Chapter Seven: Popular American Movies Made in Rome

Roman-films


movies-made-in-rome
Roman Holiday staring Audrey Hepburn and Gregory Peck made in Rome in 1953 from imdb.com

Here are several popular American movies made in Rome from around the time of our Italian residence.

Roman Holiday with Audrey Hepburn, Gregory Peck, and Eddie Albert is the first of one of these popular American movies made in Rome. Because its screen play writer Dalton Trumbo is on the Hollywood blacklist at that time, a pseudonym exists for the writer.

Whenever I see one of these films, I feel like I go back to my days living in Rome. In fact, it is great fun to call out the names of the famous buildings, monuments, and sights as they show up.

In fact, the very humorous and popular hand disappearing scene from the famous Turkish Netflix Series is an exact duplicate of that scene in Roman Holiday. Black Money Love.

Three Coins in a Fountain

Another very popular film slightly later than the 1960’s has the same famous Roman sights and scenes. This film is equally as famous as Roman Holiday. With a star studded cast and glorious pictures of Rome, it immortalizes the Trevi fountain where coins are thrown to make wishes come true.
three coins in a fountain

Gidget Goes to Rome

This film has all the famous sights of these other films in this chapter. But it targets a younger more innocent teen audience.

popular-American-films-made-in-Rome Gidget Goes to Rome, a 1963 release.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Rome Adventure This film has a steamy sexual theme for that time. The stars include three very popular stars from that time. They are Troy Donahue, Suzzanne Pleshette, and Angie Dickenson.
Rome-adventure
Rome Adventure from 1962 with several hot stars and topics.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Roman Spring of Mrs. Stone. Actually this is a British film. It also has a dark side that none of the other films do. But anything with scenes of Rome is always a welcome treat.
Mrs. Stone
The British film, The Roman Spring of Mrs. Stone released in 1961.

Roman-films

Continue Reading

Conclusion to Living in Rome

roman-banner


The conclusion to our living in Rome comes much too quickly. Actually it is only after one school year. In fact, we are just settling in to living into our new home abroad. I can not see any sensible reason to depart since so many exciting things are happening in Rome.

We are there right before the start of the 1960 Summer Olympics. Apparently one of the reasons for departure is that the beach is too far from our apartment to maintain both a summer coastal residence and our Rome rented apartment.

In my mind, our family home on Long Island could bring rental income to cover the added expense to stay in Italy longer. Considering my mother’s extraordinary feat in arranging almost a year in Italy, none of the reasons we were given for leaving Italy made enough sense to my eleven year old mind.

What is the meaning of the Five Olympic Rings?

firstsportz.com
Olympic flag from Firstsportz.com

Olympic Excitement Since then and as an adult I have discovered the primary reason for leaving. She (my grandmother) who controls the money, controls the itinerary. But my sadness still overshadows any answer that could come. Unfortunately the budget dictated a return to New York.

But there was some fun but less novelty on the same ocean liner. Otherwise I am not happy to return to the same neighborhood, to the same family house, and the same controlling environment. Otherwise, I feel like I am in a different world. I had to face so much change in my outside world from such a short absence.

conclusion-to-living-in-italy
S.S. Constitution, American Export Lines, by Tichnor Brothers, c. 1950s, from the Digital Commonwealth – 1 commonwealth 8g84mw21v.

Not a Happy Return

In just one year, I had become an outsider, a stranger, a foreigner. In fact these are clear signs of this. I talked funny. In other words, I did not sound like a New Yorker anymore. In addition, I had entered puberty. That in itself caused all kinds of confusion for me. Children who were my childhood friends had lost interest in stoop ball and tree climbing. They were ready to explore sexual interests instead. But I still wanted both worlds.

Besides social pressures, all kinds of educational tests were thrust upon me to determine my placement for second language classes that start in junior high school. All the other students had done this in sixth grade, the same year I lived in Italy. Being out of sync educationally made me feel even more like an outsider.

To Be Blunt, I Am Different

But it is not a comfortable different either. After testing I am tracked to study Spanish rather than French as a second language. I actually feel relief but also face an extra challenge. Because of my previous year learning to speak Italian, in and out of school, Spanish and Italian are now confusing to me.

conclusion to living in Rome
Gemen Wooden Puzzles
Continually, I would interject Italian words into my Spanish studies. This cropped up especially when trying to count numbers.

