When in Rome...

by Imani Tahira 3 months ago in travel

do as the Romans do

When in Rome...

Travel Blog: Imani Tahira, 2019. #WhenInRome #tahiratravel #italia #travelblog

What does that even mean in modern day Rome?

And who are these Romans, you might ask?

Of all the various cities I have visited in my short life, I have never met a city so inundated with cultural complexities. The disparities between the young and old, local and foreign, historical and avant garde, graceful and gritty, Rome has a peculiar juxtaposition between all said things.


RIOT . Rome, Italy. Imani Tahira, 2019

I’ve experienced the perplexities of friends and foes unable to grasp my love for the world…

In every place I hold dear, I’ve been asked this question…

“Why do you want to live HERE?”

Trust no one. Rome, Italy. Imani Tahira, 2019

That’s a great question…

I’m still trying to figure that out!

Should I tell them?

Why not…

When I think of Italia...

Take the narrow road. Rome, Italy. Imani Tahira, 2019

I see streets rich with texture,

modern art meeting

ancient architecture

with cobblestone paths

and aged patina


I hear the rhythm

of footsteps, young and old,

that have tread each road

throughout history


I smell the unique mix

of fumes and fine spices

coupled with cappuccino

and afternoon breeze


I taste rosemary tagliatelle

and vino rosso

finished with endless

gelato and refreshing



I feel centered…

as the sunlight

squints my eyes…

right at home.

I see. Tivoli, Italy. Imani Tahira, 2019

Is there unrest?


But what nation, better yet, what human heart does not face unrest?

I’d consider it as uneasy as a family reunion… where you are just not too sure what dynamics will be present this time…

Rome, Italy. Imani Tahira, 2019

I’m asked this question often:

How do you deal with the racism in Italy?

My response is rather simple:

Um… I’m from America!

Interestingly enough, most people don’t understand the validity of that response. The perception we have of each other is skewed with assumptions and misappropriated interpretations of history. We all just need to sit down at one table and discuss our stories… it’s only then that we can find our thread of similarity and commonality. For example, EMPATHY is a gift I was given… however, I still have to utilize it in order to affect change around me. What better place to knit the hearts of man toward one another than in the center of the ancient world (I feel like the Avengers, seeking to go back in time to affect the future! #nospoilers).

Walking around and seeing SO many cultures packed into a relatively small city reminds me of the power of influence. From far and wide, it is a safe assumption to say that every inch of this world is represented here. That includes every judgement, political opinion, misconception and insecurity. It’s not surprising that friends and allies are concerned for me… the Black American, coming into a modern day race war. I was on the metro with two other American friends (of the Bianca persuasion…). Mid-conversation, an Italian woman turns to me, grabbing my shoulders saying, “Your English is so good!” Come again? I was stunned. Honestly, my first thought was that she said, “Your Italian is so good…” (which it is NOT!) but then I realized she said English… I was like… “You must have me mistaken." OH YES!!! You think I’m African (*insert African country of choice*)! I often have to be careful how I’m walking past people, as the assumption is that I’m a desperate and deceiving refugee. What a way to see the vast variety of perspectives in this beautiful and complex city.

Piano Piano . Rome, Italy. Imani Tahira, 2019

You often find yourself

in the faces of those

you are surrounded by

So I’ve chosen to love them…

For they deserve love in the same way that I do.

They just don’t know it yet.

How does it work?
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Imani Tahira

All things creative, I am an artist, educator and advocate, seeking to provide a safe and innovative environment to enable creatives. Whether it's commissioned choreography or creative mentoring, I am happy to offer my services.

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