Monday, July 30

All roads lead to...


Last week, I went to the Joe Cocker concert at Rome’s fairly new Auditorium. It was fantastic, but, more than that, it was held in what amounts to the most exceptional place in all of Rome, if not all of Italy. Rome’s Auditorium, designed by Renzo Piano, is absolutely stunning, even though we don’t get to see the moon pass by through the performance like the Ancient Romans once did from their seats in the Amphitheatre.
Their concert and activity offering is nothing short of spectacular: ice skating in their Winter Garden, Gospel, world music, symphonies, jazz, and much more. It is the solitary diamond, the crown jewel, in Italy’s infinite cultural offerings. And, people have noticed: it attracts more visitors than any other Auditorium on earth (including Sydney & the Met).

Unfortunately, you simply can’t get there.
To the untrained eye, it would seem just the opposite were true: there isn’t a corner of Rome that doesn’t have a sign (replete with an arrow, no less) beckoning, no pleading with you, that the Auditorium is just around the corner. From the very center, to miles outside the beltway. There are so many, that at first, I was convinced that Renzo Piano had converted the Colosseum into a fabulous new Auditorium, with a roof, as in days of yore…
But, that was simply wishful thinking. The Auditorium is nowhere near the centre of Rome, and pretty much, nowhere near the 10,863 (my est.) signs which inform you that the Ancients got it all wrong, in fact: all roads lead to the Auditorium.
Dave Barry once wrote a column about driving in Italy: he surmised that the locals just changed those arrows around time and again, as you circle and circle around looking for your hotel.
I believe, instead, that the workers, once they reached about a 1/2 mile radius of the place, just said (as they approached the roundabout with 7 exits, or the highway turnoff)…”Ora Basta! Oh, what the heck, they made it this far, they’re bound to know where to turn off!”. Ditched their last 58 signs in the garbage bin and went home for a siesta.
After having missed the beginning of many a concert, I discovered they now have a shuttle bus for all us poor souls, which leaves right from the center of Rome. Now if they only had a sign for the Bus Stop…

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

We all love this country, but the ex-pats and even some Italians, would some times like to put it on the chopping block and start over again or maybe just go back to the days when the Romans and Italians were avant-garde of their time.

My Italian husband, on the otherhand, obviously a little in denial...
"all lies.... come to see the wonderful country to feed all your dream."

Anonymous said...

obviously the husband hasn't tried getting to the auditorium just by following the signs posted around town. tucc is so right on this one.

c.

PassagetoItaly said...

Awesome post!! I loved what you were writing towards the end. It cracked me up. And my boyfriend always says "It's so easy to drive around Italy. There's always a sign. You don't even need a map." LOL

Francesca Maggi said...

Generally speaking, your boyfriend is right. But the signs always - always - inevitably die out at that roundabout or major intersection.

I just got back from Florence & my nerves are so frazzled from driving round n round I need an entire barrel of Chianti to calm them down!!! No signs in Empoli to hwy for Firenze, just when I hit the roundabout followed by 3 intersections, a strange left turn through factories, and other such nonsense.

Go read CENTRO ISTERICO if you want more laughs (at my expense!!!)