The Invisible Visitors

June 18, 2010 / Uncategorized
Rome, Lazio

Every summer tourists descend upon Rome without fail, but perhaps the true sign of summer is the arrival of another visitor.

Since antiquity le cicale (the cicada insects) have provided the summer soundtrack for the city with their trademark mating calls. They follow you, hopping from one juniper tree to the next, and as they approach, their symphonic roar grows louder.

Although their communal song always alerts you of their presence, they are rarely seen. The only tangible proofs of their existence are the rare dry-shells left clinging to tree bark after the younglings have molted and ascended to adulthood.

Cicadas love warmth and thus perform most frequently during the hotter hours of the day. The best place to find them is in one of Rome’s many green spaces. So, why not avoid the usual tourist route and enjoy a free concert beneath the shade of a generous umbrella pine tree.


Ian Zurzolo

by Ian Zurzolo

Writer, editor, American University of Rome graduate, Italian Notebook Editorial Intern.

5 Responses to “The Invisible Visitors”

  1. louise

    Thank you, Ian, for “seeing” Italy with your ears too. Yes, their sound is definitely that of summer. Super picture of the “umbrella” pine.

  2. I guess I am the only one who dislikes their sound…we have them here on Long Island.

    That pine is beautiful!

  3. Love the sounds of summer. Been hearing the same sounds from the stands while watching the World Cup!


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