How the Rome Nightlife Made Me an Extrovert
Before moving to Italy, I was never one for going out very much. It’s not that I didn’t want to; I was just lazy. And cheap. Who wants to get out of sweatpants at night to drive somewhere and order food and drinks when you could just as easily stay put, feel comfortable and cook something yourself?
But in Italy, I wanted a new attitude. And that attitude was to experience Italy as much as possible while I had the chance to. Not to mention improving my Italian as much as possible. And in Rome, I found it was so much easier to go out because everything is so readily accessible, something I didn’t really have in my area of the U.S.
And even if I can’t understand it, there’s still something pleasant about hearing the bustle and flow of the city around me.
One of the best things about going out here is that you are sure to find plenty of other people doing the same thing. Feel weird about heading out on a Wednesday night for drinks or aperitivo (Happy Hour)? Don’t worry because chances are you’ll get a great deal on a drink and plate of food, and the opportunity to listen to karaoke or a live band somewhere. If there’s no live music, there’s certainly lively conversation.
And even if I can’t understand it, there’s still something pleasant about hearing the bustle and flow of the city around me. Everyone always seems up for going for a coffee at any time of day, and I had friends who would grab a drink after work or even between classes. There’s no holing up in your room here.
On the weekends of course, it’s pretty packed, but not until very late. I’m used to heading out on a Friday or Saturday night around 9 p.m. and arriving at the latest at 10. Here, people usually start thinking about heading out somewhere at 10 p.m.
It’s annoying if you want to meet someone at a relatively decent time (i.e., before midnight), but you learn to adjust to the flow.
Many times it’s because they’re still busy eating dinner at 9 p.m. Italians eat late here, and then they relax with their families for a bit before going out. It’s annoying if you want to meet someone at a relatively decent time (i.e., before midnight), but you learn to adjust to the flow. Or, if you’re only here for a few days, you don’t adjust to the flow, and you actually get a table at a bar.
Bars in the center of Rome usually close at the same time as those in the U.S., at 2 a.m. There are a few that are open later, including one I usually go to that stays open until 4 a.m., and there is even one near Termini that is open 24 hours. But be careful, because this also means the opportunity to stay and drink more when maybe that’s not the best idea.
That’s another wonderful thing I learned about social life here in Italy: It’s not about getting wasted. It’s always easy to tell who the foreigners (mainly American and British) people are because they’re the ones overjoyed at the ability to drink in the streets and/or completely smashed every night. Even on Wednesday nights.
It’s always easy to tell who the foreigners (mainly American and British) people are because they’re the ones overjoyed at the ability to drink in the streets
Of course there are plenty of drunk Italians, too, but they’re younger and hang out in the areas frequented by young people (Campo di Fiori and Trastevere are quite popular), so it’s to be expected. But more often, Italians go out because they enjoy the company of each other and spending time with each other. Meals take a couple of hours because they’re meant to be enjoyed slowly. There will be wine with the dinner or aperitivo, but the point isn’t to finish it before the first course.
It’s quite refreshing to see even 20-something Italians being social because their friends are hanging out there, rather than because there’s alcohol. It would be nice if they could bring that mentality to the U.S., but I don’t think that will be happening any time soon.
I’m scheduled to return home at the end of August. I’m definitely looking forward to it because I haven’t seen my family and friends in almost a year. But I will really miss Italy and Rome and the wonderful life that exists here, socially and otherwise. I can’t wait to come back!
Top photo by Unsplash.