Welcome to Rome. The city where wherever you go, you will run into some kind of musical talent. Rome is a great city that has many different types of these musical performers.  I have seen them everywhere, on the bus, the tram, the metro, while you’re dining at a restaurant, when you’re walking down the street they are there; violin players, accordion players, guitar player’s even instruments that I have never seen are being played throughout all of Rome.  Although there are many different people with their instruments you seem to get familiar with “regulars.”  Some of these are fun to watch and listen to, however others are a bit what I would call bothersome.

Here in Trastevere (neighborhood we live in) we happen to have our regular, “the famous accordion lady”. The mornings are started up not by our day-to-day alarms but rather by the sound of the tram stopping right outside of our apartment. The tram stops, the doors open and out comes the sound of a forceful woman’s voice and the accordion. It would be great if each morning it were a different tune or song, but its every day it is the same old song at the same time. The greatest thing about “the famous accordion lady” is that if you are lucky enough you are able to catch her on the tram on your way to and from school.  Even though we do get bothered some by “the famous accordion lady”, I believe that she could have a great future like those of the musicians in the film L’Orchestra di Piazza Vittorio.

The film L’Orchestra di Piazza Vittorio is about a group of Italian artists and intellectuals who decide they want to save the old cinema Teatro Apollo. The group went around Rome to find talented musicians to create an orchestra. The artists were from different lifestyles, cultural traditions and religions that are interwoven in everyday Roman life especially in the quarter surrounding Piazza Vittorio, which is home to many immigrant communities.  This dream project began in 2001 and within several years, and after many difficulties they became successful.

Another artist that would be a great addition to such an orchestra is the violinist that also plays on the tram. He doesn’t play as often as the accordion lady does but he sure does know how to work the violin. However, the best guy that I’ve seen perform yet is one who plays on the street. He differs from those of the tram because he has people come to him drawn by the simplicity and awesomeness of his music.

In the end, I believe that if someone were willing to follow in the footsteps of L’Orchestra di Piazza Vittorio and continue bringing together Rome’s street musicians one could create a new and original group. They could start with the the violin guy,  the guy who plays on the street or even “the famous accordion lady’’. This could be the start of another successful story of how the city offers opportunities to combine different cultures and talents.




Interviewer: Ana Hernandez
What is your favorite outfit?
Dr. Stephanie Pilat: A skirt, Black sweater and boots.
If you could own and or make fashion for Rome, What would it look like?
Dr. Stephanie Pilat: It would definitely be more lively, more colorful, and with a lot more texture.
Do you dress according to where you’re going, like city state or country? Or do you carry your own style everywhere?
Dr. Stephanie Pilat: I carry my own style!


The sky was overcast, but it was still a beautiful Wednesday morning as I walked through the streets of Rome. Excitement built up inside of me as I started my way toward the Coliseum. I had already seen the Coliseum the day before, but it was at dusk. Today I would see it in a whole new light. Finally, I reached the end of the street and there it was the enormous beauty that seemed almost imaginary. I just couldn’t seem to grasp the reality that I am experiencing at this very moment. I have seen it; in movies, pictures, and books, but now I was standing next to the most famous example of Roman architecture. I didn’t want to leave; I wanted to embrace the outstanding architecture that had been here for centuries. In spite of this, I knew that I should keep going to see more of Rome! As I headed towards Via del Corso (Rome’s main shopping street that connects Piazza Venezia to Piazza del Popolo) I meandered through traffic and people. There was too much to see and admire. Trajan’s Markets on the left side, the Roman Forum on the right and every 10 feet I glanced back at the Coliseum growing smaller in the distance.  As I reached the end of the street I look to my left, a beautiful white building, wait I have never learned about this.

What is it? I quickly start walking towards it. I’m overwhelmed! Can I go inside? Whose is the statue? It’s huge!  This is impressive! How was this built? Thought after thought keeps racing through my head. Over and over the questions repeat; I have no answer but I want to know. How didn’t I notice this before, it’s enormous. It’s so perfect, crisp white, it looks brand new! Is it new? When was it built? Why is it so big? Wait, this is awesome! It’s huge, a bit frightening, but beautiful! It was a combination of mixed feelings. I didn’t really know what to think. There was so much going through my head it was impossible to determine what I really felt. I think I like it. The decision was then finally made…I LIKE IT! I like the beautiful white crisp structure best known as the Vittoriano or the monument to Italy’s first king, Victor Emmanuelle II. As the day went by, I kept thinking of how beautiful and massive the monument of Victor Emmanuelle II was rising above the city.

