I was tipped off to this article today in The New York Times (grazie to my friend Elizabeth who is a food expert and journalist here in Italy) and it made me smile. I wrote about this phenomenon back in 2006. This is why I love Rome.
I invite you to read my original post on the neighborhood knife sharpener as well, which includes the more high-tech version that still drives around some neighborhoods in a car, with a loudspeaker attached. The incredible thing about that, is that there’s one standard recording that it seems every car, in all of Italy, uses. This is part of cultural lore by now. One can only wonder when this tradition will eventually die out, as highlighted in the NYT video. Hopefully not right away. I do get a bit nostalgic about these types of things.
Without romanticizing it, there’s no denying that these unique facets of Italian life do make up part of the reason why I choose to live here: the social and person-to-person contact that comes from these trades is something I missed when I was living in the States. It’s a wonder that these occupations still manage to survive at all. I feel like it’s becoming harder and harder to find original artisans or craftspeople on a daily basis in modern life, without intentionally seeking them out. It’s a shame that technology is pushing us to a more anonymous way of life, and a more disposable way of living, which does make me feel a bit of a heartstring tug for these types of things.