"Imagine being three thousand years old. Suppose by some mysterious process you had managed to avoid the limitations of mortality, and year after year you keep going, adding more and more experiences to your life story until you have no choice but to repeat them because you have exhausted all possibilities.
You are the very essence of what it means to be human. You have had more than your share of victories and defeats, triumphs and tragedies, moments of glory and those of abjection, times when you wish you had never been born, and times when you want to go on forever. You have loved and lost, have abandoned and been left behind, been rich and poor, skinny and fat, lived high on the hog and been forced to scramble for a few morsels of stale bread. You have seen it all, done it all, regretted it all, and then gone back and done it all again.
You are la citta' eterna, Rome, the Eternal City.
To live in Rome is to have the capacity to endure everything life has to offer -- moments of timeless beauty followed by torrents of ugliness, the bella and the brutta mixed together in a bowl of hot minestrone that has left nothing out, that encourages you to live life from a completely different perspective. There is no more mature place on earth, and that maturity has something to teach you. Other cities may be older, but Rome still lives its past. Walk anywhere in the city or the areas surrounding it, and within minutes you are confronted with the remains of something that could be up to twenty-five hundred years old, that functioned and was vital to the daily life of the romani....
This is Rome and the Romans who live in it, a city and a people of contrasts and effusion, a place that has lived so many different lives, in so many different epochs, that all it wants to do now is exist in eternity according to the wisdom of what it has learned. The lessons are obvious. Life is to be lived passionately, excessively, publicly -- in bars, restaurants, streets and piazzas -- applying charm and style mixed with a healthy respect for tradition. Romans have big appetites, for theatrical experiences as well as exquisite food."