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GUIDE: EVERY DAY LIFE...
This Every Day Life Guide will help you understand terms, traditions, proverbs
and curiosities while in Rome:
» Popular Traditions
» Regional Food and Traditional Dishes
» Roman "Proverbi", Expressions and Behaviour
» Roman Secrets and Curiosities
» Individual & Private Tours
Popular Traditions in Rome
Name: Sagre, Fiere e Feste Paesane (town fairs and festivals) Description:
these are village-feasts, festivals, fairs and particular celebrations which
remind us of the original ancient traditions of celebrating the earth and special
village events, especially at the beginning of a new season but also during the
year. There are then “sagre” (feasts and festivals) of the: “castagne” (chestnuts),
“bistecca”, “pesce” (fish, not many), “tartufo” and “tartufo bianco” (truffle
and white truffle), “olio” (olive oil), “vino” (wine), “tortelli” (big raviolis),
“zuppe” (different soups with bread), “pane” (bread), “patate” (potatoes), “pasta”,
“fungo porcino” (“porcino mushroom), “fragole” (strawberries) and others.... Feasts,
festivals, etc. usually are accompanied by music and the sale of other products
of the town.
they take place in all towns and villages around Rome.
Name: Festa della Madonna del Carmine Description:
this feast lasts 9 days and is dedicated to the Madonna by spectacle, stalls,
shows and other different typical celebrations of the people on the streets.
it takes place on July 16th.
Name: Festa della Madonna della Neve Description:
the Basilica di Santa Maria Maggiore is one of the most important churches of
Rome; it is located at the place where the legend tells of the Virgin Mary who
appeared in Pope’s dreams and said that a church had to be built where it would
snow… The Basilica itself was then built as it is one century later and its other
two names Liberiana and Santa Maria ad Nives come from the Pope of the alleged
miracle and the Virgin herself. Every year, on August 5th, white rose petals are
thrown from the dome of the Chapel.
Name: Via Crucis Description:
the solemn via crucis of Rome, led by the Pope himself, starts at the Colosseum
and ends at the Temple of Venus remembering Jesus’s tormented path to the Cross.
Name: Porta Pia Description:
the opening of a hole in the walls close to the Porta Pia by the General Cadorna
on September 20th of 1860 signifies the beginning of the end of the war and the
beginning of a new modern era for the city of Rome, for its democracy in the name
Name: La Festa de Noantri Description:
it means “di noi altri”, “our” feast. The legend recalls that one day at the
half of the month of July of one unspecified year some fishermen found a beautiful
statue of the Virgin Mary in the river on the Trastevere side of the city and
took it to the church of Sant’Agata, where it still is. Every year the district
celebrates the finding, the miracle, through a procession and through street shows,
popular markets, open restaurants to all the people and others, becoming “our”
(the Romans’) celebration.
Name: San Giovanni Description:
a pagan celebration according to a legend which recalls that the spirit of Salomé,
who cut Saint John the Baptist’ head, tormented by her action, gathered witches
all around and started their devilish dances and spectacles… The princesses in
the houses around were protected by their brooms, and the people of the city started
to gather on the hills and eating snails, because their small horns signified
conflicts; by eating the snails the people searched for reconciliation and celebrated
all together the beginning of a new season, the 24th of June, in this case Summer…
Today, the celebration music and chants have become traditional competitions of
Name: Visita alle Sette Chiese Description:
the visit to the seven churches, an ancient Roman tradition, was started by
Saint Filippo Neri, to mix the religious devotion before the Ascension of Christ
with the popular habit of going out and having a good time with families and friends
at the beginning of the good weather, on May. During and after the visit to the
seven most important and beautiful churches of Rome there are music and food..
The churches are: San Lorenzo Fuori le Mura, Santa Croce in Gerusalemme, Santa
Maria Maggiore, San Giovanni in Laterano, San Sebastiano all'Appia Antica, San
Paolo Fuori le Mura, San Pietro in Vaticano…
Name: La Befana… Description:
…is a sort of witch, who leaves presents and lots of sweets and...charcoal inside
big decorative stockings, usually hanging from the fireplace of every child’s
home. Why charcoal? Because children never behave perfectly well... but we also
remember some white charcoal, made of sugar, to mean that our behaviour hadn’t
been that bad either... In the Oriental Church, the nativity of Christ wasn’t
known when in the Church of Rome it was already being celebrated the 25th of December;
for this reason, the first Church decided to celebrate the date of the christening
of Jesus in the Jordan, which was the 6th of January. The Epiphany (from the ancient
Greek “epifania”, which means “manifestation”) substituted a pagan one dedicated
to the Sun. It is then clear that this religious event sets the beginning of a
new year too, like Christmas. In Rome the celebration takes place at Piazza Navona
with market stalls and merry-go-rounds.
Name: La Candelora… Description:
…used to be the celebration of the purification of the Virgin Mary after her
giving birth to her son. The celebration takes place by the lighting of large
candles, called by the Romans as “candelora”.
Name: Carnevale Romano Description:
a people’s celebration initiated by Pope Paul II Barbo in the XV century. A
colourful feisty celebration!
Name: Festa di San Giuseppe Description:
a beloved figure in Rome for ever! Saint Joseph used to be especially celebrated
by the guild of artisans and carpenters. It takes place on March 19th.
Name: Festa di Pasquino… Description:
…one of the “speaking statues” of Rome, it was given life by the sarcastic Romans
which used it to speak against the Popes’ injustices… It takes place on April
Name: Benedizione degli Animali Description:
…the celebration of animals, which in the past included all types of animals,
including and above all those which man needed to survive and live and work. Today
only domestic animal, such as dogs, cats and birds, are blessed at the church
of Sat’Eusebio on January 17th.
Name: Sant’Antonio da Padova Description:
it the feast of the strawberries at Campo de’ Fiori. Another example of popular
celebrations mixed with the religious anniversary of a Saint. It takes place on
Name: Santi Pietro e Paolo Description:
both Saints are celebrated the same day, on June 29th, with a spectacular lighting
of the dome of Saint Peter’s Church and the fireworks from Castel Sant’Angelo.
Name: Capodanno at Piazza del Popolo Description:
the New Year’s eve celebration at Piazza del Popolo started in 1993 and is one
of the major celebrations of Rome. It hosts the best Italian and international
singers and the event ends with a spectacle of fireworks.
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