Rome as Text
“La Passeggiata” by Madeline Pestana of FIU at Rome, Italy
The passeggiata, an evening stroll, is an Italian custom designed to “reinforce a sense of belonging” according to author Giovanna Delnegro. This activity is intended to increase social bonding and as I’ve noticed, Italians will take advantage of any moment to exercise, also using this time to burn some calories. However, the most beautiful aspect of the passeggiata is not the opportunity for weight loss but its purpose in reinforcing the sense of belonging. Italians have immense pride for their country and express this feeling by integrating symbols and phrases into their society. The initials SPQR stand for Senātus Populusque Rōmānus, meaning Senate and People of Rome, in English. SPQR appears on most street corner, paintings, signs, and walls. Once you locate the initials, you’ll notice that they are everywhere. The image of Remus, Romulus, and Lupa Capitolina, the origin on Rome is replicated countlessly in art, logos, and apparel. It is evident that their pride is deeply rooted in present day. This being said, the passeggiata brings people together in the community to remind them who they are and where they came from. The repetition of symbols and phrases is a reminder of the principles Italy represents and with whom it all started.
During this time I’ve developed admiration for Italians and their community, which has lead me to think of my own traditions and how they all began. As an American, I am prideful of my country but have noticed that we lack activities that unite us a community on a daily basis. My family is from Cuba so our traditions originated in Cuba, not America. It is clear that the United States is a collection of several communities originating from different countries, but unfortunately we do not engage in community as a whole. This has left me wondering if there is a way of uniting the community as the Romans do.