Gone Fishin’

7 Aug


I figure, if you can’t beat ’em, join ’em. Otherwise known as the old adage “When in Rome, do as the Romans do.” And when in Rome in August, what the Romans do is go on vacation. Yes, pretty much all of them. It’s not so much a problem for tourists since the main sights and major shopping areas generally stay open, but for your average resident, everyday life in Rome comes to an almost grinding halt. Or rather, I should say that in order to accomplish normal tasks, one must become like a character in a video game, searching out the one place that *might* still be open that *might* possibly have what you’re looking for. When I used to manage a study abroad center here, the middle to end of July was always a mad dash to order all the supplies we’d need to get us through to our big university arrivals in late August, since all of our suppliers (paper products, etc.) would be closed in August.

In walking about 10 feet down the road from my front door today, I encountered all the following signs:





Randomly reduced opening hours, shops closed for an entire month. My first couple years here in Rome, this was one of those “charming” things about living in Italy. It was like: Oh, well now, would you just look at that? How quaint! Everyone has closed up shop and put the Italian equivalent of the “gone fishin'” sign on their doors: “Siamo in Ferie!!” We’re on vacation! Weee!!

Now I just think to my cynical self, look how happy those little cartoon characters are in the signs, cavorting merrily on the beach with their various beach accessories, overjoyed for the fact that they now have a legitimate reason not to work (as opposed to the everyday “need” to disappear suddenly for continual and unannounced coffee breaks, with a strike thrown in here and there just for fun, and the ever-so-occasional sleeping on the job). Wait though, this isn’t a post about the public offices, where I have personally witnessed all of the above, so let’s go ahead and get into the holiday spirit with the rest of this suntanning city: I’m going with the flow. The ol’ blog is now officially in ferie, until September. I’ll still be working though, at least until the middle of August, just in case you were worried about the trusty American work ethic going down the tubes over here in the Eternal City. Down, maybe just a bit, but not yet completely out.

As far as the blog goes, let’s just say that in keeping with my personal mission of bringing you up close and personal with my adopted city, I’m hereby attempting to give you an authentic taste of what life is like for the average citizen of Rome in August. CLOSED for business. Please call again another day.

However, should circumstances dictate that you are not to be one of the lucky ones like that couple on the sign who can proudly declare “Siamo in Ferie!” this month, then my suggestion is good old-fashioned retail therapy, at a store that never closes. To keep you occupied while I’m gone, I’ve hand-picked a bunch of items for all you Rome and Italy lovers. There’s a “Rome Tourist Survival Kit,” a section on Roman cooking, Italian music, Italian cinema, and Dreaming of Italy. Take a look and see if anything catches your eye. Click here to visit my store, where no one ever goes on ferie.

My Italy expat friends Sara and Michelle also have stores you can browse.

Buone vacanze a tutti! Happy vacation, everyone!


26 Responses to “Gone Fishin’”

  1. nyc/caribbean ragazza August 7, 2007 at 4:31 pm #

    LOL. Good for you. Hope you have a buon l’estate.

  2. Sara, Ms. Adventures in Italy August 7, 2007 at 5:03 pm #

    Haha, I am glad you’ve decided not to give those Amazon guys ferie, they need to work harder! 🙂

    I love the Rome Tourist Survival kit idea.

  3. Giulia August 7, 2007 at 5:04 pm #

    HA HA, I was going to do the same, posting photos of all the shops in my town that have closed down for Ferragosto! The signs have been popping up everywhere. Enjoy your time away from the blogsphere. 🙂

  4. jessica in rome August 7, 2007 at 5:07 pm #

    I second this notion…see you in September (blog wise anyways)!

  5. Rose in Cali August 7, 2007 at 6:09 pm #

    Buone vacanze, Shelley! I hope you have as much fun on your vacation as I did on my recent one there. (Oh how I miss that Roman pizza!)

  6. sognatrice August 7, 2007 at 6:27 pm #

    Buone vacanze! And thanks for the Amazon shout-out–funny that I just linked to some books from my store in my post today 🙂

    I may take a few days away from the blog towards Ferragosto, but the odd thing about living in southern Italy is that everyone comes here for vacation; if we leave, we miss the one time of year that everyone is together…a dilemma….

