Today’s MOSTLY TRUE SHORT STORY: A Night in Trastevere

Frank LoBuono
3 min readMar 23, 2023


Well, here I am again, alone in a magical spot, not by design but by circumstance.

I’m drinking delicious red wine while sitting outside in a tiny, relatively quiet café, deep in the heart of an otherwise buzzing Trastevere. In an odd coincidence, great American Blues is playing in the background. I tell the owner, me piace la musica!

So far, Rome has been her magical self; full of surprises and contractions. She’s dirty, rude, ancient, sublime, frenetic, frustrating, and fantastic. In just 3 days here I’ve already experienced so many highs and lows. It’s definitely a love/hate relationship.

The Romans themselves are very much like their city: awful AND wonderful, both at the same time — much like we New Yorkers. I think that I may actually love the place. It may be a hell of a lot older than New York but one thing is for certain — their ‘tude is pretty much the same as ours!

They call it the Eternal City, and for good reason. The place seems to be mostly in an eternal state of mass confusion and decay. Yet, it not only survives, but thrives and continues. Around every corner I find another vestige of long gone glory. They drive like savages and can manage to squeeze a car into a parking spot the size of a shoe box. And, EVERYONE smokes cigarettes like fiends. EVERYONE. It’s quite a turnoff for me to see an exquisite woman, dressed impeccably, burn one as she sashays by.

As I sit and sip, a couple of young women, speaking in their native German, take the small table next to me. The difference in the Italian language and German is of great contrast to me. Even when the Italians are loud (often), the sound and melody to their speech has a calming rhythm to it. On the other hand, the Germans, even when whispering, seem to be shouting.

I continue to sip, listen, and observe. Then, at one point, the bartender, waitress, and, obviously, a regular patron, decide to come outside and stand nearby my table to have their conversation — and, of course, their CIGARETTES. They happily drag away, filling what was once sweet night air with a suffocating layer of smoke.

I quietly take my last sip, raise myself out of my chair, and make my way back to my hotel.

Ah, Roma, I love you so!