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The Scene talks to Italian actress Maria Grazia Cucinotta about falling in love with the Italian capital.
The Scene: Why did you come to Rome?
Maria Grazia Cucinotta: I was born in Messina, Sicily. I stayed there until I was 18 and finished my studies. Then I went first to Milan, but it was a bit too cold for me, so I moved to Rome and I started to work in television here, and I fell in love with the city and I stayed.
I came here for one day, and they told me about an audition. I did it and they got me immediately, so I started to work in television. Step-by-step, I did another audition that got me a movie and I thought: maybe it's my destiny.
TS: What do you like about Rome?
MGC: I like to walk all around and to feel the power of the city. You feel you are in a history book. Everything is a piece of our history and everything is so beautiful and the people are so generous and happy. The weather is great and you feel like you're in a movie.
Rome is magic, it's like being in Hollywood. But the difference between Hollywood and Rome is that here you don't have just the movie business. The movie business is so little, so you also have the choice to hang out with people who do different kinds of business. I think if you want to stay down to earth, you need normal people around, or you start to live in a movie and stay there forever.
TS: Why did you become an actress?
MGC: I decided to an actress because of the film La Dolce Vita. It is so fantastic being an actress because you have the chance to be a thousand different people when you act. But you have to go back to your real life, and if you don't have the right people around you, you forget about that. It's so dangerous, because when all this finishes, it is difficult to go back to yourself.
TS: Do people recognize you on the streets of Rome?
MGC: It is part of my business and I like it. I work because of them and I'm here because of them. When you make a movie, you want to be appreciated by them and when people recognize you and when they stop you it is a way to understand that everything is working well. You have to be worried when no one will stop you any more.
TS: What is the best thing to do in Rome?
MGC: Shopping! I love it. We go to Via Condotti, I feel like a little princess every time I go there. I usually go around every store because I'm curious and I need to find what I really like.
TS: Are you interested in fashion?
MGC: Oh yes, it's part of being a woman. Being a woman for me is to dress up, to be glamorous and to make people dream. I come from a really modest family and when I was child I liked to dream, watching pictures, watching all these beautiful women. If you are an actress, you have to make people dream and be happy.
TS: What about food?
MGC: I'm too Italian. I like pasta, I like pizza and I like simple food. I like white pasta with just olive oil, and I like tomato with just olive oil and really good bread, just made, when it's still warm. I like these little places, very simple, where you can still find the mother, the owner, cooking for you. It's like being home.
In Italy you can find good food all over, it is really difficult to find a place where you don't get good food.
TS: Where is your favorite place in Rome?
MGC: St Peter's Square, the most popular place in the world I think. Sometimes when people ask me "why Rome?" I say, because if the Pope chooses Rome, that means Rome is special.
This place is the place that everyone knows. You can have a president in every country, but you have only one pope for around the world.
I received a letter from the Pope because of my behavior, and I was really honored. Sometimes people think because you're an actress you have to be bad. But sometimes you can do both; you can be an actress and you can still have a good image and do something good for the people.
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