by Andrew R., 2L
“You drew me out from slavery to freedom
by all those paths, by all those means that were
within your power.”
– Paradiso XXXI.85-87.
Campo de’ Fiori, July 4, 2012.
How do Americans celebrate the 4th of July in Italy? Like Italians, I guess. Or at least a bad imitation of them. Around here, the recreational activity of choice seems to be beach time. Lots and lots of beach time. And how could it not be? The enduring Roman heat and sunshine doesn’t offer much relief throughout the day – unless, of course, you’re willing to shut yourself in a closed room with the A/C on. But to do that would be like admitting defeat.
Instead, the order of the day was a mass migration to the seacoast. A number of our group took the bus up to Santa Marinella, a small beachside town just northwest of Rome that was used in ancient times as something not too different from a bathing resort. These days, not much has changed. The beach (like most everything around the city) was packed, but the sand was hot and the water was cool, making for a good combination all around.
That evening, we toasted to American Independence at Scholar’s Lounge, a local Irish Pub in the center of Rome and one of the biggest English-speaking social hubs in the city, and later at Campo de’ Fiori, a square just across the river from Trastevere. Two establishments around the square, the Drunken Ship and Sloppy Sam’s (the respective names of which having no connection to the nature of the activities contained therein), were lined with American flags and buntings, advertising drink specials for the holiday. Just as late evening set in, hordes of American expats, students, and visitors flooded the two bars, and soon the entire square was filled with what seemed like more than its fair share of Bruce Springsteen and red, white and blue outfits. Apparently, even when they’re away from their native soil, Americans have little trouble flying their colors high on the Fourth of July. God bless the U.S.A.