It looked like a warm early spring and most Romans have put away their winter clothes. Yet now we have a cold snap, and many are looking pale, chilled and unhappy. But Roman “cold” is rather relative. Cold snaps I read about in many international blogposts involve storms, hurricanes and more often than not, taking out the snow shovels just to manage getting out of the house.
I just saw great pictures of the coast somewhere up in Newfoundland where it’s really cold, with a huge, gorgeous iceberg flowing by.
That’s not exactly what we have here. Here we had perfect sunshine on a clear blue sky today, though a coldish (6°C) wind’s blowing moderately hard, and in some places in Rome you find your windshield frozen over mornings when you’re already late for work. That’s just about it. Besides, in the sun, it warms up to about 15°C around lunchtime, then evening temperatures drop again. You snow-shovel people are probably laughing.
The point is, complaining about the weather is a typical Roman pastime, which is absurd when you think we’re one of the European capitals with the reputation for having the most clement weather of all. True, though it’s also an exaggeration that leads tourists to flock here all-year-long expecting to bask in the sunshine in T-shirts and shorts. Which, apart from being uncouth when visiting art-filled churches, is often unwise: many catch their deaths of a cold.
Locals’ weather complaints also involve serious week-long study of upcoming weekends and feeling victimized whenever it’s forecast to get even just a bit cloudy. Weekend rain rates as a tragedy. In fact, Romans typically tend to start off the year with a calendar to study the logistics of all the possible “official” long weekend holidays, together with long-range weather forecasts.
2017 is a pretty good year: we just had a three-day Easter break, this next weekend will probably see many people going off for a good four days as Tuesday’s a national holiday and Monday is considered an automatic no-work “bridge” (“ponte”, the Italian word for it). The weekend after that will stretch too, as Italy celebrates International Workers’ Day on a Monday.
Lots of bridges, so life is good despite … the cold.