My high school was a Scientific Lyceum in a posh area of Rome: Amedeo Avogadro was its name.
I was with the left and dressed according to the strict dress code of my side, almost a uniform: jeans (possibly not so clean and not so new), second hand t-shirt and/or pullover, trainers or suede shoes (we called them ‘Clark’) and a small square satchel made in Tolfa.
Some of my school friends came back from rallies with black eyes and bruises everywhere. They said they had fought with ‘fascists’. Cigarettes and dope were normally shared. I had my first crush: a short boy with long curly brown hair looking like an 18th century wig, and my first boyfriend I met while we were running away from tear gas and took shelter inside the walls of the university, La Sapienza. He was blond, green-eyed, a year older than me and a physics geek.
My dad drove me to school every morning at first, then I had a bike for my 16th birthday (and I still have it!) so I could cycle to school or, in winter, take a bus. It was a busy, terrible, challenging, wonderful time.
My favourite subjects were philosophy, history, art and history of art and, of course, English. My English teacher was a highly charismatic man, a Sicilian, rather tall, with fairly long, white hair and always smartly dressed. His surname was Craxi (probably a relative of the politician Bettino Craxi). He had a tendency to stray from the topic, getting lost in philosophical soliloquies: the Tristram Shandy syndrome. We enjoyed it because it meant free time, chatting, revising other subjects or minding our own business. He made me love Shakespeare, D.H. Lawrence and the Romantic poets. Although I was in a Scientific Lyceum, maths and physics were not my thing but I managed to pass the exams. My final subjects, apart from maths and Italian which were compulsory, were English and history. And the final results were brilliant!