For example, the number five always came out as ‘cinque’ (Italian) instead of ‘cinco’ (Spanish). After studying Spanish for four years, that confusion did go away. But to this day, I remember both words.

 

In Conclusion In spite of our abrupt conclusion to living in Rome, I am certain of one thing. It is that I must have some of the sense of adventure from my mother’s DNA. This is because of one undeniable fact. Even though living in Italy was short lived, it is definitely to this day one of the best and most unique experiences of my entire life.


roman-banner

Continue Reading

Chapter Four: Daily Life in Rome


daily life in Rome
Simple pasta carbonara from bon appetite.com

Daily Life in Rome is very different from Long Island life in 1959-1960. The differences made daily life in Rome much more fun for me.

For example, we three kids went to a private school that was some distance out into the country. In addition, we all went on on the same bus to the same school campus. On Long Island, we all traveled on different buses going to different schools.

I remember the picturesque ride out into the Roman countryside as much more fun compared to a short suburban bus ride on Long Island, New York. Actually, sometimes the bus would even have to stop to wait patiently while the sheep would cross the road to the other side back onto the grass.

FOOD AND FOOD SHOPPING

There are certain aspects of our lives that clearly stand out. Supermarket are so new that most shopping is still the traditional way, at outdoor stalls. In addition, indoor shops are primarily for butchers and bakeries. Daily shopping is done by our housekeeper/cook Tina. In fact, she keeps an accounting of the daily shopping in a notebook which she uses to reports expenses to my mother.

Shopping at the PX
Contrary to the real Italian life, American Military families shop at the PX (post exchange) where typical American packaged food of the day can be bought. Since we are not a military family, we have the good fortune to shop as Italians do. In other words, we eat fresh local food rather than packaged item that ship to Italy from the States.

refill wine bottles from Pinterest
Refill wine bottles from Pinterest
In fact I have two outstanding memories about food and beverages. One is for the wine bottle refill distribution. Specifically, the empty bottle return to the shop got a refill from a huge barrel. Actually recycling was popular way before its time.

MORE TREATS

Another favorite memory is home made ice cream that Tina, our cook makes for us. The procedure is as follows. Whipped cream is purchased then wrapped in newsprint paper. Once it is home, coffee is added to it. Then it is put in ice cube trays to freeze. Oh how we love it. Actually there is none that can compare with it. Then we also have the added treat of home made apple pie. It is fresh, not packaged like PX pie.

Food in Spring We delight in eating apple slices, cheese, and vegetables all fried in a delicate batter. Our favorite meal in any season is spaghetti a la carbonara. It consisted of spaghetti, some meat, usually bacon, egg, and grated cheese. The only treat to compare to this is our Thursday night trip to the pizzeria on Tina’s day off. I have never eaten American pizza that can compare. Specifically, it is individual plate size, the lightness, and lack of grease of American pizza.

Local Food When you eat at home the local food of a country, everyday is like eating out. That is what living in Roman was like to me. We rarely if ever ate packaged food. In fact, I did not miss American food at all. Instead a daily diet of Italian food was quite okay with me.


Continue Reading

Living in Italy: The Preface

Italy-banner


living-in-italy
Symbol of Italy with its traditional green, white, and red stripes with the outline of Italy in the front.

My family and I spent a year living in Italy when I was eleven years old. Airplane travel was still extremely expensive. Travel by ocean liner was actually more affordable, comfortable, and leisurely. So we opted for a nine day transatlantic voyage.

In fact, it was great fun. While living in Rome, we occupied a nine room apartment. Our education was at the Overseas School of Rome, a converted Roman Villa located outside the central city in the countryside.

This whole experience is probably the most memorable one of my entire seventy five year life. In fact I am writing this story now while I remember it and before I forget.

PART ONE: BEGINNING

Introduction: Living in Italy My family and I spent a year living in Italy when I was eleven years old. Because airplane travel was still extremely expensive, we actually traveled by ocean liner. It was a nine day transatlantic voyage that was great fun. While living in Rome, we occupied a nine room apartment.

