Before I left Rome after my first stay there, it occurred to me that since the thieves who stole my suitcase almost certainly threw the suitcase itself and almost all its contents away as soon as they took what little of monetary value they could find (an idea which the police officer I talked to seemed to find interesting, but one which didn't seem to have occurred to him before), it might be worth checking with the Lost & Found. So on my last day before going to Perugia, I managed to track down the L&F office in the train station, but with no luck. Probably the suitcase had been discarded outside the station, I thought, but I had no time to search out the city Lost & Found Office at that point.
But when I got back to Rome again, I looked it up in my Guidebook Let's Go Rome (which luckily I had been able to find a replacement copy for after the first one was stolen). And with great difficulty (with the help of Mapquest.com) I was able to locate the address on the map. It certainly couldn't have been more out of the way. Almost as if one would need the help of the Lost & Found Office itself in order to find it.
I considered just forgetting the whole idea, since it would mean wasting most of a day in what was undoubtedly a wild goose chase. But then I noticed that this Lost & Found Office was in Trastevere, which was the next place I wanted to go in any case.
It turned out to be in fact down a back street that looked like the sort of disreputable neighborhood where one would find mostly crack dealers. And outside one of these run-down buildings, I noted a sign saying, Department of Abandoned and Rediscovered Objects, or something of that sort, pointing down the driveway. So I wandered into to a courtyard overgrown with weeds, looking like it might have been a place where occasionally people came to work on their old junk cars. It would have been a good setting for a scene from a Kafka novel. And there was a sign pointing to one of the doorways of the building.
According to Let's Go, the office was supposed to be open that day until 1 PM. It was at this point about 12:45, and I figured that people might be rather annoyed at me for showing up so late. But in fact, the two guys in the office seemed quite happy to see me. I had the impression that they'd been bored to death all morning and were delighted to have something actually happen.
"What are you here for?" they asked.
"I'm looking for an object."
They spoke little English, and clearly at times had trouble understanding my Italian, but I managed to communicate that I was looking for a suitcase, "piccolo, nero, di pelle," lost near the station on May 2. There was nothing in their computer.
They asked for my name, of course. "Lady is your family name?"
"Yes." I showed them my passport.
"My Sweet Lady Jane," one of them sang.
"Rolling Stones," I offered.
"Ah, si. D'accordo." I was willing to agree with anything in the hope of getting more help from them, but the voice I heard in my head was Mick Jagger's.
Agreeing with them didn't get me my suitcase back,
unfortunately. But I wandered around Trastavere
a bit, which I liked more than the other parts of
Rome I had seen.