Do you want to know what it is really like to live the expatriate life in Rome? How to cope with a sinking sailboat, an auto accident with the military police, your Italian neighbors entering your apartment in the middle of the night? Do you know the inspiration for Pasta alla Puttanesca (hint: the prostitutes outside my office)? Attend Italian weddings? Would you like to meet the countess with her butt-reductng machine and the count who served as a model for statues of naked horsemen? An assault during a wine club outing? How about country weekends in Umbria where the Etruscans still seem to be lurking about?
It's all here in Coins in the Fountain, the story of a couple who said "NO!" to middle age and made a dash from Oregon to Rome where the author had the glorious experience of living in Italy while working for the United Nations - twice. Part memoir, part travelogue to off-beat sites in Rome and elsewhere, you will be amused and intrigued with the stories of food, friends and adventures. You, too, will want to run away to join the Circus (the Circus Maximus, that is). And, before you depart Rome, you will never forget to throw a coin in the Trevi Fountain to ensure a return to beautiful Rome and enchanting Italy.
Recommendations for reading : Listen to Respighi’s Fountains of Rome and pour a glass (or two) of prosecco in spring or summer.
Listen to Respighi’s Pines of Rome while imbibing Brunello di Montalcino in fall or winter.
When the author and her husband began to stare boring middle age in the face they knew that something needed to happen – and something did. A chance meeting turned into a four-year contract with the United Nations in Rome. They ran away to the Circus (Maximus), dropping into a new lifestyle where boredom was long forgotten. Marcus Aurelius’ Meditations provided Stoic advice as the husband confronted strange vegetables in his struggle to learn to cook while the wife navigated the peculiarities of working in an international environment. In between, they made new friends, met odd characters, ate marvelous food and survived adventures including a collision with the Carabinieri and a near miss in the subway.
When the contract was over they threw coins into the Trevi Fountain hoping for a return. Back in the U.S. they longed for vine-covered restaurant terraces where the lunch-time pasta had just been made by nonna, fields filled with red poppies and the pleasures of history on their doorstep. Fate stepped in again to provide six additional years of a dolce vita. Now there was time to make further explorations of the Italian scene including more luscious food, wedding rituals, music, a mysterious count and his wife with a butt-reducing machine, the delights of travel in the South including sailing, and visits to Etruscan country not so far from Rome.
The coins they threw in the fountain at the end of their Italian intermezzo ensure continued visits to beautiful Rome.
Recommendations for accompaniment to the story: Listen to Respighi’s Fountains of Rome and pour a glass (or two) of prosecco in spring or summer.
Listen to Respighi’s Pines of Rome while imbibing Brunello di Montepulciano in fall or winter.
About Judith Works
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Published September 8, 2011
by Works in Progress Publishing.
Biographies & Memoirs, Travel.