Rome from Home, Mystery of History

About three weeks after leaving home I reached Rome and spent a few days in Camp Nomentano. The shed beds were cheaper than pitching a tent, so I took that option. It turned out to be good on a social level too, as there was a cool crowd of people there. It was my first community away from home, and one I look back on with nice nostalgia. There was hot sunshine, and Rome being on the doorstep was a bonus.

Idyllic History Time Blurred but Still Recognisable 

Knowing more about humanity now, I wonder how long it would have lasted, and put the good atmosphere down to the time and place, rather than any inherent goodness in or about anybody. It was a great time because it was brief and shallow, without work or competition, new interactions with people who shared my old dreams.

It was special to me because it was my only such experience in my travelling around Europe, before reaching the stationery worker-traveller communities on Crete. For the others I met at Camp Nomentano maybe it was just another campsite; one of many they stayed at in Europe; or just another weekend for those staying longer, like the busking team.

But however much I try and diminish it, with the benefit of 30 years worth of experience and knowledge, now living in middle-aged grumpiness, knowing some of the current young hunt people like me with the ferocity of rabied rats; as I then viewed older people!; unable or unwilling to recognise anything other than their own disgusting desires (money, sadism etc), it still sparkles in my memory like the sun through greenY leaves while lying in one of the hammocks revelling in youthful laziness.

Here’s some photos, flyers and receipts from my time when Rome became my first home from home:

Rome Campsite, 1987, Photos

I’m in the green in front of our ‘shed’, with the sunshine and trees visible in the background. Homophobic conspiracy theorists will probably consider it evidence of gayness, but I put my distraction down to my self-diagnosed ADHD.

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My fun-loving-not-caring-about-acting/looking-the-fool personality was evident in this photo too, when I fumbled over taking the photo, but that brought out an even better one; I think, not remembering the original; with much merriment amongst my fellow travellers:

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Rome, 1987, Campsite Flyer

Here’s the flyer for the camp:

Rome (3)


Rome, 1987, Campsite Receipts


Rome (2)

4 thoughts on “Rome from Home, Mystery of History

  1. I worked for three months at Camping Nomentano in 1985, so your photos bring back memories. There were a lot Iranians living there at the time, including Majid and Mahmoud. The owner, Cesare, drove a red Ferrari and had a young Spanish girlfriend. His sister and her son also looked after the place.

    I was on my way back to the UK after bumming around Greece (mostly Crete), Turkey and Israel for 2.5 years, picking up work where I could. It was the perfect coming-of-age experience and cemented within me the need for adventure. I left the UK again in 1987 and have never lived there since. In 2015/16, I cycled from Tokyo to London. I currently live in a remote mountain village in Japan.

    All the best,


    1. Thanks Clive. Must have been good working there for three months. I later did Greece, Turkey and Israel too, and worked for three months on Crete. Lot of people doing that circuit, as well as bulb work in Netherlands in the late summer. Big cycle trip must have been immense, and an epic achievement. Remote mountain village in Japan sounds idyllic too. Enjoy the tranquillity, Marc.

      1. I spent about a year in Crete on and off. I worked picking raisin grapes for two seasons and in the winter did the olives. The money was remarkably good. Between jobs I mostly hung out in Matala on the south coast.

        Look me up if you’re ever in this part of the world.

      2. I started work in Pirgos, near Timbacki, where I had prolonged greenhouse work; then Paleohora, where there wasn’t much work. Both of those were on the south coast.
        Had a lot of work then, mostly on oranges, with some olives, before Christmas in ’87 from Platanias, near Chania on the north coast.
        Had a great worker-traveller Christmas there before leaving for hotter climes!

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