Tag Archives: Rome

A Scholarship Cut Short: Donna Storey reflects on her time in Rome during COVID-19

At the beginning of March this year, I travelled to Italy to undertake research for my PhD thesis as a recipient of the ACIS/Cassamarca Dino De Poli Scholarship for 2020. My intention was initially to spend two weeks at the British School at Rome (BSR), before travelling north for around nine weeks to undertake archival research in Salò, Trento/Bolzano, and Trieste, before returning home in May. Little did I know upon my arrival at the BSR on Monday 2 March that, due to the outbreak of the COVID-19 Coronavirus, not only would I not be able to leave Rome and travel north, but that I would in fact have to leave Italy by the end of the month. 

When I arrived at the BSR, the virus had already been detected in Italy (primarily in Lombardy and Veneto), but infection numbers were still reasonably low, and I didn’t really think at this point that my travel would be impeded. Given that the outbreak was in the well-resourced north of Italy, I assumed that the virus would be contained reasonably quickly and there would be no ongoing major interruptions. How naïve and wrong I would turn out to be! Before I knew it, not only were the northern regions locked down, but so too was the entire country. All schools, libraries, universities and businesses were closed, with the exception of essential services (supermarkets, pharmacies, health professionals etc.). Social distancing measures were quickly introduced, both internally at the BSR, and if we were to venture outside. Permission slips were required to go out of the BSR, for example to the supermarket. Police could, and would, stop and check to ensure that anyone outside was there for a legitimate reason, and would readily issue fines if not. These measures seem standard procedure now; however, at the time, they were new, and a little unsettling. Continue reading

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Se l’Italia non ci fosse… The view from the pitch

RG triumphantOn 13 August 1973 Richard Greenwood, former captain of England’s rugby union team and father of a 10 month-old son, Will, who would  be part of the World Cup winning team in Sydney in 2003, arrived in Rome to become player-coach of Algida Roma. He stayed for five years, leading his fellow-players to undreamt-of levels of fitness and skill while becoming the person described by his Italian friends as a unique blend of English humour, genio napoletano and spirito romanesco. What follows is his story of his move between two different rugby worlds which nonetheless appear to play the game according to the same rules ….

‘I am in the Osteria dell’Orso on the Friday evening before the 2016 Six Nations rugby match between Italy and England at the Stadio Olimpico in Rome. I am happily involved with a party of 20 or so of my son Will’s clients and sponsors, but, happier still, I am surrounded by Roman friends and team mates from my time in the 1970s when I was playing for Rugby Roma….

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The weather in the Roman streets


(C) Alessandro Prada @ Flickr

Glimpsed a classical fashion icon as you sipped your cappuccino in Piazza Navona? Been queue-jumped at the ticket office by a louche member of the Mount Olympus club? Had a funny thing happen to you on the way to the forum? Travis McKenna has been making poetry out of such encounters ….

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‘Gabriele D’Annunzio never met an adverb he didn’t like’

TLS_Beard_396117kThat’s the opening sentence of a review by Joseph Luzzi of a recent translation of D’Annunzio’s Pleasure in this week’s Times Literary Supplement (3 Jan 2014). Apart from this review which chimes in with the recent post on D’Annunzio by Stefano Bragato, the issue has other pieces of interest to Italianists. Focusing on the relation between art and power, Mary Beard compares the celebrations of the 2000th anniversary of the birth (63 BC) of Rome’s first emperor, Augustus, by Mussolini in 1937 (the Mostra Augustea della Romanità) with the current exhibition in Rome to celebrate the 2000th anniversary of his death (14 AD), more soberly entitled Augusto. Then Joe Farrell reviews a translation of The Childhood Memories and Other Stories by Giuseppe Tomasi di Lampedusa (the author said that no one would ever read those memories, sharing the misplaced confidence of many writers that their juvenilia, private correspondence and laundry lists will never be made public). And, for comparative literature specialists, there is also an extended review of Franco Moretti’s two recent books, Distant Reading and The Bourgeois.

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