After months of hot weather (I exaggerate), the weather in Rome changed dramatically yesterday. It’s about time and just in time for our daughters to visit: Alison and her boyfriend arrive Thursday for week, and Kate’s here for a week beginning November 4. Fall is my favorite season—apples, pumpkins, autumn leaves, and the crisp nip in the air, at least in Virginia. Fall won’t be exactly the same in Rome, where October temperatures typically average a toasty 72 degrees, few deciduous trees are to be found in Centro Storico, and the apples are decidedly mushy.
During August Rome didn’t see daily temperatures below the mid- to high 90s (not my favorite), and Michael’s fellow workers kept apologizing, telling him that the summer was unusually hot. They could be right, since weather.com says that the average temperature in Rome in August is 87 and in September, 81. But I say ha!—more like an average of 95 in August and 88 in September! The past couple of weeks have been beautiful—low to mid-80s; brilliant blue skies; cool, invigorating evenings.
Yesterday shocked everyone! The high temperature reached a mere 72, a chilly wind whipped through the streets and alleys, and rain spit sporadically throughout the afternoon. After our Italian lesson I walked a couple of miles home around 5 p.m. (wearing long black denim pants and a short-sleeved black cotton blouse), and by the time I hit Campo de’ Fiori, tourists in their Bermuda shorts and tank tops were shivering, and Italians were wearing jackets and had scarves twined around their necks. I wasn’t a bit cold (after all, I grew up on the chilly Oregon coast), but the lavasecco signora kept saying, “Freddo, freddo!” and wrapping her arms around herself when I picked up Michael’s suit. I’d left the dining room window open, and when I got home, the floor was covered with sycamore leaves (made me smile!).
Today Michael went to Piazza Farnese to get his hair cut at 10 a.m., and I went Caffé Farnese for a cappuccino and a cornetto (the Italian version of a croissant). The temperature was about 65, but you would have thought it was a snowy day in January! People were huddled in coats, sweaters, and sweatshirts. One person in a sweatshirt had her hood pulled up, a scarf wrapped around her face, her hands buried in the pockets of her jeans, and her shoulders hunched up against the “cold.” Lots of people swarmed Caffé Farnese as usual on Saturday morning, but they all refused to sit in the shade. Freddo, freddo!
Now I know why the displays in the stores have changed. In the place of skimpy tops and blouses for women, we now see sweaters, scarves, and caps. When Michael was in Rome in mid-December 2010, it snowed one day. The Romans were thrilled, because the average temperature in December is 55, and snow is rare. I long to see Rome in the snow, although I bet the sampietrini are slippery!
Until then I’ll celebrate every second of fall! I’m so happy it’s here!