try to support them without imposing my point of view. I would like people to understand that I might have different needs than they assume, because I may well be different than what they expect or want me to be.”
  • And what makes you different?
    “Probably that I take care of myself without trying to be the main character in everyone’s life. I play my part in the world, and I let others be. Another thing that sets me apart is that I’m very curious and love a lot of different things. I did classical studies, but also know a lot about literature, history and natural sciences. What probably sets me aside as a woman is that I try not to judge others based on how they dress or on a limited set of their behaviours I may observe. I try to go beyond stereotypes and recognize that although others may look ‘weird’ to me their choices may depend on different cultural backgrounds.”
  • What is your biggest struggle?
    “I struggle to accept the abuse that exists in the world. The abuse of those who cannot defend themselves. I may be a bit naïve, but I feel this very deeply, and I try to live in a way that honours that feeling. If I see something unjust, I can’t stay silent or it will keep me up at night. At the very least I try to talk to people and create a dialogue. I am an animal rights activist, but if I see someone abusing an animal, I don’t just condemn the person or see them as an enemy or monster. I try to see their point of view even if their action has offended me. I have to imagine that a 14-year old kid would never kick and beat a dog to death, unless he felt unloved himself. I have to see it that way, otherwise I would feel this horror looming over me constantly. It’s my dream to enjoy life more, and keep the suffering of animals and people at a distance, so that I’m less involved and affected by it.”

  • What is your biggest disappointment? “Probably that I’ve never been able to move abroad. Whenever I felt I was ready to take the ‘big step’, something happened that stopped me. My boyfriend didn’t want to come with me or I waited to see if a job offer came through or a family member was going through a difficult time. Now I see that there was probably something deeper stopping me. Perhaps a fear of leaving my safety net behind. I did live in London for a while in the eighties, and it shaped my view of the world. London showed me what my ideal world could be like. People from all over the world living together in the same place while keeping their cultural identities.”
  • What is the best thing that ever happened to you? “To have the parents I have. They were still young when I was born and are open and curious people who shared with me their love for travel, nature, history and literature. My son is the other great thing to happen to me. For 42 years I lived only for myself, and now I love to have him with me. I’m an eighties’ child, a time when people saw little value in building a family. First we had to become our own person, and only then have children. I really regret not having been able to have two children, I didn’t want my son to be an only child. But becoming a mother at the age of 42 has been so overwhelming that it took me a while to recover. Now, I feel like I’m too old to have another child.”
  • What is your greatest sadness?
    “Seeing that the people around me often act without thinking of the consequences. Everything we do affects everything around us. It is a delicate, interconnected system that hosts us. We tend to focus on how we personally are affected by the circumstances of the world rather than how we affect the circumstances of the world around us.”
  • What is the best advice that anyone ever gave you? “Some advice that made an impression on me came from one of my best friends, although it can perhaps appear quite common-sense. He recommended that I take care of practical things on my to-do list before I do other things so that I can relax and enjoy life more. Looking back on it, this was probably advice that my mother tried to give me as a child when she told me to finish my homework before I went to play. But as with everything in life, advice needs to come at the right moment from the right person. I still don’t always manage to put this advice into practice, but I now recognize its value.”
  • What advice would you give other women? “Trust your own way and don’t be afraid to be different. You might have a way of getting where you want that is not recognized by the people you care about. But you have every right to see where your instincts lead you. Don’t be afraid of getting judged for being different.”
  • What is your biggest fear? “I’m terrified of the moment I’ll die, because I love life! My mom had me when she was 22, so she has been able to witness every stage of my adult life. Having had my son later in life, I worry that I won’t be able to do the same with my son, and that’s very sad for me. But I’ve always been very scared of death. It’s hard to accept. I’m so attached to life.”
  • What does Rome mean to you? “Rome is a difficult place in which to live. On the other hand, I have found my own way of coping with it. I try to look beyond the modern city, always attempting to ‘read’ the cities within the city, deciphering its millennial history. While I perceive what a unique place Rome is, I’d still prefer to live somewhere else. I do though appreciate the peculiar irony and sarcasm of the Romans. It took me a while to get this. When I was younger, I only perceived these acts as aggressive. A relative or family friend was perhaps just teasing me, but as a child you don’t have the perception of what is meant in good faith. When they draw the attention to you without you requesting it, you feel put on the spot, especially when you don’t come from that city. Being born in Venice, I always had the perception of coming from another city and not quite belonging. Now, looking back, I can find the humour in these situations.”

Photos by Piero Cremonese


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