The best new writing, photography, art, and reportage from and about Rome—in the series that’s “like a literary vacation” (Publishers Weekly).
If you believe recent chatter about Rome—in the media and by its residents—the city is on the verge of collapse. Each year, it slips further down the ranking of the world’s most livable cities. To the problems faced by all large capitals—hit-and-run tourism, traffic, the divide between elegant, Airbnb-dominated city centers and run-down suburbs—in recent years Rome seems to have added a list of calamities of its own: a string of failing administrations, widespread corruption, the resurgence of fascist movements, rampant crime. A seemingly hopeless situation, perfectly symbolized by the fact that Rome currently leads the world in the number of self-combusting public buses.
One might expect mass migration in the face of problems like these—yet the vast majority of Romans don’t think for a second of “betraying” their hometown, and the many newcomers who’ve populated it in recent decades resemble the natives in the profound love that binds them to the city.
The largest metropolis in Europe is a place of contradictions and opposites. We think of it as ancient, but it is profoundly modern—it was founded almost three millennia ago, but 92 per cent of its buildings have been built after 1945. To understand Rome and fix its problems, we should start considering it a normal city, not unlike Chicago or Manchester . . . just incomparably more beautiful. This volume is filled with portraits of Rome and thoughts not just on its famous past but its present and future, including:
Rome doesn’t judge you by Nicola Lagioia · The soul of the city by Matteo Nucci · 39 memos for a book about Rome by Francesco Piccolo · Plus: a guide to the sounds of Rome by Letizia Muratori; the feigned unrest and real malaise of the suburbs; the influence of the Vatican; the excessive power of real estate speculators and the rule of gangs; disillusioned trappers; football fans of every age, and much more . . .
“A pleasure to read.” —La Repubblica