Ancora qui

by Alexandra



On a whim, I decided to revive this blog. I started it in September 2013, when I moved to Rome from London. Two and a bit years later, I’m still here.

My current job involves blogging about Roman history, Renaissance art, and Italy in general. It also involves contacting lots of bloggers, and browsing lots of blogs. There are an awful lot of blogs by expats in Italy. Too many, probably, but here I am. Back again.

Before I start doing the proper blogging, here’s an attempt to sum up the major life changes since I started and abandoned this blog in 2013.


End of 2013: I was living in Testaccio in a flat that I hated with flatmates I barely communicated with.

Beginning of 2016: I’m living in a different flat in Testaccio, close to the piazza. I love my flat, with my massive bedroom, sunny little kitchen, and the bathroom which, though shaped like a train carriage, is actually functional. Flatmates have come and gone, but with one exception they’ve all been lovely.


End of 2013: I was working as an English teacher at a language school, a job I really enjoyed.

Beginning of 2016: I’m working for a tour company. I was told that my job title was “content editor”, but sometimes I get called “marketing manager” and it scares me. I write tour descriptions and blog posts, and tweet trivia about Roman emperors and Renaissance artists. I miss teaching, but overall it’s been a good career change.

Social life

End of 2013: I had a few friends in Rome, but I was still panicking about my lack of close friendships, and regularly attending all those expat aperitivo events and random meet-ups in the hope of finding people I really connected with.

Beginning of 2016: I have lots of good friends in Rome. Inevitably, my friendships in Rome have replaced some fading friendships in England. I’ve stopped attending the meet-ups because I got sick of small talk and weirdos, but I wouldn’t write them off completely, as two of my closest friends in Rome are people I met at an Expats in Rome aperitivo.

Love life

End of 2013: Unhappily single.

Beginning of 2016: Happily not-single. I’ve been with Valeriano since November.


End of 2013: I knew the basics but couldn’t string a sentence together.

Beginning of 2016: My conversational Italian is pretty good, and I think I’ve done well considering that I’ve never had lessons, and that I’ve always worked in an English-speaking environment and lived with English-speaking people. I think my comprehension is good too, and I’ve read several novels in Italian. My writing is limited to basic emails and WhatsApp messages. Areas to improve are my pronunciation (molto inglese) and my grammar (wobbly).


End of 2013: I was finishing off my first novel, Hyacinth I.

Beginning of 2016: I’m trying to find an agent for my second novel, In Exile. It’s like a cross between The Bacchae, The Secret History and Heavenly Creatures, set in twentieth century Rome, with a depressed Dionysus and out of control teenage girls. I’m quite proud of it, but sadly no one seems interested . I’m still submitting it to agents, while trying to make a start on my third novel.

So, those are the ch-ch-changes that have taken place over the past couple of years. (The recent loss of David Bowie is another one, obviously, but I’d rather not dwell on that.)

Proper blogging will resume soon.