Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Do you hear what I hear?

Within hearing distance
After a week here in Rome I have
to say that probably the most Italian
experience thus far has not been the
sights but rather the sounds. Located
on the Via dei Greci - our apartment
sits a few blocks away from the busy
Spanish Steps. While in the middle
of it all, our temporary "home" is
actually quite peaceful. That said,
the sounds of this city waft through
our windows. And resonate in a way
I can't quite describe but will attempt
to do so only for you dear readers...
On a different scale
The conservatory of Santa Cecilia
sits across from our bedroom. All
day we are subtly serenaded by
students as they hone their craft.
Beyond simple scales, arias often
fill the air. A lover of Puccini, one
can't help but feel heavenly as it
floats through the house. It's so
obvious the planets are aligned as
someone has been fine tuning their
rendition Rachmaninoff's concerto
number due - my favorite! Don't
stop the music - please! BRAVO!
Hopes and fears
On the opposite end of the musical spectrum
is one of our neighbor's favorite CDs. Each
morning and night the courtyard is suddenly
filled with Amy Grant's peppy rendition of
"Oh Little Town Of Bethlehem." Given it's
early October it seems a tad soon to laud a
Buon Natale. Either whoever is listening to
it is consumed with Christmas or they don't
actually understand what Amy is bellowing.
Either way given this is a holy city, I wholly
support their right to jingle their bells. My
one wish is that they would turn down their
decibels as they're certainly ringing my bell!
My ding-a-ling
Speaking of bells, across the courtyard
sits Saint Athanasius. Established by
Pope Gregory XIII (sorry, no relation)
in 1583 as a congregation of Greeks
(Greci) it fronts one of Rome's posher
shopping streets - Via del Babuino.
Every hour and quarter hour it's bells
chime loudly to remind this slightly
jet lagged soul what time it actually
is. Across this city of churches many
others chime in and the combination
is truly one of the most romantic of
Roman rhapsodies. BELLISIMO!
Lost in the translation
Love is a many splendored thing but as
time passes, the bloom usually falls off
the rose. This must be the case with our
neighbor and her maid. Every morning
they argue out on her balcony directly
across from our open kitchen door. Less
than twenty feet away, they babble on
like an old married couple. Given my
Italian is minimal at best - all I hear is
"basta" which never seems to stop that
merry maid from doing whatever she
wants to get done. While we both find
it charming, I doubt her mistress agrees.
If I had a hammer
There is no denying that this city is
ancient. Hence it's constant state of
decay and restoration. Recently we
awoke to the sound of banging. On
a roof across the way, two Italian
stallions straddled it's peak as they
slowly removed the terra-cotta tiles.
Soon they revealed and patched the
problem area. Not only was it quite
exciting to watch them at work, the
climax was when they took off their
shirts in the midday sun. No wonder
the Pope has a gay problem in Roma.
The big bang
After a sight like that, one can't help but
think of fireworks. The other evening
somebody somewhere was celebrating.
At about midnight the sky exploded with
starry delights. Sadly Frank was asleep
and for whatever reason did not awaken
to the pops and booms above. All I could
do was enjoy my own private show from
our living room balcony. While normally
not a fan of anything explosive, I found
this spectacle quite appropriate. Obviously
they were celebrating our Roman holiday.
Grazie per l'illuminazione nostro fuoco!
On a roll
Just when you think you're rolling along,
something ruins the mood. The loudest
sounds we hear are travelers dragging
their suitcases across the cobblestones
below. Unaware of the impact, we did
the same upon arrival. Now much wiser,
I would love to exit quietly. However
neither of us are willing to carry our
bags to the Via or Corso. Hence we
may hit a crescendo at the end of our
time here in the Eternal City. We have
three more weeks so until then they'll
have to wait to hear this fat lady sing!