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Multi-Cultural Rome

Posted on Jul 4, 2009 | 7 comments

Today is the 4th of July, and in honor of this I’m posting about one aspect you hear about all the time when growing up in America or learning about America. This is the so-called “melting pot” phenomena of people coming from around the world and settling down to make their lives in the US. This photograph, taken while waiting for the tram on the via Prenestina, is my own little version of Rome’s “melting pot.” I was first taken with the man in the African print outfit, and then more people arrived, including the strikingly elegant woman. Like many things about Rome, you do have to move to the exteriors to see it, but there are thriving multi-cultural communities in the city. This is something that has interested me more and more over my years here and I’ve posted a few times about issues of immigration, discrimination, and different cultures here in Rome. I think it’s important that not just Italians have a “voice” in the photos on this blog, but that all the people that live here do, as they are often kept out of the media and/or shown only in a bad light. And the more people experience new things, the more they can understand something that is not their own. Right now some of the easiest ways to see and experience different cultures in Rome is to do to some of the ethnic restaurants in the city. Haha, you’ll notice there’s not an “American” one on the list, because I haven’t found one that lives up to my standard yet! Add your favorites in the comments.

Shawarma Station (via Merulana 271 – Esquilino) – The best, hands down. Cheap and delicious. If I lived closer I’d go all the time.
Sahara (viale Ippocrate 43 – Piazza Bologna) – I had my first taste of Ethiopian food here and it’s amazing.
Sala Thai (via Topino 33C – Corso Trieste) – The only place I’ve had decent Thai food in Rome. Unshockingly it’s located near the Thai embassy.


  1. I love their outfits! If I had my way, I'd be wearing clothes like that everyday.

    I believe there's a large Filipino population in Rome too, but I think they're still mostly domestic helpers, though more and more service industries are hiring non-Italians. I'd love to see the day when race, color and religion just don't matter at all.

  2. Hi Hilda – Yes, there is a very large Filipino community here! As you point out, many are domestic helpers, which is a roll a lot of non-Italian communities fill. You'll find a lot of Romanian and Polish women, as well as people from Bangladesh and Sri Lanka that also fill that roll. The service industry is hugely staffed by non-Italians as well. You'll find many as the barrista in the cafe or as the pizzaiolo making pizza, so actually carrying on the Italian traditions. My hope is as more non-Italians have children who grow up here, they will have the possibility to spread beyond into the professional world.

  3. Stimulating! Great photography! Reminds me of childhood sights in Niagara Falls, New York. I used to see people in garb from other countries, always during "tourist season". What a great way to grow up – exposed to the world in the days before the advent of television!

  4. Nice people ! ๐Ÿ™‚

  5. What? McDonald's won't do? LOL!

  6. Always nice to meet the locals, wherever they are from originally.

  7. Almost70 – Thanks very much. Interesting observation about Niagara Falls. I actually visited as a child and have nice memories of it. It's a bit harder here for people to be exposed to different cultures because I don't think Italy is quite at that stage yet, but it's getting there.

    Saretta – Haha….definitely not!

    Steffe – Yes, very much so! Those of us from other countries help contribute to the fabric of Rome as well. ๐Ÿ™‚

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