There are quite a few things that have surprised me here in Rome. Of course I come from a bias of NY Italians and the Sopranos, but I think the stereotypes throw a wide net.
Here are some of my observations:
I see more Romans drinking white wine, not red, even in the cold of winter. I wonder if this is partly because there is so much bad red wine here. I cannot tell you how many bottles I have had that have sat in the heat too long and turned. Most wine stores are not air-conditioned, and with a summer of 35+ temperatures (95+) going into a store in the fall for a nice bottle is a bit like playing the lottery. I never win.
There is not a lot of garlic used.
Red pepper flakes are put on everything.
Vegetables are merely a vehicle to get olive oil into your mouth. Everyone of them tastes exactly the same as you spoon them into your mouth, oil dripping down your chin. Of course the ones smothered in pepper flakes also leave a nice burn.
The bread–and I am going to offend some with this one–is not very good.
The pizza–and this one will really hurt–is better in NY. (The pasta however is amazing.)
Coffee is simply to get the caffeine in. The idea of lingering over a coffee enjoying the “roast” as Americans like to do is funny to some of my Roman friends.
Romans do not open their windows at night. Not only are they shut tight, but shutters are locked and metal grates are pulled down so nighttime feels like lock-down in a prison. As an American I love my fresh air, so insisted we not follow this cultural trend. We were robbed.
It is not uncommon to see a pregnant women smoking.
More to come…..