Rome: a tale of two cities?In many major cities across the globe, there often exists a north-south divide which is not simply geographical.
While it is most commonly displayed as playful banter, such divisions are often fuelled by disparities in class and wealth.
In Rome, the stereotype persists that northerners are rich and snobby, southerners a little rougher round the edges, but warmer. Often, Roma Sud is also described as the ‘real’ Rome.
A web series, Romolo e Giuly, was created to poke fun at this Roma Nord and Sud divide, loosely based on Shakespeare tragedy, Romeo and Juliet – forbidden love between members of feuding families. And an app, Game of Rome, recently pitched Nord against Sud in a fun online battle to find the ‘bravest’ in each area through a photo competition.
But, following gentrification in some areas and the failure of local government to simply keep the streets clean, will this divide remain? Does it even really exist in the first place? We spoke to some locals in both areas to find out what they think.
Angela Rinaldi, 36:
“The main differences are that people living in Roma Nord are posh, the bars and clubs are more chic. But there are lots of clichés. The reasons people live in certain areas tends to be due to how much rent they have to pay and if their friends live nearby. People living in the South hang out in the South because of distance.”
Irmak Yaka, 29:
“The buildings, general view of the neighbourhoods seem nicer, cleaner and more elegant with respect to Sud.
“I can tell that people in Rome are all kind, sympathetic and charming. However, in Sud, it made me feel like the people can be quite more aggressive and impatient sometimes.
“When I was renting my home four years ago, I was not so aware of a Nord-Sud discrimination. I decided to live in the centre since the place where I would study was in that neighbourhood. Later that year, I did not change my place since it is a key area where you can connect anywhere and I like to be in the centre.”
Silvia Fiore, 28:
“I can say that people in the South of Rome are more friendly and supportive to each other. Plus in the South the prices are lower and you can have a nice aperitivo without paying a fortune as in Parioli for example.”
Roberto Angelo, 32:
“It’s mostly just playing around, a bit of stereotyping. But it is generally more what you might call working class in Roma Sud compared with richer Roma Nord where they drive sports cars and wear designer clothes. Everything seems more expensive in the north, even property is a lot cheaper in the south of Rome. But I think maybe in 10 years, we won’t see those differences anymore; things are changing. Developers are looking to Roma Sud to build luxury apartments because the land is cheaper there. And you see a few Mercedes and Maserati cars driving around Sud as well as Nord these days too.”
by Catherine Evans