Sunday, May 17, 2009

Steelers Diaspora: Roma

How Little Pittsburgh in Rome, Italy got started:

Along the way, the haunt developed a loyal clientele, first among U.S.-based flight crews stopping over in Rome and later college students studying abroad. About four to five years ago, Mr. Poggi said groups of Penn State and Duquesne University students spending semesters in Rome -- most of them from Pittsburgh -- adopted La Botticella as their hangout.

The advent of satellite TV made it easy to catch American sports, and homesick students wanted to see their beloved Steelers and Penguins play. A match was made, and La Botticella became a regular Sunday gathering spot to see the Black & Gold. ...

... Having amassed dozens of friends from Pittsburgh over the years, Mr. Poggi came to America in November for a football vacation: a Thursday night Steelers game at Heinz Field, followed by a Penn State football Saturday at Beaver Stadium in Happy Valley.

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette chronicled his journey in an online video that to date is the most watched video ever produced by, with more than twice the page views of the next most-viewed video produced by the Web site.

Since then, Mr. Poggi said it feels at times that every tourist from Pittsburgh has stopped to see him as well.

Thinking about how movable type, books written in local vernacular, and newspapers allowed for the formation of new community identities such as nationalism; I can easily see the relationship between social media and cultivating a diaspora geography. Why bother to make an itinerary of your trip to Rome? Your first stop should be La Botticella. Ask Mr. Poggi where to stay and eat. Connect with the Burgh-centric study abroad crowd and get tips on lesser known attractions.

There's plenty of information available, but knowledge is hard to come by. Can you trust the recommendation? Are you wise to do business with this stranger? In a Flat World, all you have is Steelers Nation.

1 comment:

Unknown said...

This is Giovanni from La Botticella Roma i will be glad to give any type of help or info to any Pittsburghers travelling to the eternal city ciao