The ROMANS: cheerful, volatile...
yet incredibly hospitable

Young people
Nuns, priest and monks
Leisure time, wealthy people
Poor people, beggars, street musicians, immigrants and bums
When all things come to an end...


S.P.Q.R. : it was written beneath the eagles of the Roman legions, today you still find the acronym everywhere, even on Rome's buses, or in all man-holes. It means "Senatus PopulusQue Romanorum": "The Senate and the People of Rome", a clear sign that people have always been the centre of life in Rome.

Although nowadays Rome pulses with the beat of all international metropolis, its people largely retain the original character, blending the new traits with the old ones.

The peculiar personality of the working class always attracted writers, artists, and recently also the film and theatre directors. Endless tales and stories were propagated through the media about the boisterous character, the candid bonhomie, the good-humoured cynism and the fun-loving volgarity of the working class, making them iconic traits of the Romans.

First Communion at the Sanctuary of Divine Love. Upbringing after religious values is still very popular

(Happyness) by Albano and Romina, 1985

Lyrics (transl. from Italian):

Happiness is... to be hand in hand... it is your innocent look in the midst of people... a glass of wine and a sandwich... it's leaving you a message in the drawer... it's singing with you ... it's a surprise party... an unexpected phone call... and you already hear in the air our love song!

Yet the personality of the Romans is more complex, and distinctively with many contrasting aspects.

You find nobleness of the soul, combined with opportunism; a remarkable friendliness, combined with carelessness; utmost kindness and politeness, combined with irreverence or roguishness; brilliance, often improvised, and the all-Italian spirit of adaptability, combined with indolence. Add gusto, love of life, of the family and friends, and you have the whole picture. Ambitions and expectations? Why not, however only if they don't interfere dramatically with lifestyle and with the family (let alone with the affairs...).
The bottom line is that the human qualities of the savvy Romans make them happy, unaffected by an increasingly stressful and materialistic world.

(Right): Taking a cool break, on the Spanish Steps balustrade.

The upper classes naturally are far more mannerly and sophisticated, spending - or squandering - their time in a most intriguing lifestyle. Yet in Rome the old popular cultural traits are a highly considered reference for all. Romans and Romephiles cherish their memory and actually turn them into a legend, as it occurs with the "Roma Sparita" (the vanished Rome of the last centuries), because this protects Rome's cultural identity. Back to the top


Actors in Rome by the Coliseum

Acting helps going by: would-be actors making their living as Roman soldiers by the Coliseum

Romans - like all Italians - are masters of adaptability, and resort to any expedient to survive, or "to put lunch and dinner together" as the Romans say. When everything goes really wrong, the national proclivity to act is the last bullet to make it.

Rome soldier having a smoke

A Roman soldier... having a smoke

Most people though manage to have a regular job or profession of some sort (and in Rome hundred thousands make their living in nice and secure government positions).

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Youngsters tend to live life in full. On one hand they get their share of "La Dolce Vita", in a most relaxed fashion. They are passionate football fans, and they love scooters - apparently reckless as Valentino Rossi, they also know when it's time to drive carefully.



boys and girls Rome Spanish Steps

Boys looking at girls, by the Spanish Steps

Totty shirt Rome Coliseum

Rome's champion Totti shirt on sale by the Coliseum

Young Roman on moped

The national passion for mopeds!

Yet young people, as it is very popular among Italians and Romans alike, are committed also to their local community. Despite Romans in general hardly agree on everything and everyone has a different idea on just about anything, most people volunteer in 1000s societies helping the community.

Boy-scouts, following traditional, conservative Catholic values

Rome rally

In contrast, father and son, both liberal, proudly display a red flag. Italians might be though at the same time Catholic and Leftist.

Other young people regularly participate in societies protecting the environment.

Social work in Rome
Volunteers of the Italian Society of Environment Protection clean up the cobblestones of the Ancient Appian Way near Rome.


Romans just love gatherings and rallies. Although they will possibly inconvenience your visit, they are also spectacular and give you a cross-section of the incredibly witty and humourous Italian popular spirit.


Rome young Roma fans

Roma football (soccer) fans plunging in the fountains after their team won the championship.

A rally occured in December 2006. The carriage is a satyre on former PM Romano Prodi, on the Ministry of Finance Padoa Schioppa, and on the left leader Piero Fassino, who imposed high taxes.


Wedding is re still considered life's most beautiful day, yet their number is declining (and so does the birth rate), while divorces keep increasing. On one hand, as it occurs world-wide, concern about economic factors and increasing individual expectations are the cause of the decline. On the other hand, liberal laws inspired by the left are very exacting or punishing men after divorce, so most people postpone marriage until they find their "perfect" partner.

Wedding in Rome
Wedding at the Sanctuary of Divino Amore
(Divine Love), near Rome
Life's most beautiful day, at St. Peter's

In any event, the most remarkable feature of the Romans is their hospitality, in particular their unobtainable inclination to accept everyone, which is far more valuable than merely "tolerating" other people.

In Rome, you will always feel at home, and at ease, more than in any other place in the world. This is why many come to Rome, and just never leave. More on this.

More photos of Romans and Rome life scenes

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