Monday, May 3, 2010

In This Season: Burgundy and Orange?

A good deal of Romans are currently suffering from an extra virulent fever, which is causing many of them to sleep, work and socialize in burgundy and orange lycra. The fever has risen to 71 but thankfully not on a thermometer. Instead, it’s registering on a league table, as Roma Football Team "La Magica", still have a fighting chance of winning “lo scudetto”, Italy’s premier league championship but only if nobody tempts fate by saying anything about it out loud. 

As the season comes to an end, doubtful that their team’s sporting prowess alone will clinch them the title, fans of  La Magica won’ t be found surmising, or calculating their teams odds for all to hear. Such behaviour ‘porta sfiga’, brings bad luck and will certainly jeopardize their hopes of glory.  When pushed for a reaction, one ardent fan will only say she fears Inter (who currently stand between La Magica and this holiest of prizes) will rob them of second place. As a supporter of the rival Roman team Lazio,  I'm always eager to vocalise, whenever possible, that victory is still mathematically within their grasp.

So support for La Magica remains strong but silent, choosing instead wordless, visual symbols of devotion, encouragement and solidarity. Even a tourist would have to be seriously colour blind not to notice the city’s burgundy and orange hues right now.  Take-away pizzas arrive with a pile of alternating burgundy and orange paper napkins, taxi drivers have little burgundy and orange Padre Pio collages stuck to their dashboards. Bus drivers, on their way back to the depot at the end of a shift, silently display their destination as “Forza Roma” on match nights. As a new Roman, I don’t even react any more when I cycle across town to my favourite bar or gelateria, only to find the staff locking up the shutters four hours before closing because Roma are playing.  A few years back, I would have stomped around protesting and mumbling “just watch Match of the Day” under my breath. Now I don’t even expect an apology or excuse. Last Sunday all psyched up for some malaga and rice pudding ice cream, as more shutters came crashing down in front of me, in time for kick off, I just smiled, mouthed "Forza Lazio" and cycled off in search of an aperitivo instead.

The first of my aperitivo recommendations is in the ancient district of Monti, which to most Non-Romans is a secret in itself.  The address and name of the place is via URBANA 47. TripAdvisor reviews in Italian, say the restaurant serves overpriced, non-traditional Roman cuisine. I’m recommending it for it’s great aperitivo. The price is top-end but good value. Instead of the usual cold pizzette and mini sandwich triangles, the food, which is organic, comprises of hot pastas, homemade quiche, pates and bean salads served with excellent quality local wines or cocktails. Help yourself to seconds if you are skipping dinner. The unanimous opinion is that the interior is full of character, some collectable furniture is for sale, and the location is charming in a tiny ivy-clad residential street,  once an ancient Roman high street, leading towards the Roman Forum. As I sat in Urbana 47, all my thoughts of ice cream disintegrated as Roma’s 24-week unbeaten record began to unravel and the waitress brought over a perfectly blended Aperol Spritz, a popular orange-coloured cocktail which thankfully isn’t served in a burgundy glass, not even when La Magica are playing.
Urbana 47: Metro Cavour. Open every day. Aperitivo 18.00-19.30. Fine for daft vegetarians. 

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TO POSTS VIA FEED. Ice cream's on me in Rome!


  1. My son is an ardent Inter fan. He'd probably be trammeled by Romans if he let this get out in the city.

  2. Last night I watched the Lazio Inter match in a pub where the Lazio supporters were supporting Inter! It seems they would rather risk relegation than watch Roma win the scudetto! The waitress brought over our drinks wearing burgundy and orange laces in her boots.

  3. I came across your blog by chance, and I really like it!!
    I totally agree with what you say about Rome...:D
    I'm from Edinburgh and I live just south of Rome, in Frosinone.
    Ciao e a presto!!