Mexico Comes to Rome

16 Jun

Let me preface this by saying that I’ve lived above a restaurant in Trastevere for, oh, about four or five years now I guess. Da Vincenzo is the restaurant that my husband’s grandfather (that would be Vincenzo) and father used to own and manage, but now it’s no longer managed by the family. Being as it’s in Trastevere, even though its not in one of the main tourist-crowded areas of the neighborhood, it still gets its fair share of traveling musicians. Oh, how they love to “entertain” the diners eating at the red and white checkered tables lined up under the large umbrellas on our cobblestone street.

By any chance were you following my adventures back in early October? If so, perhaps you’ve already been briefed about these musical adventures. If not, I highly suggest you pop over to this post before reading any further, just to get yourself up to speed.

Now, needless to say, I’ve seen a lot of performers under my windows: some ridiculously silly and fun (mago), some barely passable, some pretty desperate, some (opera singer) downright brave, but most just plain repetitive. Luckily their performances usually only last a couple minutes, so no one’s going to be losing sleep over it. But last night—well, last night was a first.

Just picture me, sunken down into my couch as I blog-surf on the laptop. Ale has a work dinner so it’s just me and the cats. No sound in the house because I don’t like Italian TV… I just prefer quiet. So imagine my surprise when all of a sudden, out of absolutely nowhere, I hear a mariachi trumpet start crowing away at full blast. I mean it. Seriously, I felt like I had gone into a blog-reading-induced trance that had me drinking margaritas and eating Mexican food (something that I definitely have in common with fellow expat Jul—who, BTW and IMHO, has a fun and very readable blog). But I digress, as usual. Let’s just cut to the chase, shall we?

Turns out I was not, in fact, dreaming of mariachis. No, no, they had actually arrived unannounced underneath my window to serenade not only me and the diners, but with their unabashed volume, the rest of the block as well. I did see one window promptly close… some of my neighbors are just a wee bit cynical about these things.

I, on the other hand, didn’t waste time, shamelessly aiming my camera down at them to give you a little taste of the Mexican-infused entertainment around these parts. They were decked out in full-on mariachi garb. And yes, they did provide their rendition of the timeless crowd-pleasing mariachi classics “Cielito Lindo” (you know the one, ay ay ay ay) and everyone’s personal favorite, “La Bamba.” Yo no soy marinero, soy capitan.

Excuse the fact that you can’t see hardly anything, since it was nighttime and I don’t have any fancy video equipment other than the video function on my digital camera. But you have to give me bonus points for my quick reaction.

Now, the million dollar question is: how long do you think this act will last? Mistero.
[Feed readers: click through to see the video clip.]


12 Responses to “Mexico Comes to Rome”

  1. Sara, Ms. Adventures in Italy June 16, 2007 at 9:21 am #

    Oddio….I thought Besame Mucho was bad enough. I don’t think these guys will last very long. There’s something about a mariachi trumpet that is incompatible with the Trastevere architecture!!

  2. Isabelle June 16, 2007 at 1:07 pm #

    LOL !!
    I remember big crowds of German tourists singing along “la bamba” with street musicians in the Monti, (probably believing it was an italian song 😉
    Fortunately, my next Roman apartment is not too close from a restaurant…!

  3. Heather June 16, 2007 at 2:27 pm #

    That is completely amazing. I love it. THIS is why Trastevere is awesome.

  4. jessica in rome June 16, 2007 at 3:21 pm #

    omg, how cool in a creepy/annoying way! I just wanted to say I had a great time yesterday! Your outlook and advice really put a jump in my step. Now to study passato prossimo….

  5. Giovanna June 16, 2007 at 6:08 pm #

    I think that’s awesome…it’s things like that that make me want to be in Italy. Thanks for sharing, I really needed that today.

  6. my melange June 16, 2007 at 7:58 pm #

    That is so funny…All I heard when you said that was the classic trumpet blaring “daaaa da dada da dada da dada”. I would have jumped right off the couch. I also love when you mention Da Vincenzo. We ate their(and loved it BTW) on our trip in 2004. You may have been blogging right above our little heads…and we didn’t even know it! Small world indeed!

  7. Sierra June 16, 2007 at 10:39 pm #

    It is never boring in your neighbourhood. By the way Shelley have you seen this yet?

  8. Carole D. June 17, 2007 at 7:07 am #

    We saw the Mariachi band walk past your street our last night in your apartments while we were eating at Da Vincenzo.
    We thought it was hilarious. BTW, I don’t recommend the restaurant (we should have stuck to your fav list of restaurants.) Food and service very poor.

  9. Shelley, At Home in Rome June 17, 2007 at 2:23 pm #

    Ms: I think you’re right on this one… it just kind of sticks out like a sore thumb. But still, it was fun.

    Isabelle: I forget where you said you found your apartment? I’ll have to get in touch with you via email.

    Heather: By now you’ve probably arrived… soon you’ll be walking the streets of Rome and Trastevere, that is, when you’re not out on your archeological digs!

    Jessica: I’m so glad!! We’ll have to meet up more often. The first year isn’t easy for anyone… that’s for sure.

    Giovanna: Less than one month, right?

    My Melange: That’s crazy! Small world for sure. I just started the blog last summer, so in 2004 I was probably herding a group of 100 university students on an excursion somewhere… or handling a student-induced emergency. Don’t miss those days too much!

    Sierra: One of my guests sent me a link to this article. Sounds incredible!

    Carole: What a bummer that you didn’t like Da Vincenzo. You’re the first guests to tell me that. My personal opinion of the place is: food=average, prices=decent, service=not bad (actually friendlier than I’ve found in other places, but maybe that’s because I know them). In any case, we almost never eat there. Too many other good places in our neighborhood!!

  10. Jul June 17, 2007 at 10:33 pm #

    LOL, perhaps they are the same mariachis that the Swiss kicked off of their trams?

    Thanks so much for the kind words about my blog – you made my day! We have yet another thing in common… Italian TV never did it for me, either. Well, not since Colpo Grosso, anyway. 🙂

  11. Billy June 18, 2007 at 2:08 pm #

    This post tangentially raises a very interesting question (well, for me at least): are there any good Mexican food options in Rome? I’ll be moving to Rome in less than two weeks, and I seriously doubt I’ll have a craving for Mexican food for at least a couple of months (the only food I love more than Mexican is Italian), but I know there will come a time when my burrito-lust is going to reach critical mass, and I’d like to have a plan for what to do at that point. 🙂

  12. Anna L'americana November 8, 2007 at 7:23 pm #

    Ah, yes the famous Roman Mariachi players……
    Mexican music seems to be the new wandering minstrel repetoire in Rome….

    I miss “Punto e Virgola” a street musician in Trastevere I remember from the 70’s and 80’s – he “played” (using the term loosely) an oboe and in between toots on the horn sang the words to whatever touristy song was in vogue, including the punctuation ie: “No soy marinero, virgola, soy capitan punto esclamatorio, soy capitan punto esclamatorio….etc. And so the name “Punto e Virgola”, given by the ragazzini di zona. Ask one of the old timers in zona if they remember him, that is if you can find any old-timer Trasteverini. You probably have to go seek them out in the suburbs – maybe Ale or his family will remember the guy.

    Pardon my riffing nostalgia…

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