Chapter One: Our Atlantic Crossing
Our transatlantic voyage took place three years after Grace Kelly traveled on the SS Constitution for her nuptial voyage to Monaco in 1956. Three years later in 1959 we sailed on the SS Constitution to Naples, Italy.

Chapter Two: My Year in Rome
My family and I spent a year living in Italy when I was eleven years old. Because airplane travel was still extremely expensive, we actually traveled by ocean liner. It was a nine day transatlantic voyage that was great fun. While living in Rome, we occupied a nine room apartment.

PART TWO: LIFE IN ITALY

Chapter Three: Our Apartment in Rome
Our apartment in Rome that we occupied from Sept 1959 to June 1960 was on the second floor of a six story building. It contained nine marble floored rooms, was spacious enough for a foyer, a living room, a sitting room, a dining room, and a kitchen situated from the left end of the apartment to the grand entryway.
Chapter Four: School Days
School days at the (American) Overseas School of Rome still consist first of our bus adventure out of the town center. In our day, that was a trip into and home from the countryside. Although we all in different grades, we all took the same bus to the same rural campus.

Chapter Five: Daily Life
Daily Life in Rome was similar to and different from Long Island life. The differences made daily life in Rome much more fun.

PART THREE: SPECIAL TIMES

Chapter Six: Roman Holiday Celebrations
Roman Holiday Celebrations were much more extravagant as I remember. The two most outstanding were Christmas Season and New Years Eve.
Chapter Seven: Popular American Movies Made in Rome
There were several popular American movies made in Rome around the time that we were living in Italy. Roman Holiday with Audrey Hepburn, Gregory Peck, and Eddie Albert was the first. The screen play was written by Dalton Trumbo but published under a pseudonym due to his blacklisted status.

PART FOUR: GOING HOME

Chapter Eight: Our Conclusion to Living in Rome
All to soon this story ends and we return to New York again by ship on the SS Constitution


FOUR STORY PARTS WITH CHAPTER LINKS

PART ONE: BEGINNING
Living in Italy
Our Atlantic Crossing
My Year in Rome

PART TWO: LIFE IN ITALY
Our Apartment in Rome
School Days
Daily Life

PART 3: SPECIAL TIMES
Holiday Celebrations (to come)
Popular American Movies Made in Italy

PART FOUR: GOING HOME
Conclusion to Living in Rome

Italy-banner

Continue Reading

Chapter Three: School Days in Rome

roman-school-days


AOSR-logo
The AOSR logo.

Roman school days at the (American) Overseas School of Rome consist firstly with our lengthy bus trip out of the developed part of Rome. In those days, this is a trip to and from the countryside. Although we are all in different grades, all three of us take the same bus trip to the same rural campus.

At the time of our attendance, I’m in 6th grade, my sister is in 4th grade, and my brother is in 1st grade. In 1959-1960 the school is called the International Overseas School of Rome. Today it is the prestigious American Overseas School of Rome, home to an international student body of around 600 students. To be exact, approximately one-third are from the United States, one-third are from Italy, and the remaining third are from 50 different countries.(1)
The Bus Ride to School
Actually there are days that I clearly remember having to stop in the midst of our morning commute along the Via Cassia to allow the farmers’ sheep to cross the road. From the map I have locating that route to school, the area no longer shares the road with the sheep because the school environs are no longer the countryside. The geography has become more urban.
road to the American Overseas School of Rome on google maps
Here’s a map showing the road to school. Actually it is no longer countryside.

THE CAMPUS

It is almost 65 years since our attendance at the International Overseas School of Rome. Over this period of time so much has changed there. What was once countryside surrounding the original main building is now a full modern campus. The vintage edifice originally the only building with some classrooms and possibly the cafeteria is dwarfed by a modern campus. The villa is partly surrounded by one or two story school class buildings. Besides that, at one end or campus are outdoor sports facilities including an up-to-date-running track.
American-Overseas-School
The original Roman school days building as I remember it in 1959 is now surrounded by a very full campus of additional buildings and other facilities.
OSR-villa-1947
The original villa that became OSR.
After School Activity For two years previous to living in Italy, I study painting in a gifted children’s after school program. My desire to continue art classes in Rome requires switching to sculpting. In fact that is because it is the only children’s English speaking class.

