August 9, 2009
For our first (late) night out on the town, we were told that many young Romans pass the cool nights drinking beer and wine, and smoking cigarettes on the steps of many fountains in the piazzas of Italy. We headed to the nearby neighborhood of Trastevere to meet up with Michael Lee’s local friends, Giulia and Alexandra (pronounced Alessandra, she very emphatically corrected us) and share a couple of drinks. However, this was not the case.
According to Giulia, a new law has been passed in Rome that no longer allows public drinking in the streets. The once free feeling of being able to “do what ever you wanted,” she said, is gone. This new law, we found, seems to have come at a unfortunate time in our travels, but it was interesting to me that our local friends felt like there was “nothing to really do in Rome [at night and on a budget].” These words were strangely familiar, coming from a small southwest town of sixty thousand people, but didn’t seem to fit my impression of one of the world’s greatest cities. Fortunately, a late-night walk, and the sight of the Colosseum, illuminated against a dark sky, has not worn off for me, as it may have for many of Italy’s youth.