One credit due to the Romans is that they are very practical people. How do I know that? Read on…
Rome, as I had mentioned in my last post, Rome: The City of History and Love, is neck-deep in the past. So whether you crane your neck upwards to catch monumental ruins from another era or you turn your head down to observe the cobbled streetways that Julius Caesar himself may have walked upon, you find yourself in a flux between the past and the present.
The part of the city that lies within the Aurelian walls, which were built all the way back when Roman emperors strolled along the river Tiber, has aeons of history layered over each other. Narrow lanes, paved pathways and constricted spaces define the town centre. The very practical Romans, I noticed in the week I lived in this charming city, have devised ways and means to make the most of the space available.
For instance, they choose to drive the tiniest cars imaginable. Sedans and SUVs are a very scarce breed. One seaters, two-seaters and compact four-seaters are the prudent preference. Many of these specimens looks quaint and perfectly suited to the historic environs they drive in. Some cuter one, I could have sworn, had been picked right off the sets of an animated movie or from a kid’s playzone and been puffed up just enough to barely fit humans.
Some yet more judicious persons have gone a step further and awarded themselves greater freedom in the form of two-wheelers. Bright red Vespas dot the town, while the more hot blooded males opt for whirring, muscular bikes. All in all, driving, parking and turning around on slender roads pose nary a problem to these wise Romans.
A similar matter-of-fact approach to life was visible in the pets of the city. Every third denizen of the city can be seen walking around with a puny pooch tucked away in their arms. No big huskies or sizable hounds for these people. Sniffing around a corner, susceptible targets to the boots of a wandering tourist, these small dogs too seemed happier being carried around cozily in laps and prams. You can spot their eager eyes or erect ears popping out from the most unexpected of places!
In the midst of the colossal remains of gladiatorial ampitheatres and some of the world’s largest, most impressive churches, one might draw the impression that Italians like their things big! But, the smaller, the better is the clear mantra for Romans, when it comes to their vehicles and pets.
A sound approach indeed, but one that was conspicuous to my curious eyes for its apparent incongruence!
Piyushi Dhir is the author of 'In Search of Love', 'I'm Yours, The Next Time', 'Silent Promises' and 'Enmeshed Evermore'. She is a contributor in 'Nineteen Tales of COVID-19', a collection of short stories. A voracious reader, a keen traveler, a businesswoman and a mom, Piyushi currently resides in Canada. A nomad at heart, she loves to discover new places and capture the hues of life with her pen.