When I was in Rome I thought that there wasn’t any other place like Rome, now I am in Vienna and I think that there is no other place like Vienna. This doesn’t mean that I prefer the first or the second, in fact, if after finishing university I was offered a job in Rome, I would go for it; same thing for Vienna. As I once said to a friend who was asking exactly this question, Rome is the eternal city and Vienna is an imperial city and I simply can’t choose between the two. Even though they are two completely different capital cities, there are some things that I appreciate in both of them.
The sun and the wind
It might sound funny, but even though Vienna is a lot norther than Rome, the two cities are equally sunny, but in two different ways. In Rome it is very difficult to actually see the sky covered in clouds (in Milan during the winter it is the opposite: it is hardly possible to see the sun at all) because of the wind that blows from the sea. Vienna is possibly the windiest city in the world (even though I remember the wind that blew in San Francisco as pretty strong) and I don’t think I have ever had one day without seen the sun. Yes, Vienna is like this: it might be the worst day ever, but you just know that at one point the sun will come out. However, it also true the opposite: it might be the sunniest day ever and in two minutes, without really knowing how it happened, and before you know it, you are completely wet because of a shower. Another awesome thing of the Viennese wind is that no matter in which direction of the Ring you are going, the wind is going to blow in the opposite direction. I assure you that when you are by bike it is simply terrible, but also kind of funny.
Another thing that the two cities have in common are the the hills. As I am Italian, I have known since elementary school that Rome was founded on seven hills. When I went there, I found out that there are definitely more than seven hills, in fact it is almost impossible to go to a place without walking up and down a hill. The awesome thing about this is that there are hundreds of places where you can go up to have a view of the whole city. Vienna is very similar, but, of course, also very different. Vienna is an extremely hilly city and I found it out when I first took the city bike to ride around the city. Now, when I need to go somewhere, I don’t take the shortest way, but the one that has less hills between me and my final destination. For example if I had to take the shortest way to go from my house to my best friend’s house, I would have to ride up and down on two hills, while if I take a longer way, I only have one slight uphill pendency. I assure you that it makes a lot of a difference.
You don’t know the meaning of an open sky museum until you visit Rome. In fact when I was there, I simply walked (or rather, I rolled by roller) next to ruins while I was going to work and I would ask myself “what is this?”, so if I had time, I stopped, I looked on google maps (blessed be google maps!) and I touched the little dot next to me: a 2050-year-old Roman aqueduct. You have to admit that it is pretty cool. As I have already said, there are also museums everywhere and when I will go back there (because one day I will go back there!), I will finish to go to all museums. It is needless to say that Vienna is also full of museums: the treasures of the Imperial family practically fill four museums. There are also many different exhibitions in each museum. Not to mention churches: in Vienna, exactly like in Rome, there is probably the highest church-population ratio than in the rest of the world. On its side Rome has the Vatican, so it is difficult to compare in this case. Furthermore, if I had to talk about the theaters, I would probably occupy ten other pages: both cities have the most awesome theaters, even though this time I have to admit I have a preference: the Wiener Staatsoper, the best opera house, where I have ever been.
I would really like to finally get rid of this stereotype that whoever speaks german is a jerk because it’s not true and is definitely offensive. It would be like saying that all Italians are mafia people: none of us likes to be associated with mafia, so I don’t see why we should say that german speakers are not nice people. In fact, I have never met an Austrian who has been rude to me: they have always helped me understanding things, always been very nice. It is true that they are different, though. We are more open people than them; however I don’t really see a lot of differences between a busy person from Milan and a busy person from Vienna: they are both quick and immediately get to the point not to loose time. People from the south have always told me that in the north we are very cold and that they are more open. My personal opinion is that as long as someone tries to explain me where I am if I am lost, or slowly repeats how much it is the food I bought, I am good.
I guess that the moral of this all story is that the “different” (with regard to people, peoples, cities, Countries, ect) is not better or worse, is just different. I have to admit that this is one of the cornerstones of my philosophy of life, if I can dare to call it so.