Chapter Four: Daily Life in Rome

daily life in Rome
Simple pasta carbonara from bon

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.


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.


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.

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