Rome Journal: 50 Years in a Cab: A Long, Winding Trip for One Driver, and His City

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Alberto Tomassi, who has been a taxi driver in Rome for 50 years, with his eighth cab.

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Nadia Shira Cohen for The New York Times

ROME — From his front-seat perch, Alberto Tomassi, a Roman cabdriver for 50 years, has been both eavesdropper and confessor. He has played impromptu tour guide, thwarted muggings and rushed countless clients to the emergency room.

And he has consoled abandoned wives with a dose of homespun wisdom. “I told one woman whose husband had left her for someone much younger, ‘As we say in Rome, when one pope dies, you make another.’”

Expertly navigating Rome’s narrow, potholed streets — many conceived centuries before the internal combustion…

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