Tabs on Writing

The Business of Business Writing by John Tabellione, Principal at

Arrivederci, Roma

Date: 11 August 2018
Category: Current Events, Entertainment, History, Homophones

As most people realize, the translation of the word, arrivederci, means “good-bye” in Italian, but translated more literally, it speaks thus: “until we see you, again”–in other words, a more genteel way to depart company.

One of the best ways to ensure that some day we will meet again–hopefully in Rome, Italy–is to toss a coin into the Trevi Fountain with one’s right hand over the left shoulder, a legend born from the movie classic, “Three Coins in the Fountain.” 

Originally, in 1629, the famous Baroque sculptor, Bernini (who also designed the canopy over the altar in St. Peter’s Basilica; the sculptures in the Piazza del Popolo and the Piazza Navona) began the construction project. Ultimately, over a hundred years later, the predominant designer became Nicola Salvi, who died eleven years before the fountain was completed in 1762.

The showcase sculpture within the massive monument/fountain is a statue of “Oceanus,” who is depicted riding on a giant clam shell and represents water in all its forms – rivers, oceans, lakes, etc. – not to be confused with Poseidon–the god who was able to control the sea; Oceanus was actually looked at as the deity that physically represented the sea.

This past Wednesday evening, at a time of day when the light makes the fountain a perfect backdrop, two tourists (one American, one Dutch) and six of their traveling companions added credence to this myth when they got into a brawl over where they wanted to try their luck and take a selfish selfie doing so. What started as an exchange of words became a physical fight when their respective family members joined in, startling onlookers.

Since they ultimately all got arrested–and more than likely never completed the drill of tossing the coin–each is now persona non grata in Roma, so they may never meet again to enjoy la dolce vita that Marcello Mastroianni and Anita Ekberg made famous in the movie of the same name.

Ciao for now!


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