Visit to Rome (1)

I’ve kept a diary since I was a teenager and I like to count things, so I know that this is my fourth trip to Rome and my 12th visit to Italy. It is the 200th time that I have travelled outside the UK. On this occasion, I am away with two members of my Chinese ‘family’: mother Hua and her son Joshua (aged 11).

Although I am half Italian (my mother was from Naples), it never fails to amaze me how an advanced country like Italy can be so chaotic.

On the day of our departure, coincidentally the “Guardian” newspaper had an article about how public services in Rome are falling apart under the new mayor from the populist Five Star Movement Virginia Raggi. Problems include overflowing bins, potholes, and burning buses (10 this year). The taxi driver we arranged to pick us up from the airport was over one hour late because of “traffic”.

Our accommodation here is quite special. It is in an old, five-storey building opposite the opera house and near the main station. The lift is one of those old cage affairs that looks as if it belongs in an Hitchcock movie. We are in a bed and breakfast place with just three rooms. The only time we see a person is at breakfast time and incredibly the breakfast guy is from the Philippines but speaks Mandarin because he used to work in Taiwan.


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