Blog/ a bit of buzz about Rome and Italy.

Il Rientro

Known in and around Paris as La Rentrée, when in Rome, the end of summer return is called Il Rientro, and is neither chic with closed-toe shoes, new handbags and patterned scarves, nor attractive with Fall colors and joie de vivre. I’d say the rientro connotes more of a joie di leave, as September is remarkably similar to sweaty August, and the return to work and life includes not just the non-encouraging 25˚Celsius, tour buses and tourists but also tough competition for concrete footing, with streets overflowing with students, businessmen, politico-bodyguards, daredevil motorini, policemen, excavations, and singularly-hued women head-to-headbag-to-toe in this season’s must-have color: violet, Fall 2008. Everyone is back in Rome.

I shouldn’t sell it short. The rientro does guarantee gallery openings, new exhibitions, soccer games and, again, never enough of the season’s Must Have color. With a quick dip back into city life, Rome is also offering the very next phase of affordable living and tourism:

Automatic Free Shop
Yep, an ersatz and Italianized 7/11 filled with bibite fresche, where one can buy a near frothy Budweiser for 2 euro at 4 am. The soft drinks are far more chilled than anywhere else in Rome, and bottled water is cheap, with no bias (and inflated price) towards foreign speakers.

I have been now told that my penchant for kitsch goes far beyond gusto cattivo. However, I ask you, dear reader, to think about the value of condom vending machines found filled, late night on not-so-centro streets, before you judge the Automatic Free Shop so vainly. Useful, necessary, and at times, a life saver for those with small change.

Note: I’ve found and frenquented two Free Shops: Corso Rinasciamento and Via Cavour. [According to Il Velino, there is a third by the Colosseo that I have yet to discover.]

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