Tuesday, August 14, 2007


We’ve arrived in Rome at “the best of times ...the worst of times”: Ferragosto.

At least a third of the population have already left on their annual vacation and by the 15th the only people left in town will be tourists, us expats and the odd Roman whose work demands that they stick around while their friends bask in the sun at country retreats and resorts.

Nomentana devoid of cars!

Only in August - Via Nomentana almost empty!

The best of times? The normal snarl of traffic is absent, parking spots are easy to find, the buses are empty and the stores (the few remaining open) are almost deserted.

Most of the shops barred

Our local shopping drag - barred and lock for August

The worst of times? Almost everything is closed – the local fruit, vegetable and flower stalls are barred, store front grills are locked and signs indicate that, as an example, the local gelatoria (sob!) will not be serving double chocolate and black pepper ice cream again until 27 agosto. And except when budding Grand Prix drivers use them as practice courses those empty streets give the new arrival a false sense of tranquility. But soothsayer-like, more experienced hands have warned us: beware the 1st of September.

We’ve also been warned to stock up supplies for the coming week – everything will be closed August 15th – the Feast of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin and the real start of Ferragosto. And just so this miraculous event can be celebrated in an appropriate fashion most things will be closed the 14th and chances are, to allow for recovery from the wonder of it all the 16th too.

13 agosto – S. Ippolito


more cowbell said...

The vacation season! Again, what is wrong with us here?

more cowbell said...

Oh, and the Italian ice cream --- OH - MY - GAWD.

Big Ass Belle said...

oh. my. goodness. the local gelatoria (sob!) will not be serving double chocolate and black pepper ice cream again until 27 agosto.

chocolate and black pepper??? my mouth is watering.

so would this be the month for me to visit should i ever get mike to italy? i detest crowds, so would i be able to see everything, still, though all of the italians have disappeared?

Willym said...

Lynette - the tourist stuff is open but without the crowds the city is pretty lifeless. Not sure about the rest of the country but I know the beaches - and what great beaches they have - and resorts are full, fuller, fullest.