One huge scene in Rome is the ‘blogger/writer’ scene. Ever wonder who the people are behind the blogs and websites? Well I spoke to the… person… who runs BuzzInRome, a super useful and up-to-date site about Rome and its awesomeness.
Where are you from? I am from Rome, I was born here.
For how long have you lived in Rome? I spent most of my life here. Except for a year and half in London in the 1990s.
Which was the last restaurant in which you ate? Gaudì, in the Parioli area. They have Naples-style pizza, the real pizza. In Rome they make a thin, burnt crust they call “pizza.” (Yes! I like to call it cracker pizza, personally.)
Which was the last pub you went to? 4:20, near Porta Portese. They have a wide range of draft beers and an unusual choice of ciders. But there is also good food.
What is your job? I ask questions. Exactly what you’re doing with me! I am an economics/finance reporter for a national TV network. I also present the news, live. It’s an Italian channel.
For how long have you worked in this position? Nearly 8 years. But the last few months have been by large the most interesting and hectic because of Italy’s debt crisis.
What is your background? I studied international politics and I’ve always worked as an economics reporter.
Have you always wanted to write? No, not really. I actually never held journalists in high regard, but I then changed my mind when I realized that this is a very diverse job, never boring, and that news bureaus are very free and stimulating workplaces with people coming from different backgrounds willing to share their knowledge and views of the world.
How did you decide to get into your current role or area of work? It was pure coincidence. During my military draft I started as a part-time contributor for a newspaper and then got hired when a full-time journalist left it.
Why did you start a blog on Rome, in English? I love to travel. I’ve met and hosted many tourists here in Rome and I realized that they were missing the atmosphere and the magic of this city by visiting only the must-see sights. Our past is very fascinating and our ancestors did incredible things, but I think that Rome’s contemporary talent and lifestyle are equally worth a visit. I am trying to convince the international community that there is much more than the Vatican and the Colosseum to experience here.
And your other job? I consider BuzzInRome as my second job. It takes several hours a day. It’s not just writing, it is much more: creating an online community of Rome addicts, reading, replying to queries and trip advice, meeting people with new tourism-related ideas and projects etc….
What is the target audience of the blog? This is a very tricky question. My blog is aimed at both multiple-time Rome visitors and expats – workers and students. It is for those who want to enjoy our lifestyle, not for the average 3-day tourist.
What is your readership like? My readers are mostly women in their 20-30s, they all have a degree but are not big money earners (yet). It is more complicated to draw a profile of those who leave comments. It is usually people with a very in depth knowledge of the topic addressed in the story who want to share their insights.
What do you try to write about mostly? I mostly write about events. All and everything has been written on Rome’s landmarks. Very little is available in English on what goes on in Rome now, how Romans live, what they do in their free time: on the 21st century Dolce Vita. I focus on events that can be enjoyed by foreigners who don’t speak Italian.
How many articles do you try to publish every week? I don’t have a rule, really. It pretty much depends on how many events are taking place in a specific period in and around Rome and how much spare time I have. I’d say 3 on average.
Do people ever write to you asking you to cover a certain topic? If they do, would you do it? It’s happened sometimes. I’d do it if it is in line with the spirit of the blog.
What social media applications do you use? Twitter, Facebook, Stumbleupon and Foursquare. Twitter is great to get tips and updates. Facebook is good to create a community of people who share an interest. Stumbelupon increases the blog’s exposure. Foursquare shows where you go, what you do in your real life.
Which is the best way, in your opinion, to get your articles out there and seen? Writing about controversial issues helps a lot. But I prefer sober content and dry style. I want to inform.
What would you suggest to a tourist coming to Rome, before they get here? I’d suggest them to consider that Rome is overwhelming for quality and quantity of sights. Some reading before getting here would help them screen and choose: you can’t see everything in a city like Rome. I’d also recommend to leave some energy for the night, to enjoy a walk, and a glass of wine after dusk. Rome is full of people and energy at night. All year long.
What would you suggest to a tourist in Rome? Can I say what is not a must-see in my humble opinion? The visit inside the Colosseum. There is very very little left after centuries of pillages. The amphitheater’s beauty lies in the structure as such, which can easily be admired from outside, from the road. Why not spend those two hours in the Borghese Gallery, for instance?
Do you have any advice for someone that is looking to write about Rome, being in Rome, or things to do in Rome? Rome is a very chaotic, unorganized city, with poor communication in Italian, let alone in English. But there are so many nice events taking place everywhere in the city, without any coordination or underlying logic. Try to find them out and don’t limit yourself to the city center, (Trastevere ansd Testaccio). Another tip: Rome’s underground artistic scene is very lively and creative, but has nearly no media coverage.
Phew! Now I don’t feel so bad that I’ve lived in Rome for 2 years and never been inside the Colosseum…