Years ago, when I was a little pup, I tried to become an intrattenitore (in-tra-ten-e-tour-a) entertainer in Rome. You’ll find street artists at all the major tourist sites but also in off the beaten path areas where i locali (e low-cal-a) the locals live their day to day lives.
I often visited Rome with mamma or nonna, especially when they had friends who wanted to show them around the city.
At Piazza Navona, we often saw sketch artists and people on palafitte (pah-la-fee-tay) stilts. Others were dressed in different costumes depicting famous landmarks or historical figures. These people would often stand very still, just like statue (stah-two-a) statues, and you could barely see them breathing. They would wait until someone threw monete (mo-neh-tay) coins in a box in front of them and then they would bend down in thanks. That was scary if you weren’t paying attention. We saw several one dressed as the Statue of Liberty, and another dressed as a Mummia egiziana (moo-me-ah a-geez-e-ahna) Egyptian mummy when we walked through the Piazza del Popolo.
One day we passed by the Pantheon and there was someone who looked like they were sitting in mid-air. I am not sure how they did it but nonna and I watched for quite a bit as we both had some gelato. There were also a few fashionably dressed people without heads with funky glasses and dapper hats!
Of course, there are musicians of all types to entertain outdoors, and there are guys dressed up like gladiators at the Colosseum. You may chance upon un mago (oon mah-go) a magician or a puppet show set up to delight children and adults.
Another time we got off the train and left the Stazione Termini and saw a young man sitting by a church reading a book with a box out for people to throw in coins. Nonna whispered to me “Sara, you could do better than that. You love to dance and twirl, and you should audition to perform.”
The next day when nonna came home she brought me a costume. She dressed me up and I danced for her, and she told me people would love my “act.” Sadly, it was not to be. Mamma thought it was a bad idea because, as small as I was, she was afraid I might get hurt in a crowd of people. So, occasionally, nonna or mamma would dress me, put on music and ridere (ree-dair-a) laugh at my little show. I didn’t care, I was simply happy to be entertaining them!