Days go by as I started to get better acquainted with Rome; I come to find that wherever I go the monument to Victor Emmanuelle II was there. It didn’t matter where or which way I walked in Rome, if it is up or down a hill, it was there. In a way it was nice because I could always pinpoint where I was. It became a landmark, and a beacon on orientation in the city. Conversely, after so long it started to become a distraction to every place I went. It became what Terry Kirk Terry called a “monumental monstrosity”.  Kirk analyzed the architecture of monumentality versus that of monstrosity. Kirk describes categorizes such architecture in three words: monstrosity, monumental and sublime.  Monstrosity is a combination of horrible, terrifying, tremendous qualities mixed with astonishing and marvelous aesthetics. Monumental derives from a concept of monsters that are created by men through our memories and thoughts. When I think of monumental I think large scaled, plain and for the most part monotone. These qualities evoke a bland but articulate visual that formulates of perceptions. As mentioned in Kirk’s article, monuments are the key/focal points for moral civil society. Sublime, is described “as a phenomenon of aesthetic philosophy as a field of shifting sentiment from a pejorative passion toward fascination that touches a nerve in the eighteenth century and set into motion a critical study of reception still relevant today”. However, in the context of architecture Kirk cites Burke who defines sublime as “when it fills the mind with that sort of delightful horror”. 1 Ultimately, the monument of Victor Emmanuelle II is what once had an astonishing impact of beauty that has now turned into a delightful horror!  It altered its surrounding landscape and solidified its existence through its enormous size and visual impact of the city fabric. Everywhere you go in Rome the two winged statues can be seen above the skyline, demonstrating the effects power has on society.

1 Kirk Terry : Monumental Monstrosity,

From Rome to Firenze: Kymber Kincanon’s Interview


Interviewer: Ana Hernandez

How would you describe Roman fashion compared to Florentine fashion?

Kymber: Firenze was more touristy and young, so I saw a lot more variety of style. As for in Rome, everyone wears those puffy jackets, so I don’t really know what their style is actually like.

What do you prefer in regards to Roman fashion vs. Florentine or even ours back home (America)?

Kymber : Firenze was less expensive, but they didn’t have entire districts devoted to shopping like Rome’s Via del Corso ect. For a college kid on a budget, Firenze was better, but when I get rich and famous, I’ll do my shopping in ROME.

Did you shop in Firenze? If so where?

Kymber: Of course, H&M, Zara, and a thousand different shoe stores before I found the perfect pair.!

Do you like Firenze more than you like Rome?

Kymber: Yep! I like Florence better for the good prices, and the style was younger! It suited my tastes better.

What do you like best about the fashion in Rome?

Kymber: Everyone seems to be really well dressed beneath those enormous winter coats. It’s seemed a little more relaxed in Florence. Rome just makes you want to be FABULOUS!

Student Interview: Lena Detter


Interviewer: Ana Hernandez

What would you describe your style of fashion?

Lena: I would describe my style of fashion as “Snappy Casual”, comfortable yet cute.

If you could shop anywhere in Rome without a budget, where would you go?

Lena: I would go down Via Condotti, where I could shop at Fendi, Max Mara, Missoni, and Zara. However, If they had Urban Outfitters or a Target I would be just as happy.

Who is your favorite Italian designer?

Lena: I would probably Say Missoni (Ottavio and Rosita) because of the patterns. His patterns are not kitschy or overplayed like Louis Viton and Channels patterns.

What is an Italian style that you do not see in America?

Lena: It seems like fashion is reserved for older women that have time on their hands. I haven’t really seen fashion, as in what I heard was the “bella figura”. I feel like fashion is hidden underneath all the marshmallow coats.

If you can change one thing about Italian fashion what would it be?

Lena: I want to see more fashionistas!