  7. Jeni August 7, 2007 at 9:24 pm #

    Brava! Enjoy the Ferie. I wish there was a mandatory vacation in the U.S.!

  8. FinnyKnits August 7, 2007 at 11:48 pm #

    Very clever of you, Ms Shelley. See in you fall, after back-to-school shopping, of course 😉

  9. Farfallina -Roam to Rome August 8, 2007 at 2:24 am #

    In the spirit of the Ferie, you’re really taking a blog-break? Very, very clever…

    Buone vacanze! e ci vediamo a settembre!

  10. somepinkflowers August 8, 2007 at 3:03 am #

    you are toooo funny!

    guess where some of those shop owners are now…

    over here in florida on our beach!

    i saw the same couple from the pink sign
    here last week-end,
    speaking italian, making sand castles and looking for gelato…



  11. rachael August 8, 2007 at 4:08 am #

    Happy vacation. See you in September.

  12. Tim August 8, 2007 at 3:39 pm #

    Ciao Shelley!

    Buone vacanze! Thanks for the cooling photos of gelato in your previous post. Looking at them on occasion during the giorni di cani of August will help me survive the sweltering end of summer here in NY.

  13. One Hot Mama August 9, 2007 at 5:06 pm #

    Oh, if only this most wonderful idea of getting out of work (not to mention 3-hour dinners followed by much walking and chatting) would migrate to America! Wish I was THERE.

  14. Sergio August 9, 2007 at 5:18 pm #

    Buone vacanze!!! 🙂

  15. Kim August 9, 2007 at 8:32 pm #

    Hey Shelley,

    I’ve been meaning to check out your blog for a while now (Marta first told me about it almost two months ago). You enjoy your rest, I’ve got plenty of catching up to do here!

  16. Wanderlust Scarlett August 9, 2007 at 11:31 pm #

    Hope you have a wonderful time!

    I WISH we vacationed like that in the states!

    Love the tourist survival kit.

    Scarlett & Viaggiatore

  17. Maryann August 10, 2007 at 3:08 pm #

    I just found your blog and am enjoying it with my espresso this morning. I absolutely love it. Thank you for all the work you put into it. Happy vacation!

  18. qualcosa di bello August 10, 2007 at 6:29 pm #

    i loved the signs…they are my sign not to go to italia in agosto! buon vacanza!! eat some gelato for me per favore!

  19. jessica August 13, 2007 at 1:04 pm #

    enjoy, have a nice vacation shelley.

  20. tonitonitone August 14, 2007 at 8:35 pm #

    Hi! I came across your url from Your blog is really funny and entertaining. Have a great vacation!

  21. Leanne August 16, 2007 at 11:54 am #

    All the Italians have left Rome and the main cities and have invaded the peace and tranquility of Sicily! Crazy time of year this is. I miss being in Rome last year where the city was nice and quiet (compared to normal that is.)

  22. albert August 16, 2007 at 4:48 pm #

    It’s the same thing in France in August many shops are closed during this month,many people take holidays too.

  23. Rebecca August 17, 2007 at 12:45 am #

    Have a great vacation Shelley! Love the survival kit, very cute.

  24. Buda Baby August 20, 2007 at 2:58 am #

    Packets of toilet seat covers that you can carry around with you in your bag? What will they think of next! 🙂 Have a nice rest-of-your-vacation. Looking forward to your return.

  25. Jeff August 27, 2007 at 11:46 am #

    Still out!!
    Hey most people come back to work today!!!! Including me!

  26. Karen Cole August 31, 2007 at 9:54 pm #

    Hope you had a wonderful vacation. So where did YOU go?

    The italians certainly know how to take a break.

    I wish they would bring back the old blue laws….where everyone had to close on Sundays. Just ONE DAY where there isn’t a sale people have to rush off to (like every holiday!!!). That’s why I love when we get tons of snow and everything….yes, even the malls have to close.

    I’ll be over there in two weeks and can’t wait!!!

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