Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Mamma Mia stole the Bikers Thunder

I’ve yet to be convinced the uber-stylish residents of Rome really want to see herds of cyclists taking over their streets any time soon. I’d be the first to concede that I can resemble a giant 8 year-old, pedalling through the rain in my flowery Cath Kidson cag in a bag. Romans on scooters on the other hand, generally look effortlessly chic gliding around on what amounts to motorized display stands in some cases.  Those who flit around by car, with ubiquitous off-centre blue light above, relish the opportunity to boost Roma's negligible green bella figura  in Bruxelles by pretending to promote cycling around the historic centre.  I’ve always felt more than a little suspicious about their sincerity, never more than on Sunday last, when the voice of "Annual Roma Bike Day" was drowned out by the deafening horn of Festa della Mamma (Mother's Day).  Fortuitous schedule clash? I think not.

The common push bike, albeit an eco-friendly superstar,  couldn't hope to compete with such a mighty adversary as the Roman mother, especially as Roman men even by national standards are considered to be “Mammoni da Guinness” (record-breaking big mummies).  The questionable English press once reported a growing trend: Roman men were choosing to live at home with Mamma well into their late-thirties to save money for beauty-enhancing plastic surgery, namely the addition of an essential dimple in their chins (and still I came to live here...)  This smacks of shameless stereotyping although the first part is indeed true. In a city where jobs are often won in competitions, inherited from dead relatives or commonly offer no more than pocket money to adults with PHDs, where would they be without their Mammas? Even Julius Caesar had to call on his for backup when he found himself on the wrong side of a Roman dictator.  Families are as economically important as spiritually here and Mamma or more effectively "Nonna" (grandmother) are the big guns behind all domestic operations.

So if you are planning an awareness day in the eternal city, the secret is to check your calendar and don't go head on with Mamma or heaven forbid Nonna.  There's a proverb which says, " A man loves his sweetheart the most, his wife the best and his mother the longest."  Never could this be more true than in Rome, every day of the year.
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TO POSTS VIA FEED. Ice cream's on me in Rome!


  1. And if those aren't good reasons to steer clear of Italian men (no matter how divinely good some of them look - even sans fake dimple) I don't know what is!! Beware the suocera italiana!

  2. The secret to Italian men is to marry one that lives in YOUR country! I married mine here in Texas and it has worked out very well.