A tiny positive thing to come out of the lockdown: My favourite bar, Roscioli Caffè, purveyors of Rome’s best cappuccino and pastry, has created a small outdoor seating area in front of the bar. It does feel slightly like I’m sitting sandwiched between several parked motorini and the morning traffic of Via dei Giubbonari, but still – being able to sit, even linger over a breakfast at Roscioli feels luxurious, considering that their pre-coronavirus norm involved wolfing down a cornetto in their narrow indoor space while twenty hungry people hovered millimetres away, eyes boring into the back of my head as they silently urged me to eat faster*.
Today, as I finished the last bite of my usual (cappuccino, pastry loaded with apples and cream), the woman at the table next to me pulled a small sketchbook and a pocket-sized set of watercolours out of her purse and began painting the scene in front of the bar. I’m not sure if she was a local or a tourist (tourists are slowly creeping back into Rome), but it felt good to see someone revelling in Roscoli’s newer, slower, more relaxed reality.
* Although I admit that I actually love the packed, frenzied atmosphere of Roman bars at breakfast time. Usually.