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The joys of apartment-living, Italian-style.

Your neighbour fulfils that old cliché of living on top of each other, by expressing her passions between the hours of 12 and 2am as she climbs on top of someone else.

In the car park downstairs, you come across several pairs of knickers, and even a set of false teeth, which have slipped from grasping fingers on the 6th floor.

You get the great pleasure of going to the loo in the middle of the night and hearing your neighbour doing the same.

The telephone rings and you will rush to answer it thinking “Finalmente! – I have friends and they are phoning to invite me out for tanto vino rosso on Saturday night!” followed by the realisation that it was your neighbour’s phone ringing, not yours.

Next, you run to the call of the ‘citofono’ (buzzer) to hear the dulcet tones of La Posta (the post lady) who is surely bringing a large parcel of joy from the homeland (Barry’s Gold Blend? Tayto? a Curlywurly???) but no, she just wants to be buzzed in through the communal front door.

You notice that fellow residents believe their balcony to be enclosed by an invisible sound/sight-proof shield, which enables them to express themselves in all manner of ways, including some ‘expressions’ that might be best dealt with in the bathroom.

The lift breaks down on a fairly regular basis and you are ever so grateful you live on the 3rd floor, not the 7th – with a babe-in-arms and a buggy.

At least one of your neighbours will be the resident ‘Gattara’ – the cat-lady, who kindly feeds & cares for the multitude of strays. They, in turn, kindly leave offerings of gratitude in the communal front garden.

‘Safety first’ is a phrase that will cross your mind every time you and your dog go flying in opposite directions on a wet-tiled floor, left by the ruthlessly efficient cleaning ladies.

Your neighbour fulfils that other old cliché about apartment-life by arguing with her current squeeze in a high-pitched, demonic manner, directly above your head and also between the hours of 12 and 2am (but probably just prior to the incident described at the top of this post)

NB. If the apartment block happens to be the former family home of your spouse, you derive some comfort from slowly piecing together the histories and mysteries of its residents, safe in the knowledge that they know zilch about you 🙂



  1. I experienced point number 1 in the States where my apartment walls were so paper thin that I could hear someone snoring upstairs. This made me conscious of how much noise I made as I knew that the snorer upstairs could also hear me. It was a pain!

  2. My favorite part is being so excited to run and answer the phone, only to realize it was the neighbors! There is something strangely satisfying in “slowly piecing together the histories and mysteries of its residents”. I once lived in an apartment complex where I drew a map to keep it all straight. : )

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