Coincidently is in the ‘artists’ section of Rome which is similar to Manhattan’s ‘Greenwich Village’. In addition, my class is in the villa of a German sculptress who we called ‘Aunt Helen’. As a matter of fact this is a creative, cultural, and charming experience. There are children from others schools who speak other languages. In addition we stop our artwork for tea time, tea and cake. As my memory serves me, Aunt Helen is an artist of note. She loves teaching children as well.

TRIP TO FLORENCE

Roman school days are not limited to Rome. In fact, our most exciting days are our weekend class trip to the art capital of Italy, the city of Florence. Instead of viewing world famous historical art in text books, we are able to view it in person. That is something I will never forget. In fact, nothing in school in the states could compare with this experience.

SOURCES & RESOURCES

Wikipedia-AOSR
American Overseas School of Rome on Wikipedia.com

(1)Wikipedia-American Overseas School of Rome


school-days-banner

Continue Reading

Chapter One: Our Atlantic Crossing

ship-banner


Grace-Kelly-and-ship-captain
Grace Kelly and ship Captain aboard SS Constitution in 1956

ATLANTIC CROSSINGS AND OCEAN CRUISES

Our first Atlantic crossing takes place in 1959, three years after Grace Kelly traveled on the SS Constitution for her nuptial voyage to Monaco in 1956.

In fact, the Princess-to-be is accompanied on this transatlantic crossing by her family, almost 50 guests, two dogs, and dozens of pieces of luggage.

Three years later in August of 1959 we sailed on the SS Constitution to Naples, Italy. At that time I was unaware of this previous very special passenger.

OCEAN LINER TRAVEL

This means of transportation is dramatically different today from years ago when it is a necessity. At that time it is the primarily means of transportation between land masses surrounded by large bodies of water like an ocean.
Our Voyage As children, our experience is an introduction to a twice in a lifetime adventure. At that time, these two ships are the recently introduced American Industry luxury liners designed by Henry Dreyfuss for American Export Lines.
Today’s Floating Amusement Parks These are the primary form of ocean travel today. Actually they are over the top to me. Fortunately, the long since departed American Export Lines luxury traveling hotels are immortalized.
Remember Yesterday’s Luxury Travel Forever In fact documentation exists of these first American Export Lines classic luxury liners. Documentation for the Designs and designers for the SS Constitution and Independence is by Erin Douding. Archives are in the Cooper Hewitt division of the Smithsonian museum.
first-class-cabin
Picture of a first class cabin with fabrics designed by renowned Dorothy Liebes of Liebes Studio. Henry Dreyfuss, a friend is the Industrial Designer of the twin ships themselves.

LUXURY TRAVEL 1950’s STYLE

As luxurious as the American Export Lines SS Constitution was, ocean travel is the usual means of crossing oceans in those days.
Airplane Travel 1950’s Style Airplane travel was available at a huge expense. So we actually benefit from its unaffordable cost. In fact we had a great nine day vacation instead. In addition the distinction of these two ships is that they are the first American built ships to embrace the feel of a casual country club, luxury travel as well as a speedy voyage.
Credit for research and documentation available on the Internet with the following information goes to Erin Dowding, currently an MA Student in History of Design and Curatorial Studies, Parsons School of Design in New York City

1. John Slater, President of American Export Lines
2. Henry Dreyfuss, Industrial Designer is responsible for the construction and design of the ships
3. Dorothy Liebes of Liebes Design, credited with the fabric and soft material designs for both the SS Independence and SS Constitution
4. Both ships are the first American Export Lines ships worthy of comparison to European luxury liners.

quote-to-Henry-Dreyfuss

DETAILS OF OUR VOYAGE

Our Ocean Liner Cabin I remember our cabin being small with two sets of double decker beds. In addition there was enough room for one of our trunks that served as our clothes bureau for the voyage. But we spent so little time in the cabin that its size did not matter to us.
Ocean Liner Novelties
Our daily activities included engaging in games on deck. Playing hide-and-seek over the entire ship. Spending time reading and writing in the lounge. Eating delicious meals in the spacious dining room. A three piece genteel musical combo accompanies our dinner every evening.

