The Rain in Italy Stays Mainly on the… wait a minute

It has been POURING here recently. During the days the skys have been evocatively cloudy, but in the afternoons and evenings the sky has erupted with torrential rains. Last night the near flood-level storm was even dubbed “Cleopatra” by the Italian media. Rain in Italy is unlike rain anywhere else. The cities are made of stone, there’s no grass or dirt to absorb the excess water, it just runs down the sidewalks and streets, making giant puddles. The rain also bounces back up off of the stone ground, so even if your umbrella saves you from the drops as they fall, they will get you on the rebound, which you can see pretty well here:

This was actually taken in Florence where I was luckily huddled under a loggia so I could take a photo. I haven’t been inclined to drown my camera here the last few days, so you’ll just have to imagine a similar scene in Rome.

Serious rain in Italy is something I’ve seen only rarely, since I’ve mostly been here in the summers. Stormy weather typically occurs in the fall and winter, when I have been led to understand the dampness is so pervasive it feels like it’s gotten into your bones. Italian life is  so geared towards being outside in the streets and piazze that the cities seem like ghost towns when it’s raining, though intrepid tourists often still make the rounds despite the weather.

Last night’s storm started while we were at a friend’s lecture, but waxed and waned while we road the bus back to our neighborhood. When we were about to leave the supermercato the deluge started in earnest and on the brief (about three minute) walk back to our house we both were soaked through to the skin despite my dear companion’s umbrella and my waterproof jacket. I have never in my life experienced rain like that and the forecast is calling for even more…


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