Global Rome: Changing Faces of the Eternal City

Global Rome: Changing Faces of the Eternal City

Global Rome: Changing Faces of the Eternal City

Global Rome: Changing Faces of the Eternal City


Is 21st-century Rome a global city? Is it part of Europe's core or periphery? This volume examines the "real city" beyond Rome's historical center, exploring the diversity and challenges of life in neighborhoods affected by immigration, neoliberalism, formal urban planning, and grassroots social movements. The contributors engage with themes of contemporary urban studies–the global city, the self-made city, alternative modernities, capital cities and nations, urban change from below, and sustainability. Global Rome serves as a provocative introduction to the Eternal City and makes an original contribution to interdisciplinary scholarship.


Isabella Clough Marinaro and Bjørn Thomassen

Roma, Roma, at thy feet
I lay this barren gift of song!
For, ah! the way is steep and long
That leads unto thy sacred street.

—Oscar Wilde (1881), “Rome Unvisited”

Chi non la conoscerà, questa superstite terra,
come ci potrà capire? Dire chi siamo stati?

[How will they understand us, those who will not know
this survived land? How will they say who we were?]

—Pasolini, “A Bertolucci,” Bestemmia, 544

PEOPLE RARELY THINK about what a miracle a city is. The city of Rome, the original urbs, is a living miracle, incorporating opposite extremes of almost everything human beings have ever produced. Its endless and timeless beauty persists side by side with urban degeneration, pollution, and crime proliferation in some of Europe’s most desolate city areas, often built illegally. The warmth and openness of its inhabitants can turn into closure and xenophobia. With its chaotic traffic and the notorious loud talk of its inhabitants, with its manifold smells and noises, Rome can easily induce that “sensory overload” which Simmel described a century ago. Yet Rome is calm and relaxed in all its frenzy. The walking speed in its subway system is nowhere near that of Paris or London. Rome is a laboratory of intricate human relations and curious forms of sociability, of diffidence and civility, cynicism and humor, rudeness and kindness, a chaotic blend of distance and closeness, carelessness, apathy, and engagement which defines what every-

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