Sunday, 29 July 2007

Lifestyle envy

As a rule I should very much not like to live on one of those little gated burbclave type deluxe estates. But I have to say that I might make an exception for the one I saw last night.

Inheriting, some five years ago, a large patch of land on a wooded hillside off the via Aurelia in western Rome, a part of the city I don't know well up behind the Vatican, the boss of a local building firm decided to both build himself a house and set himself up for life. He built nine huge villas, each divided in two, each different in shape and style but loosely similar, endowed with loggias and balconies and painted the same shade of soft yellow. They have individual gardens and terraces, whilst between the houses and along the short roads are mature Mediterranean pines and flourishing oleandas. The views off the whole estate are spectacular, as you look out over an expansive green valley. The houses are loosely grouped around a 30m swimming pool, a 5-a-side football pitch and a tennis court in the centre. The chap who built the place kept one entire double villa for his family, living in one half with his wife and younger kids, giving the other half over to his adult son (now 28). The other places he sold for what I can only imagine to be truly offensive sums of money. Incidentally, I think that the inclusion of the calcetto pitch is deeply Italian. Luxury villa developments in the UK, I'm sure of it, would perhaps have included tennis courts, but not the 5-a-side pitch.

Anyway said adult son, Gabriele, is best mates with the sister of a colleague of my flatmate. Confusingly. So we were there for a party to celebrate someone's graduation and someone else's birthday. As an aside, can I ask why no-one ever invited me to parties hosted by single, handsome, toned, intelligent, Roma-supporting architects with their own enormous villas when I was also single? It was the kind of party at which people casually mixed up vats of caipirinha ('yeah I think there's a case of cachaça* under the kitchen table, will you grab me that bag of limes'), where there were more bottles of prosecco than guests, and the house was filled with tables groaning with cheese and salami and salads and nibbles. The party sprawled through the multi-level gardens, with dancing on the terrace: there was a DJ, an up-and-coming Italian hip-hop type sang a few of his songs (not bad, considering), disco lights, those huge outdoor citronella candles everywhere, and then sun-loungers to retire to when it all got a bit strenuous. Should we take something, I'd asked my flatmate on the way over there, should we take a bottle or two of wine? (It was about half-eleven, since we'd only got back home from our day lazing on the beach at about 9pm.) No, he said, I don't think that will be necessary. Ah. Indeed not, it turned out.

[*fun with spell-check: would you like to change cachaça into Dachau? er, no thanks.]

It was also the sort of party at which B-list celebrity neighbours drop in, like Roman comic Max Giusti, and a couple of other guys off Quelli che il calcio, like Massimo Caputi who also did L'Isola dei famosi. (Sadly La Ventura did not put in an appearance, however). Other guests included implausibly glamorous Russian blondes with waist-length hair and a hip-hop producer from San Diego. After the eating, drinking, dancing etc there was 4am swimming (happily I had been warned and so had a cossie with me) and pool-based silliness. It was, all in all, the sort of party which the likes of me don't normally get invited too. So yeah, lifestyle envy. (The villa, incidentally, would have looked *so* much better with its walls lined with history books.)

Ah well. Today I am mostly downloading interesting CCCP propaganda posters and translating press releases about hairdressing.


Paul de Man said...

To contextualise, this is from the woman of whom I man I deeply respect once said, 'Spangles, you have the most extravagant lifestyle proportionate to your income of anyone I have ever met.'

Much love-


Spangly Princess said...

ah, I should mention that the total cost of the evening to flatmate and myself was €3.50, which was the cost incurred by standing breakfast to the chap who gave us a lift home at half six.

I forgot to mention the full moon and the scent of flowers in my original post.

TrentToffee said...

...but is he happy ? Hmmm ?

Off topic but, I noticed that you made your debut in this months edition of Calcio Italia. Congratulations. It was a good solid start. I hope it's the first of many. More importantly, I hope that you got *paid* for it. If so then I might start buying it again.

Anonymous said...

Lifestyle envy? I wouldn't mind living in Rome and translating press releases about hairdressing.

I love this blog. Why didn't I discover it sooner?

Spangly Princess said...

TT, payment is under negotiation, but yeah. I shall see if they might like more regular stuff, 'twould be good.

Anon, welcome, glad you like the blog. If you are you going to leave comments in the future you will have to somehow identify yourself!that way can keep track.

ginkers said...

I have a set of kiddies goals and a football in my back garden, does that count?

Also saw the article, nice one! May there be many more, I will raise a glass to toast your success at joining such a band of illustrious contributors...

Romanista said...


Glad to replace my anonymity with a Roma-centric username. Though it may be a bit OTT considering I am hardly a die-hard fan. (3 games attended in 33 years).

Aussie Romanista said...

You make my life sound boring. That's it... Princess I'm coming and moving in!

and since Trent mentioned Calcio Italia, I'll have a crack. They are wankers! I signed up last August as soon I saw the August 06 issue on Channel4 with Cannavaro kissing the world cup trophy on the cover. Thinking I'd get that issue. First issue i got was Septemeber, and I've emailed about 3 times asking to please send me the August 06 issue (which they still advertise on the back issues page) and I'll pay for it, but each time they say they haven't got any. Plus I get it a month after it comes out, plus they sent me a letter saying that my next issue (July - which just arrived) will be the last one of my subscription, which will total 11 issues, not 12. FUCK THEM!