Just a few steps from St. Peter’s Square, here I sit (Carol) in awe of the depth, beauty and profundity of the Roman experience. I share my location and sense of awesomeness about Roma not to inspire envious drools of romantic getaways. Instead, context situates my fast-appreciation over the last many days of an Italian way: an embracing of the oft-Europen long view on, well, everything. What a stark contrast from the brief and short-view we U.S. American’s often take on, er, just about everything (architecture, faith, large cars, meals, etc etc).

What I will say quickly (so I can get on with our evening stroll, wine, pasta and gelato) is a quick and embarrassingly-brief summary of an informal ‘interview’ (okay, gregarious chat) with Andrea and Erica, the soon-to-be-married Italian/American couple found running a restaurant in the heart of Rome.

He, Andrea (on-dray-ah), comes from the Trastavere region of Roma. She’s from a small town outside of Detriot. He and she run a zero-impact Italian restaurant with a goal of only local, uber-healthy ingredients. Oh, and he’s an educator … both in his restaurant and at a local university.

Did we think such a place existed in Roma? You might have. But not me.

Happily situated in a nearly zero-tourist zone of Rome, La Fete Restaurant entered my life yesterday through a series of, yes, more fortunate events: a 5-hour cooking class in which I was the happiest of all ten giddy students. If this were a cooking or travel blog, I’d tell you all about the 5-course meal we joyfully prepared over a short 4 hours in this tiny, hot, glorious kitchen. And then I’d describe each delicioso bite consumed over the next two (wine pairings guided by our teacher? Of course). But this is a different blog, so I’ll resist.

What I will bullet are five intriguing insights about the “typical” Italian couple which, Andrea and Erica assure me, they are not:
1. Most couples have babies and cohabit well before marriage.
2. Most wait until theit mid/late 30’s to wed. Too expensive, they say. And maybe a few other variables (mammas, sons,???)
3. When they do marry, most cheat. Super common. Women don’t like it. But, well, it’s what they do.
4. Divorce is rare. “Too expensive. A very long process.” The no-fault divorce? Ha. Not a chance. And cheating must be a “fault?” Another ha. You need many more reasons than that, silly American researchers (my words, not theirs).
5. Communication in the Italian marriage? Lots of yelling! But that’s okay. You just have to know what it means (passion … excitement … caring … interest? That and more … just like Roma provides all of us, travelers and residents).

Happy couples: they’re everywhere! How lucky am I to have met yet another one in this divine and eternal city.

Ciao … and “Cin Cin!” to you, Andrea and Erica, and to all happy couples, everywhere.

(check back soon for photo of beautiful Andrea & Erica … and Carol who – ugh – doesn’t look so much so after sweating over that once-in-a-lifetime meal).