Defining Rome

28 04 2008

Few things define a city as much as it laws.  a tribute - charlton heston as moses in the ten commandments

The edicts of a small town in Hungary will reflect the nature of it’s conservative residents; the statutes of liberal, big-city Paris, do the same.

Here in Rome, a quick look at the books will give you an instant education on the character and principles of it’s people.Roman soldier

For instance:

1) A law has been passed allowing Rome’s stray cat population to thrive, untouched in the place where they were born. Feral Roman Cats In RuinsVisit any ruin and you will see the evidence of frenzied felines as they scatter through the rubble.  Cavernous tombs echo the details of cat calls.  Old women provide free food on a daily basis to these curs.

I find it an affront to the common dog.  After all, were not Romulus and Remus, upon whose foundation Rome was built, suckled by the wolf?

Lupa feeding Romulus and RemusSimply because Rome crawls with oblisks is no reason to perpetuate the Egyptian’s love of cats…

2) The Italian Supreme Court has legalized the right of males to pat the derrier’s of their female constituents.  It’s an actual law.  It’s legal, it’s encouraged, it’s allowed.  Italians understand that the sexes ar different.  Not only do they embrace the fact, they glorify it.  Bubble butts

It’s hard on the lawyers here, but they are generally kept busy by the frequent changing of the political guard…they have enough to do without having to try to explain the peculiarities of the male species in court, let alone change the laws of nature.

PoliceThe Law’s the Law.



24 04 2008

Continuing on the subject of fashion:

You may think it an odd subject for a small dog, but I AM Italian.  For Italians, dog or human, fashion is everything.  And now that spring has sprung, both man and canine are sporting all sort of new trends.

And, like all roads, all trends lead to Rome.

Another Jeans ShotTake denim for instance.  Popular thought tells us that it was invented in a 17th century Roman city, albeit in France.  Nimes was the third largest city in the ancient Roman Empire and, at one time, the center of textiles in the western world. 

The weave was referred to as “de Nimes”…of Nimes.  Thus, “denim” was born.  arizona outlawAlthough Signore Strauss took it to new and popular levels with the romanticism of the American Cowboy, Italians have the upper hand when pairing denim.  A crisp white shirt, a crocodile belt and expensive Italian shoes say more about the comfortable self-assurance of the smart Italian man.  I'm a boots and jeans kinda GalShort wool jacket of any color, a good pair of heels and a stand out hand bag speak to the confidence of any woman. 

Bandana KidA dog with a simple denim bandana makes a statement of worldy knowledge: rodeos,the westward movement of civilization and the durability of a single weave in the pattern of evolving fashion.

Yes, it all began in the mind of a Roman citizen…Lulu on Denim…didn’t everything?


Any Dog Knows

22 04 2008

Any dog knows that shoes are a direct indication of human character and station.  So, it’s no surprise that shoes have surpassed handbags as this season’s most important accessory.Act your age, not your shoe size

The details are always in the shoes.  Backward heels and knee-high sandals, fur mules (an oxymoron, no?) and mile-high platforms,Hollywood Blvd Shoe Store

all speak to the nature of the one who wears them, their mood and perhaps their world view.  They carry the history of the day upon their soles: the panetteria; a smokey cafe; the crowded salon; the old pescatore along the Tiber…a stroll along the Pincio while the dew was fresh on the grass; cigars or cigarettes?  Cats?  One dog or two?  red shoes

Any dog can determine the difference between a man who wears a well kept pair of Ferragamos Men's Shoes 01and one who sports a pair of these: Even the Egyptians couldn't get men's shoes that weren't pointy

Shoes are the first thing a dog’s nose comes upon, and very often the last detail gathered upon leaving.  They are a primary gauge on the dash of every dog. 

Into whose lap would you rather leap? 



15 04 2008

Magritte - BerlusconiSilvio Berlusconi won a third term today and I just had to hide.  Hideout

The weather’s turned bad again.  I haven’t had a good run for a few days.  Energy bubbles up and I can’t help myself.  I went for another pair of FerragamosFerragamo…actually just one, but I know enough to realize I may as well have chewed through the sole of both.

It really isn’t the weather so much that vexes me, it’s Berlusconi.  He has this thing about not wanting to appear short.  The more he harps on it, the less secure I feel about my own few inches.

