To dress improperly in Italy is to ask to be shunned. One does not wear “active wear” on the street unless one is working out. And, as I discovered the hard way, one does not do such a vial act as run on the streets of Rome. Running is done in the park or in a gym… only.
There is little forgiveness given to those persons actually walking to the required park in which to run. Piercing stares from un-approving Italians at all socio-economic levels are to be expected until the running actually begins. At that point there seems to be a collective sigh of relief from the Italian citizens keeping guard of decorum while sitting on the park bench; each seeming to turn to their fellow sentinels and nod as if to say, it’s okay. It’s okay. She’s running.
The disapproval starts again when one reaches the 2 block threshold outside of the park. The other day, a garbage man looked at my sneakers and shook his head in disgust.
I understand that appearance is paramount in Italy but, really, must I be treated like a leper while clearly heading to and fro a little healthy recreation?