SPECTACULAR INTERIOR DESIGN

Most noteworthy is the observation lounge with its circular dome lighting and curtains designed by Dorothy Liebes of Liebes Studio. Below are images oof this space during the day and evening.
observation lounge
The Observation Lounge with its circular domed lighting and curtains by the Dorothy Liebes Studio covering the expansive circular windows; Henry Dreyfuss Archive, Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum

A Movie Theatre We had the option of going to first run movies in the movie theatre that was located at the bottom of the ship. That location was a great spot when we were playing hide-and-seek. Since there were other children of various ages on the ship, we had enough companions to keep ourselves happily occupied.

The Center Staircase Design In fact the most direct access of great places to hide was the set of aluminum railings that descended the entire depth of the ship. The aluminum railed staircase was like a sculpture. Using the same design motif as the ship, it was both functional and beautiful.

aluminum-stairs
The center stairs with aluminum rails designed as well by Henry Dreyfuss running through the center of the ship; Henry Dreyfuss Archive, Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum
Outdoor Swimming
pool-deck-pinterest
A highlight of the ship, the pool deck and tea time mid afternoon, pinterest.com
After lunch when the day was warmest, swimming in the ship’s pool was a must. Even more irresistible was the teatime cart that went around the pool deck. In fact, that was the only interruption we would tolerate to our luxurious swim time.

Automobile Storage To our amazement, the pool was emptied to lower the automobiles making the ocean voyage with us. Then the pool was emptied again at the end of our voyage to retrieve them to land for their owners.

 

Kennel in the Sky Everyday we took the tall trip to the smokestack level of the ship. It is the location of the dog kennel. Our miniature schnauzer actually took the trip to Italy with us. He seems to fared the journey well. In addition, he didn’t mind eating Italian food along with his dog food for a year.

Stormy Weather Most of our voyage was ideal with calm seas and sunny days. But on the rare time that it was not, the dining room tended to be empty and second helpings were aplenty. I wish to note that I did not suffer from sea sickness. Therefore it felt like I had the ship’s amenities all to myself. Best of all was two portions of pineapple sorbet.
Eleventh Birthday Celebration
pinteret-com
A festive cake fit for my eleventh birthday on the SS Constitution, pnterest.com

My Eleventh Birthday Celebration was another feature of our transatlantic voyage. A girl my age whom I befriended on board was invited to dine at our table. Then the three piece musical ensemble played ‘Happy Birthday’ as a birthday cake was delivered to our table. Oh, I was so embarrassed.

Our Destination
The destination of our transatlantic voyage that took nine days was Naples, Italy. From there, we had a four hour train ride to Rome. Then a short cab ride took us to our first destination.

 

Villa Eva It was a Roman villa turned pensione. We had several rooms with very high ceilings. It was a lovely space. In fact this is where we stayed until we rented our nine room apartment in Rome. The only redeeming factor to the end of this marvelous journey was that we sailed again the following June back to New York on the SS Constitution.

ship-banner

Continue Reading

Chapter Two: Our Apartment in Rome

bldg-plaque-border-2


VRV-21-street-map
The Google map location of Via Ridolfino Venuti 21 (building indicated by red teardrop)

Our apartment in Rome that we occupied from Sept 1959 to June 1960 was on the second floor of a six story building. It contained nine marble floored rooms, was spacious enough for a foyer, a living room, a sitting room, a dining room, and a kitchen situated from the left end of the apartment to the grand entryway.

From the right end to the center were three bedrooms, and a bathroom. Fronted with five street facing windows, were rooms with classic European furniture as well as an extra empty room to store our collection of steamer trunks. Neither in suburb outskirts with individual unattached houses nor a location in the urban city center either, Via Ridolfino Venuti 21 is in fact, in a quiet, pleasant neighborhood.

apartment-in-rome
The left end of Via Ridolfino Venuti 21, our nine room apartment in Rome as it appears today. This Google picture dates from 2022 showing substantial wear since 1959 when we resided there.

