Rome was our city, it tolerated and coddled us and I too ended up discovering – despite the sporadic jobs, the weeks of hunger, the dark and humid hotel rooms full of jaundiced and brittle furniture like some obscure sickness of the liver – it was the only place I could have lived. And yet, when I think back on those years, I can’t remember more than a few faces, a few moments. There’s a particular inebriation to Rome that incinerates your memories. More than a city, it is a secret part of you, an animal hidden somewhere inside. And there are no half measures with her, either, it’s either head over heels or time to get going because, above all, the city demands devotion. But, in the end, this is the only tribute that will ever be asked of you […]. If you love her, she will offer herself up to you just the way you want, and you won’t have to do anything but float […]. And for you, then, those summer nights pierced with lights, those vibrant spring mornings, café napkins like women’s skirts blown about by wind, the biting winters and interminable autumns when the city seems powerless and sick, exhausted, swollen with the decapitated leaves you cover with your soundless steps. And for you, then, too the dazzling stairways and rushing fountains, the ruined temples and the now ousted gods’ nocturnal silences until time itself loses all meaning. And this is precisely how, day after day, waiting, you will become a part of her. And this is how you too will begin to feed the city until one sun-filled day, a slight scent of sea in the wind, you will look up at the sky and realize there is nothing left to wait for at all.
– Gianfranco Calligarich. L’ultima estate in città. Garzanti, 1973
(translation Misera e stupenda città)