Graffiti on buildings older than my home country

Some may see it as shameful and degenerative, but i think it is a generational stamp on structures that have lived before us and hopefully long after.

A complex mix of urban and ancient, Rome is my ultimate city. I come from a very small, suburban town in the United States, a country that has existed as we know it for less than 400 years. Leaving everything I knew to chase what I’d read about in history books seemed like the perfect idea, and I could not have picked a better city to catch my fall. Rome is famous for its art, food, culture, architecture, fashion, and little bits of each category run through every fiber of the city. But at the same time, Rome is gritty. It’s public services are suffering, the city is deteriorating, and the economy is in looming danger. But living here on a student visa means that I’m really only impacted to the extent of overflowing dumpsters and the better-late-than-never buses.

To say that the city has seen a lot would be a grotesque understatement. Rome rose and fell, experienced supreme enlightenment in the Renaissance period, writhed under Fascist rule - and it shows. Each of these periods added something to Rome’s topography. Graffiti, although it is widely thought of as degenerative and disrespectful, I think of as art in a raw form - messages from this generation about their beliefs, their needs, and their protests. All upon walls that have lived long before us and will hopefully live to speak after we’re gone.

There’s no telling who you’ll meet in Rome. It is one of the top tourist destinations that most strive to visit sometime in their lives, so I get to meet people from every corner of the earth, as well as see a constant flow of familiar faces, visitors, or the occasional run-in with a friend of a friend from my hometown.

Roman social culture is rich with traditions and behavioral colloquialisms, like their love for football - and football rivalries - and their nightlife, which consists of edgy techno clubs and posh bars. Wine is ritual, and every meal is a celebration - something much different from the constant rush of life in the United States.

The day I came to Rome, I suddenly became totally independent and since have had all sorts of obstacles thrown at me, but also managed to find a family of incredible people from all over the world, and have learned a lot from them and this city. Despite the unignorable Italian nationalism in the air, the city is home to a diverse and astounding collection of people. The daily flow of life includes some of the most intriguing characters around every corner.

2019. In collaboration with the American University of Rome.