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Gambardella is both participant and observer, watching himself as much as his associates, mysterious animals trapped in the gilded cage that is Rome with all the stunning beauty of its architecture, fountains, sculptures, and paintings. Everywhere, life presents contradictions, material and spiritual, emotional pretence and genuine feeling, the Eternal City and its mortal inhabitants, . And the actors' performances are never less than utterly convincing.
Two weeks later, when we'd been seeing each other for less than a month, he proposed.
We giggled with delight at the thought of this grown-up new life.
I was in my first junior role at a women's magazine and Matthew worked fitting tyres and exhausts, so our combined salaries of around £15,000 a year meant we struggled to make the mortgage payments.
At this time of year, so many people will be assessing their lives and relationships, wondering if the grass is greener on the other side.
Many will mistake contentment for boredom, forgetting to cherish the good things they have.