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My Home Sweet Rome

Sari joined the Slow Travel Talk forums as on January 31, 2008 bringing a unique perspective to our travel talk as someone who lives in Rome. Sari has advertised her Rome apartment with us since 2005. We look forward to her sharing her perspectives on life in Italy throug hthis column.


Sari Gilbert

Sari Gilbert

I am one of those Americans, and a New Yorker to boot, who fell in love with Italy at a tender age and had so much passion, and drive, that I made sure I got there pretty darn soon, first as an undergraduate at Syracuse University's semester abroad program in Florence, then as a grad student in Bologna and Rome, and finally as a working adult. At this juncture, I have been living in Italy for a very long time, actually for more than half my life (although I have gotten to an age when I would rather stop counting). Along the way, although I have an M.A. and a Ph.D in International Relations (my thesis was on Italy's decision in 1949 to join the NATO alliance), I became a reporter, first as a free-lance for major U.S. publications including the Washington Post and Newsweek and later for a major Italian daily. This means that over the years I have covered just about every kind of story - economic, political and cultural - there is to cover in Italy, except for soccer games and fashion shows. I have covered government crises, elections, health scandals, Mafia trials, terrorism, papal assassination attempts, Vatican conclaves, bank mergers, political corruption, and business. In other words, I know a lot about Italy.

To be frank, over the years some of my initial enthusiasm about Italy has paled. Although most visitors are not aware of it, life here can be extremely frustrating, in part because of the complicated bureaucracy that is very difficult to navigate and in part because of a general lack of responsiveness on the part of public offices and public officials. Repeated scandals and a very difficult economic and political situation are currently coloring everyday life here in very somber grey tones. And the cost of living is going up, up and up.

Of course, there are many things I still adore: the country's incredible beauty, its historical, archeological and artistic monuments, its food, and the warmth and kindness of many of its people. So I am still here. I live in a wonderful neighborhood of Rome - Trastevere – and although I am now again single, I am fortunate enough to have carved out a series of indelible friendships and to have a lovely apartment with a terrace that I share with two cats, a long-haired calico named Saffron and a small, dark-gray beauty named Bigia (the color of a grey marble) who unfortunately is physically-challenged. I also have a gorgeous blonde mare named Dorata that I keep in a stables in the lake town of Bolsena, where I have a charming weekend/holiday apartment.

In December, 2007 I left the full-time job I had at the prestigious economic-financial daily, Il Sole 24 Ore where for many years I wrote about politics, economic and social developments. I am co-author with my long-time friend, Michael Brouse, of the National Geographic Traveler Guide to Rome and am writing an e- book, “Home Sweet Rome” about life in Rome that will be published sometime in the first part of this year. I do part time work as an editor, do occasional freelance pieces, write a newsblog about Italy, called Stranitalia (www.stranitalia.com) and will soon be launching a new blog called “MyHomeSweetRome”. Along with horseback riding, and shmoozing with my Trastevere neighbors, my favorite hobbies are reading, listening to music, movies, travel in other parts of Europe, particularly France and Turkey, exercise, cooking and eating out.

My home Sweet Rome is a series of articles on Slow Travel.

Sari Gilbert, a journalist and author, lives in Rome and operates Live Rome Like a Roman vacation rental apartment and writes the Stranitalia blog.

© Sari Gilbert, 2013

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