HOME

Getting an apartment made us official residents of Rome and and the true beginning of My Year in Italy. Putting in place the details of daily life follow. Getting set up for school, hiring a housekeeper/cook to shop for food, cook, and keep house. Meeting the neighbors. Navigating the neighborhood as children always do. Finding places to play and other children to play with are essential.

The Neighborhood
As children we had different priorities from our mother as well as tourists. For example, we didn’t need to know where the amenities of our life came from. Rather our lives revolved around making Italian neighborhood friends and finding fun things to do.

Real Italian not American Life Abroad As I mentioned in the Introduction, most American families abroad were attached to government jobs desiring to reside cloistered with other Americans. For example, American neighbors in American occupied buildings called the EUR. American superstores known as the American PX where one could buy everything American. In my opinion, why bother to live in another country if not to experience it with all one’s senses. Give me the real thing, not a transported veneer of an experience.

The Full Italian Package So without American government or corporate employment dictation, we were able to go with the full Italian living package. That meant we lived Italian, ate Italian, drove Italian, shopped Italian, and even learned to speak some Italian. Bravo.

More to read about:
My Year in Italy/Introduction

bldg-plaque-border-2

Continue Reading

My Year in Rome: Introduction

italy-border


my-year-in-rome
A map of Italy from orangesmile.com

My year in Rome was the most amazing experience of my life. In fact, the story behind it is unique as well. I was a mere eleven years old at the time.

Actually, most families with school age children who lived in foreign countries did so due to a parent serving with either a foreign government, at a consulate or holding an international corporate job. But that was not any of those situations in my family.

As a single parent with three children, my mother had the freedom to explore living in other parts of the world without employment restriction. In addition to that, the hefty American dollar could go very far in those days, 1959-1960 giving many residential choices. As a result, we could have adventures then that would be financially prohibitive today. In fact, the dollar was worth six hundred lire at that time in contrast to much less today.

THE IDEA BEGAN DRIVING THROUGH THE LINCOLN TUNNEL GOING TO NEW JERSEY

In 1959 when taking our annual automobile trip from Long Island to New Jersey to participate in the Passover Seder, we made a stop in Manhattan to pick up my great aunt. Besides being a loving aunt, she was a great cook famous for her cream puffs with mocha toping. The cherry on the top was her ‘Auntie Mame’ adventurous personality. Knowing that my mother and her three children had some geographic and financial freedom, my great aunt suggested that my mother take our family to live in Italy for a year.
my-year-in-Italy
S.S. Constitution, American Export Lines, by Tichnor Brothers, c. 1950s, from the Digital Commonwealth – 1 commonwealth 8g84mw21v. (1)

PREPARATION IN THE US

My mother took in stride what very likely would have seemed like a daunting undertaking to most people. For example, this included a thorough checklist of preparatory things to do:
• take a crash course in Italian
• get passports and necessary shots
• make reservations for the nine day voyage from NYC to Naples on the transatlantic S.S.Constitution for the five of us (dog included). At that time, airplane travel was limited and more expensive.
• borrow steamer trunks from every traveler friend, relative, and friend of a relative.
• sell our beloved 1955 two tone Oldsmobile and arranged to buy the latest Fiat to be picked up in Rome
• make reservations for a place to stay when we arrived in Rome at the Villa Eva. I remember this villa turned Pensione as popular with Americans, and a joy to inhabit.
https://www.pinterest.com.mx/pin/476677941789779373/
A wardrobe steamer trunk, upright drawers and a case, in cream with faux wood grained mounts (2)

ARRIVAL IN ITALY

There were additional preparatory tasks as well as others that would need make when we arrived in Italy:
• take the train from Naples to Rome
• sign in at the Villa Eva (Pensione)
• pick up our new Fiat (we got lost for three hours trying to return to the Villa Eva where we were staying)
• register us kids for the American-English, American-Arithmetic International School in Rome (aka)The International Overseas School of Rome)
• find a place to live, actually a nine room apartment
• hire a Italian housekeeper/cook
• and more things that any 11 year old could even imagine would need to be done

SOURCES & RESOURCES

(1) S.S. Constitution from Wikipedia
my-year-in-rome


italy-border

Continue Reading