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Long live the city (Federico Gigli)

My name is Federico, I’m 18 years old and live in Rome.

Rome is a city of culture, architecture, sculpture, art, Italian history, and the place where the Pope resides. It is not a simple city but an Italian capital and in my point of view, other European capitals are incomparable to it.

Who lives in the city never gets bored, every day there are chances to do different things: going to parties, pubs, discos, bowling, movie theatre, gym, going for shopping like crazy…. because you can find anything, and you can do anything at any time. You can go by car, train, bus or metro, you can visit and admire the monuments like Piazza di Spagna, Fontana di Trevi, Coliseum or Piazza San Pietro. The streets are always crowded with tourists in every season of the year. Since it is a very busy and chaotic city, with a lot of traffic jams, I use my motorbike to transit passing the cars by kilometric lines, managing to park in those few free parking spots, in fact sometimes you might park in a Limited Traffic Zone, in which you may drive or park just in possession of an Ecopass, and then you can get a really expensive ticket.

Due to the high amount of smog concentration, the government prohibits the use of cars in some times of the year, which leads to an overcrowding of public transportation, which is clearly not enough for everyone in the city. Which is why again I ride on my motorbike trying to compensate, using an anti-smog masker which is not always efficient, unfortunately.

Pollution is a big issue in my city, in my opinion it is actually the only disadvantage of living in a city. Acoustic pollution and olfactive pollution are heavily felt in Rome and it has a big impact on its citizen’s health, even if Rome has public health system and several hospitals, they are always full.

In the matter of friendships, you can make a lot in a city, every day you can make new friends. However, the old ones always remain. The ones from childhood, with whom you used to play soccer in the courtyard, or in the field behind the house (the only place left free where nothing is built on like parking lots or buildings); those with whom you went out on Saturday afternoons to make shopping or to take an ice cream, well, also those with whom you made some crazy things for which was better if our mother didn’t see us or they would get us!

Many believe that a city makes people stressed, but I am not, maybe due to my young age, in which I do not have problems to think about, differently than those of my friends who live in a village (the village to where I go in summer), who get easily bored the whole year long until those from the city come visit them, also to get some fresh, clean air, and to regenerate in every point of view.

Well yeah, boredom… I go happily and willingly to my village also because there is where my ninety years grand grandmother lives. There is not much to do but you can have fun with small things, like for example like playing soccer, or playing with cards, making jokes, enjoying the local events, spending the evenings outside eating and singing, everything goes well for a month but then I miss the city again.

I really enjoy my grand grandmother’s food, I can even recognise the perfumes of the food without seeing them, for so pure and genuine they are. The meat is delicious there, it is bought at local butchers who take their herds to graze in the fields or in the mountains; the chicken and the rabbit meat are very tender; fruits are seasonal, and I say seasonal because else you don’t find anything else. The perfume of these fruits fills up the whole house, which often blends with the smell of jams which my grandmother makes every summer; I can eat fresh eggs every morning, the home-made bread prepared in the wood oven stays longer preserved, and even when it finally becomes hard and old it is never thrown away, rather it is fed to the animals like pigs or chickens. But yeah, you don’t eat canned food there!

Beyond the culinary aspect, the other advantage is that the air is clean, not polluted, but in any way, for me, living in a village is a bit too tight. It’s ok for a month, but not to live as a fixed place. Let’s also not talk about the aggressive summer storms which make the electricity go away and you have no clue when it will return, so you turn on the candles and wait until electricity comes back; maybe you were watching a nice soccer match game from your favourite team and now you cannot watch it anymore… no no, the life of a village is not for me!

Now I think like that, when I will be older I don’t know if I will still want to live in a city or not. There might be a reason for older people to move to villages if they have the opportunity to do so? Maybe because then they wish a calmer lifestyle and a purer air? I don’t know. And I don’t know if in a future I would like to keep farm animals and walk in the forests perhaps finding a nice mushroom to cook. Or preparing nice meals to my grandchildren the same delicacies that my mother passed on to me… I really don’t know. For now I love my city, my Rome, with all its pros and cons.

Long live the city!

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