What does 'Roman' mean? How does the mythical city touch people's identities, values and attitudes? In the long-established and official imaginary of the West, Rome is the citta dell'arte, the city of faith, an heirloom city inspired by the traces of ancient Empire, by the brooding aura of the Church, by Hollywood fairy-tale romance, and by the spicy tang of veiled decadence. But what of its contemporary residents? Are they now merely guides and waiters servicing throngs of tourists indifferent to the city's contemporary charms? Guy Lanoue, a former resident of Rome, explores how Romans live the modern myth of Rome Eternal. Since the 19th century, it has defined an important community, the fatherland, a home-spun society where the rules of everyday life become 'tradition': ways of eating, dressing, making and keeping friends and acquaintances, 'proper' ways of speaking and a hard to define but nonetheless tangible air of composure. Guy Lanoue is a Professor of Anthropology at the Universite de Montreal.