Born in Rome and having lived there most of my life, when I moved to the UK it was really interesting to get to know what people from other countries thought about my city. Lots of things they said were true, but some of them were not: here are 5 untrue stereotypes about Rome!
1. People in Rome only eat pizza and pasta.
Let’s kick off with the most common one: the food. Literally everyone that approached me after knowing I was Italian, talked gloriously about Italian food, which is indeed a very important and beautiful aspect of our culture. However, it’s a common assumption that in Rome (and in Italy in general) people only eat two dishes: pizza and pasta. First of all, I need to specify that there are hundreds of different kinds of pizzas and pasta dishes – not a single plate of pasta or a pizza is cooked in the exact same way in every part of Italy. Roman pizza, for example is thinner than the pizza you can find in Naples. In Milan, one of the most typical dishes is called orecchia di elefante (elephant’s ear): it’s a big breaded cutlet (resembling an elephant’s ear) served with different toppings. In Venice, the most famous dish is calf’s liver and onions. Italian cuisine is much more varied than you may think, and I strongly encourage people visiting Rome for the first time to try all the different delicacies that the city has to offer!
2. There’s only ancient history.
Another one of the most common untrue stereotypes about Rome is that the city, being so rich in ancient history, has nothing else to offer. People think that if you’re not a fan of Roman history (how can you not be one, anyway?) then Rome is not really worth a visit. No other assumption could be more wrong! Every month there are plenty of different modern art exhibitions, shows and concerts. There are breathtaking terraces overlooking the river and beautiful secret gardens. Even a stroll down via del Corso, a picture taken in front of the Spanish steps, or food tasting in the city centre are good excuses to visit Rome – and I can guarantee that once you visited it you’ll desperately want to go back!
3. Rome is not a multicultural city.
This one is somehow connected to the previous point about Rome not being a varied city: I’ve heard people saying that in Rome no one can speak English and that only Italians live there. This is probably the most absurd stereotype. because Rome has been a multicultural city since its birth in 753 BC and it has always welcomed different kinds of people from all over the Mediterranean Sea.
4. The weather is always nice.
Unfortunately, this is another untrue stereotype. In Rome the weather might be nicer than the weather in the UK, but in winter it can get cold and in extreme cases it can snow, leaving the city completely paralysed. In summer, it’s mostly very hot and humid. This is one of the biggest untrue stereotypes about Rome!
5. There’s no nightlife.
People that believe this stereotype have probably never been to Trastevere on a Saturday night. Trastevere is the biggest rione (which means district) in the city centre and the busiest during the weekend. The small streets are crowded with young people drinking wine or strolling around the district. There are a lot of famous restaurants serving typical Roman food and bars that stay open till late, but the real show is the city itself, with its lights reflecting into the water of the river Tiber.
Have you ever heard any of these 5 untrue stereotypes about Rome? What did you think about them? Let us know in the comments below!
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Italian girl, currently a Master's student at the University of Warwick. In love with food, art and cats.