Streets in every city are different; I love streets. They represent not only civilization and utility, but also movement and the hyper unique facets of life cities thrive on. In Viterbo, the streets wind and curve in quilt-like patterns of organized chaos. They breath the essences of the city, and getting lost wandering through them is the only way to learn your way around. In the first few days I’ve spent in Viterbo I’ve seen streets of all kinds. There’s the main street between my house and Porta Romana, where constantly fighting fiats–because every other car seems to be a fiat–battle for the next spot behind a red light. There’s my street, where I live in a strikingly nice third floor apartment over the wailing and hollering and honking of the drivers who speed out of the old city and the laughter of the high schoolers when they go to lunch on the weekdays. My favorite are the streets within the city walls, where people strive to stay organized in chaos. Last friday night was my first night wandering the streets of Viterbo. Luckily I had a group of guides with knowledge of the winding pathways, who showed me to a bar with a live band. Live music is one of the better things humans can do, and finding it the first night here struck a note with me that I’ll never forget.
After that night, I started learning the streets for myself. Inside the walls, I wandered around in sprinkling rain and ripping wind. Sitting in a piazza or a cafe in town with my journal and a cappuccino is a life goal I’ve been harboring since I was a child, and Viterbo has offered me the chance to complete this goal over and over again. I walked with my roommate and our cameras one day during lunch, trying to find the best place to take a picture of the rooftops of our new city, instead finding multiple dance schools and streets thinner than anywhere else in the town. One particularly homesick night I walked around alone, purposefully turning down new alleyways and trying to confuse myself, only to find that I was learning the streets much better than I was giving myself credit for. I’ve walked from the university (where streets are just as dangerous) to the Ipercoop three times in three days, enjoying the park in the middle, the cliche shops on both sides of the streets, and the massive grocery store aisles that mirror the coordinated disarray of the avenues themselves. This morning, I’ll walk down side streets and through a hole in a castle wall where I always feel like I’m about to be hit by (another) Fiat, and last night I walked down streets until I found a do it yourself coffee vending machine and a Kinder Bueno candy bar.
The cobblestone is doing irreparable damage to my knees, the winding streets are irrefutably confusing my mind, and the graffiti spattered across the alleyways is art unlike I have ever seen. The streets of Viterbo scream passion, adventure, and my first week here has been hand in hand with the streets I’ve been wandering. I can’t wait to wander them more.
My name is Hannah Williams, and I’m an American student from California and Colorado. Viterbo is a big city compared to my hometowns, and I love the language, food, and culture of the ancient community. I speak Spanish and am here to learn to speak Italian, as well as write, read, and understand the beauty of my favorite Romance language. I have worked for multiple magazines and newspapers through my home university, Humboldt State University, and I spend my days managing a band, studying words, and eating all the time.