Last week he commented to the press that he was sure he was taller than both Putin and Sarkozy, even Prodi…ridiculous, non e vero?  Romano Prodi is far to left leaning to ever be measured properly with a plumb line.  Sarkozy, too far to the right to allow it…and Putin simply wouldn’t stand still long enough for such a thig.  I saw him once near the Spanish Steps on state visit.  He criss-crossed the piazza like a blind chihuahua.

At any rate, what’s the big deal about height anyway.  Some of life’s more memorable things come in small packages: diamonds, chew toys…Napolean.

I rest my case, until I’m forced to testify about the shoes.Chewed Up Shoe


If Dogs Could Sing

11 04 2008

Even in Rome the television occasionally lands on an American broadcast.  The current rage on the viale is American Idol.  My Contessa opens the doors to the terrazzo where the potted cherry blooms, pours a glass of Barolo Spring in a Wine Glassand nestles into the comfy silk chair that straddles the threshold in front of the TV. 

I sit upon her lap and doze…as a rule.  But this week Idol brought a familiar tune to my ears and I followed the musical notes in my head.Musical Notes 

Humans, of course, have no idea, but dogs hold a certain theme song close to their heart.  You can understand why if you pay close attention to our character, for dogs are always on the hunt: for food, for fun, for the pure joys in life.

So, next time you see a dog, remember this: If dogs could sing, this is what they’d sound like, and this is the song they’d sing:



Halcyon Days

7 04 2008

Wensum mistGone are the halcyon days of winter, when Rome is absent its throngs of tourists, birds have flown to sunnier climes, and the beloved jewel of a pastry, the Monte Bianco, fades into memory as chestnuts make way for bloom. Mont Blanc, Paris Cafe

Ironically, the term halcyon days originated as a reference to a period during the same time: the fourteen days around the winter solstice, notoriously windless and calm.

In Greek mythlogy, Halcyon was a queen.  Strange for a woman to be associated with any definition of calm, I think.  But, I digress.

With Easter, the crowds return.  They sit in inpenetrable bunches amid the azaleas on the Spanish Steps and pack the landmark bars in search of drinks and snacks.  The only boon for a small dog is wealth left behind on the cafe floors from unsteady hands: cornetti, porchetta, fromaggio, gum, and a foreign treat of the iconic LifeSaver.Lifesavers II

Fortunately, the weather improves with the storm of sightseers.  I trot long distance along the via, and go off-leash on the dry grass on the Pincio.  Il Pincio, Roma.Exercise offsets the excess.  Sweaters, snug under the watchful eye of winter, will once again hang loose by summer.  For in Italy, it’s all about the image, non e vero?The Italian Cinema - Pierre Leprohon


This Season’s Must Have Accessory

4 04 2008


We made a trip to Paris over this week.  I love Paris: broad avenues, Croissant!fresh croissants with a distinctive buttery French crunch factor that Italians just can’t seem to duplicate in the ubiquitous cornetti, and fabulous boats on the river that one can actually ride.  notre dame, boat on the seine

Though Italy is often thought the center of fashion, Paris has it’s odd edge on trends.

The newest it seems is the meerkat.

We were sitting along the Champs Elysee, my Contessa sipping a cafe au  lait one brisk, damp morning.  eiffel tower in the fogThe Eiffel Tower rose into a pearlescent spring fog typical of the season.  I lifted my nose into the air to take in the fresh smell of tulips decorating the table above and at the top a neighboring chair, my attention was drawn to a gentle movement from the pocket of a large leather purse.  A nose.  A round black shiny nose.  It poked its way between the zipper and out popped a flat-eared, big-eyed weaselly creature that offered a low hissing sound my way before retreating.

The woman attached to the purse thrust her hand into the sack and retrieved the beast.  She held it to her lips and gave it a kiss, then stroked it like a pet.

A pet.

More like a fashion accessory, I think.

Can it be walked along the river?

Can it play ball in the park?  Can it do a trick for a treat.Trick Dog

I think not.

Though meerkats have certainly been around for eons, it is the domesticated dog who fills these simple pleasures for man.  We, too, are furry, and affectionate; our brains developed for companionship over the centuries.

Why risk your heart to a common cousin of the wiley mongoose when pounds brim full of orphan dogs.  I wonder.

.Any dog can appreciate the novelty of a new trend…can the meerkat?


What Dogs Do–Installment #2

1 04 2008

Do they sell these in Rome?


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