An Italian IKEA

Do you remember the old saying, “The more things change, the more they stay the same”? That was our Saturday in a nutshell, because on Saturday we went to IKEA! We needed some things for our apartment, and I can’t think of anyplace better, can you? We live in the center of Rome, and Rome has two IKEAs, both on the outskirts of Rome. We chose the IKEA on the northeastern side of Rome, just off the A90 freeway that circles the city. We don’t have a car, so that made for an interesting trip.

We caught a bus to Termini, Rome’s central train station and the point where Rome’s two metro lines meet. We then caught the 38 bus to Porta di Roma, the big, upscale shopping mall in which IKEA is located. I got a seat, but Michael had to stand for the whole trip, poor guy. Because the 38 appeared to make only 10 or 12 stops, we thought we’d have a fast trip. Ha! Although the bus route signs in Centro Storico list the streets and the number of stops on each street, the 38 route signs list the streets the 38 stops on but not the number of stops on each street. About an hour later, we arrived. I have no idea where we were, but we rode through some really fancy neighborhoods. I nominate the Ernst & Young building en route as the ugliest building in Rome, at least so far—way too modern for the neighborhood.

Porta di Roma has every store you’d ever want, including a wonderful grocery store, Auchen, which reminded me of the largest supermarket in Tunis—everything from artichokes to zebra meat (I’m making this up)—with toiletries, kitchenware, and appliances thrown in for good measure. I wanted to explore, but we were on a mission!

The IKEA in Porta di Roma is the same as every IKEA you’ve ever been to, and it was crawling with people, of course. We stopped at the IKEA restaurant for lunch before we began our shopping. I always like the lox salad, so I grabbed one and promptly upended it into the refrigerator case! That shocked the heck out of me, but I just chose another one and kept going.

Our kitchen (before we moved in)

Much of our apartment was renovated using IKEA stuff. The kitchen was remodeled in 2008 with IKEA cabinetry and appliances, and we have IKEA shelving and rods in our closet, so we were able to add a few things that didn’t look out of place and will make the apartment work even better. Recycling is big in Rome, so we got recycling bins that mount on the under-sink cabinet doors—so much easier than the recycling bins that we had. We also wanted a dresser and a bathroom shelving unit, but they were too large and heavy to bring back on the bus or in a cab. We were disappointed, but as we were leaving, we saw a little business that makes next-day deliveries of your purchases. So we will go back to IKEA next weekend to buy furniture.

By the time we finished, we’d been away from home for six hours, it was really hot, we had three huge bags of goodies, and we were pooped, so we caught a cab home. That was a really fun trip as well, and it took us only a half hour, thank goodness!


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One Response to An Italian IKEA

  1. Michael Gehringer says:

    There’s something comforting about the sameness of IKEAs everywhere–same layout, same inventory, same odd names for things in completely different language contexts: Malm bedroom chests and Ekby Hensvik shelf brackets in the US are Malm bedroom chests and Ekby Hensvik shelf brackets in Italy. Sort of like McDonalds, only not so disgusting.

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