Rome and Birmingham. They’ve got so much in common! Said no one, ever. Until now…
A major international survey* has placed these two cities together in joint 51st place in the world for quality of life. Quite literally, incredible. And as a Brummie who has spent two years living in Rome, it’s quite a coincidence for me!
So, is it a fair assessment? Let’s see, shall we…
Rome has the Colosseum; Birmingham has the Rotunda. Both are round buildings but one is ever so slightly more significant historically and internationally.
Rome has the Pope; Birmingham has Ozzy Osbourne. When in Rome, you’re never far from the beach; Birmingham is one of the most landlocked cities in the UK.
I should probably point out that Birmingham is actually a brilliant city. It is thoroughly modern, genuinely multicultural and, in my opinion, literally the best place on earth for shopping. The stunning new Library of Birmingham has been described as the largest public cultural space in Europe and houses one of the most important Shakespeare collections in the world.
It sometimes feels like Birmingham is stuck with an outdated image when in reality it has improved drastically in recent years. It’s my home town and I joke about it all the time but if someone else speaks badly of it or *deep shudder* mimics my accent, I have been known to become distinctly unamused.
That said, summers in Rome are long and hot and there are blue skies and sunshine almost all year round. The lifestyle is amazing and there is a constant sense that anything could happen at any given moment. There are street cafes and stunning architecture on every corner and history lives and breathes through the cobblestones.
I love my home town and wouldn’t rule out moving back there in the future. But would I agree that the quality of life in Birmingham is on the same level as Rome?
No. No, I would not.
Happy New Year!
*Mercer Quality of Living Survey 2014.
NB) This post was originally published in 2014 on my old Italian lifestyle blog ‘Living La Vita Roma’ which I wrote while living in Rome. I’ve just looked up the latest Mercer Quality of Living Survey 2019 and Birmingham has actually edged ahead to number 49 while Rome has fallen to number 56. Oh!