09 June 2008

A Variety of Ti Amo

I have documented a wide variety of “Ti Amo” signs throughout the city. They occur everywhere from bus seats to monuments, in marker and in etchings. They blaze forth from walls and graffiti. They share the same characteristics over and over: they say the name of the person to whom the message is directed, they say “ti amo” or something very similar, and then they add a little oomph. This oomph might be a heart.

It might be a date. It might be an amplification to “adore” or to expressing how one cannot live without the other. I saw one with a paw print (indeed, calling someone a “little puppy” is common enough that it suggests it is a widely used term of affection). The best I have seen include multiple colors or dimensions. I’m including below some of the “Ti Amo” from Rome; although each is unique, seeing one pretty much tells the tale: people feel the need to declare love to one another, publicly. Where I grew up, this happened in the form of carvings in trees or caves. People tattoo these declarations into their own bodies. Perhaps it is not all that unique that these clutter the cityscape.

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Works Cited

Fiona Wild, ed. Eyewitness Travel Rome (London: Dorling Kindersley Limited, 1993), 2007 edition.

Hawthorne, Nathaniel. The Marble Faun. New York: Penguin Books, 1990/1860.

James, Henry. Daisy Miller. New York: Penguin Books, 2005/1878.

Powers, Alice Leccese. Italy in Mind: An Anthology. Toronto: Vintage Books, 1997.

Steves, Rick. Rick Steves' Italy 2007. New York: Avalon Travel Publishing, 2006.