Heritage Travel, Historic Preservation, Random DJB Thoughts
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People (and Dog) Watching in Rome

Rome overview

Rome, on a beautiful spring afternoon

Saturday was a picture perfect day in Rome.  Not a cloud in the sky.  Mid-60s temperature.  Our windows were open all day to let in the fresh air and sunshine.  It was a day that called us to go outside.

And we did just that, heading over to the largest landscaped public park in Rome, located nearby the Academy in Monteverde on the Janiculum.  While we walked, talked, and enjoyed the sunshine, we primarily engaged in the age-old past-time of people watching.  Thankfully, we were rewarded in this beehive of activity.  Children playing football. Teenagers in love. Older couples holding hands, both to show affection and to steady their partner. Picnics on the grass.

Danish architect Jan Gehl has said that – in the past 50 years – architects, landscape architects and planners…

“…have gotten confused about scale. They constantly confuse car scale with people scale. Sometimes they make a mix, but most of the time they make car scale and say, look, there’s a sidewalk, people can walk here. What’s the problem? That is not at all exciting.”

The builders who created the Villa Doria Pamphili park understood people scale.  While cars are relegated to the outsides of the park, the inside has so many wonderful spaces for people to do all the things people – as social animals – are inclined to do. Candice and I had a lovely three hours watching the interactions today, which we then capped off with a stroll over to the Garibaldi monument to take a few photos of the ancient city.

Since we’re in Rome, our people watching continued over dinner.  We took the ten minute walk from our apartment to Vineria Litro, a small wine bar recommended by both the chef at the American Academy and the New York TimesOver glasses of wine, we sampled delicious food and watched the place fill up as the hours passed.  Just before we left, two ladies walked in for an early evening glass of wine, trailed by their dogs who slipped down next to them at the bar. We knew we weren’t in Kansas anymore when no one batted an eye.  And they didn’t even have to use the old joke about taking a dog into a bar, which goes like this:

Two women were out walking their dogs when they saw a bar and decided to stop in for a drink.  However, there was a sign in the window that said, “No dogs.”  The first said, “Don’t worry, follow my lead.”  She then put on a pair of sunglasses and walked into the bar.  The bartender says, “Hey lady, can’t you see the sign? No dogs allowed.” She replies, “He’s my seeing eye dog,” the bartender says “okay,” and he fixes her a drink.

Her companion then puts on her sunglasses and heads into the bar.  The bartender says again, “Hey lady, you can’t bring that dog in here.” To which the woman replies, “He’s my seeing eye dog.”  The bartender says, “That Chihuahua is a seeing eye dog?!?”  And the woman replies, “They gave me a @(*%#(% Chihuahua?!”

Enjoy your day with your friends of all shapes and stripes.

More to come…



I am David J. Brown (hence the DJB) and I originally created this personal blog more than ten years ago as a way to capture photos and memories from a family vacation. After the trip was over I simply continued writing. Over the years the blog has changed to have a more definite focus aligned with my interest in places that matter, reading well, roots music, and more. My professional background is as a national nonprofit leader with a four-decade record of growing and strengthening organizations at local, state, and national levels. This work has been driven by my passion for connecting people in thriving, sustainable, and vibrant communities.

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