I have arrived. It took one 3.5hr flight to Philadelphia then an 8.5hr flight to Rome, and now I am in Hotel Miami on Via Nazionale in Roma (that's right, nazi street). Being a 6'4 obese american, I am entirely unable to sleep on a plane, so I arrived at 8:15am Rome time quite tired. Luckily I had an anonymous aged italian grandmother/formula 1 race car driver to bring me to the hotel.
After making the 48 point turn to get out of the parking space she was wedged into, she flew headfirst into traffic and quickly proved herself to be the most aggressive driver on the road, and that is saying something in a country like Italy, where traffic laws are considered mere suggestions. She took a yard and gave not even an inch, and made steady eye contact with every other driver on the road while simultaneously honking the horn and gesturing some as-of-yet untranslated but tranparently demaning insult.
Just about the only thing that can get an experienced italian driver to slow down (but not stop) is a local pedestrian. You can tell the locals because they play a high-stakes game of chicken with the drivers that involves them blindly walking into the street without looking up, just daring the drivers to run them down. Tourists always look up. Amateurs.
But the true daredevils are the moped drivers, almost always clad in armani suits and weaving through traffic from the friendly right lane to the no man's land, tempting oncoming traffic. Their smaller size means they can move at full speed when all others are at a standstill, and take full advantage of their insanity. The drive took thirty minutes and I am shocked that I didn't see at least four well-dressed corpses in that time.
I will try to give another update in the next few days once I make it to the villa, where I anticipate my mentality will change from common tourist to relaxed aristocrat. I can't wait.