My art history professor here in Rome is probably one of the coolest people I'll ever meet. I've never laughed harder in a class before, and, let's be real here, folks, I've had my share of pretty hysterical professors (i.e. the psychology professor who lip synced an '80s song in class while jumping around on a table). Why is Paolo so great you might ask? Let me tell you.
1) He hates tourists. A good portion of class consists of Paolo discussing the many ways he'd love to dispose of the tourists that clog up Rome on a daily basis. He claims to have studied "tourist zoology" and gives examples of typical tourist behavior often. He's obsessed with Uma Thurman from Kill Bill and wants her to come and help him take back the city. No joke, he references her at least five times each class. Today, he stated that if he was the mayor of Rome, he would make Uma his prime minister. But then he went on a rant about the corrupt Italian politics and how he believes emperors, consuls, and such are the best governmental system.
2) He nonchalantly revealed that his best friend in Rome is the princess of a prominent Italian family. WHAT? She was going to give us a private tour of her family's palazzo but ended up being out of town on vacation. Cool, Paolo, you're friends with royalty. No big deal or anything...
3) He legitimately cares about his students. This is why he despises tourists because they make it so difficult for him to lecture on-site and give his students the best possible experience. We went into Palazzo Barberini for class last week, and the room with the Barberini fresco was being used to throw some sort of electronic gala so our class wasn't allowed inside. This sent Paolo into a rage about how Italy disrespects its amazing collection of priceless artwork, and at the beginning of class today, he informed us all that he sent a letter to the overseer of Palazzo Barberini expressing his outrage. What a boss.
4) He is the best lecturing professor I've ever had. He's super organized, ridiculously knowledgeable, and not in the least bit boring. I wish he taught all of my classes!
My entire program loves Paolo, and we swap stories about the new schemes he hatches daily to rid Rome of her tourists. "Where is Uma..." Hahahahaha.