Rome Travel Guide

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Wednesday, July 15, 2009

The Devil Made Me Do It


If driving in Rome weren't so much a version of Dante's Ninth Circle of Hell, we might not have paid any attention to the business across the street from our apartment on via Ghislieri: Autoscuola Damiano--Damian's Driving School. Of course we've known our share of Damians and even, this time, a Damiano--regular guys, all. But as film buffs, when we looked at that sign we couldn't help but think of cinema's best known Damian--the Damien of The Omen, the 1976 film featuring Gregory Peck as an American diplomat who discovers that the little guy he tucks in bed at night is actually the offspring of Satan, destined to be the Antichrist (jeepers creepers!). Damien is even nastier than most small children, and before you know it, people have been thrown off balconies, decapitated by panes of glass and, worse yet, chased by Rottweilers. The mayhem extends to several members of the crew, who were involved in a head-on car crash (!) as shooting began.

That would all be mere coincidence, we suppose, except that The Omen was--you're not going to believe this--SET IN ROME. Yes, set in Rome. And Damien's mother (a jackal--what else?) was buried in an ETRUSCAN GRAVEYARD. Yikes!

So it wasn't so totally unreasonable that we had some fun in our delirium imagining Rome's driving wantabees picking up the fine points of Rome's manic traffic scene from a youngish instructor named Damian, horns poking out over the dashboard. Who better to show the novice how to cut off another vehicle than the Prince of Darkness? Who would know more about the art of permanent double-parking than Beelzebub? And Iblis (that's Islam's devil, in case you didn't know), master of that raised, cupped hand--the Italian version of "what the....."

Involved in an accident? As Flip Wilson's Geraldine would have said, "The Devil made me do it." Bill

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