The Magic of Halloween: History, Myth and Roman Traditions

Image found on http://halloweenerrific.co.uk

Click per la versione italiana

Although Halloween is an imported tradition, the colorful vibrancy and chaotic energy of this holiday is fits well with the dynamic warmth and hospitality of Rome.   Halloween has experienced a rapid increase in popularity over the past couple of years—and you can be sure that Romans have found their own unique way of expressing it!

Surely enough, Roman Halloween holds true to all the familiar traditions: carving pumpkins, wearing costumes on the October 31st, and trick-or-treating of all, including adolescents and adults.  It’s no longer so unusual to see large festive groups of masked Romans wandering around the city, joking and having a good time with each other and passersby.

It was only starting in the early 1990s that celebrating Halloween became a successful trend, such that many places (hotels, clubs, etc.) began arranging themed nights prior to Halloween and parties on the actual day itself.

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“Christmas is Here” – Merry Christmas & Happy Holidays

“Hark how the bells, –        “Ascolta! Come le campane
sweet silver bells, –                 Dolci campane d’argento
all seem to say, –                   Sembrano tutte dire
throw cares away –                 Dimentica i crucci
Christmas is here, –            Natale è qui
bringing good cheer, –          Portando allegria
to young and old, –                       Al giovane e al vecchio
meek and the bold.” –                 Al mite e all’audace.”

Tanti Auguri e Buon Natale!!

  -Post by  Diedré Blake

In Rome on Christmas Day? No Sweat!

Italy is known for its focus on family.  Perhaps no other time shines the brightest spotlight on this aspect of Italian culture than the winter holiday season (with Easter coming in a strong second), and particularly Christmas Day.

As such, travelers to Rome will noticed that most (if not all) monuments, museums, and other attractions will be closed for the 25th, and perhaps have already been closed for the duration of the holiday period, i.e. until after the Epiphany.

xmas

Still, there is no need to despair.

Whether you are a traveler or resident, there are still ways that you can enjoy Christmas Day.  Remember public transportation is still operating, although the schedule and routes may be different for the holiday; and there will be some restaurants open, especially in the Jewish Ghetto. Of course, it is important to plan ahead for both journey and food! Continue reading…

The Jungle Called Rome

If a city is a jungle, then Rome has various paths to be discovered: narrow streets and major arteries, as well as shortcuts give you a breath of fresh air away from traffic of the city.

Click per la versione italiana

Image from Cinque Quotidiano.

Unlike other European capitals, however, Rome remains deficient in its transportation network; having only two active subway lines (A and B), an extension (B1), and a new line connecting the center with the periphery (C, inaugurated a couple of weeks ago).

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No time to Dine? Try One of These 10 Roman Street Foods

Wondering what to eat on your next break between seeing Rome’s most famous sites? Well, the Eternal City has many quick and easy treats to refresh you before you begin your journey again…and no, we don’t mean gelato!

 

Image by Just A Taste: http://www.justataste.com    Not in Rome? Click the image for an a recipe!

Arancini – Melted mozzarella, ragù (meat sauce), tomato sauce and peas are the usual fillings of this large-sized fried rice ball, a satisfying and easy to eat Sicilian treat.

Recommended: Venanzio Sisini,  Via di San Francesco a Ripa 137

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In Rome, Prepare for Christmas with the Tradition of the Nativity

If for many Christmas is symbolized by the fir tree, the tree decorations, and by the miniatures of a jolly but belabored Santa Claus climbing into chimneys with his massive bag of gifts, then for many others the symbol of Christmas is represented by a crib.

usa

Click per la versione italiana

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Essential Rome: 6 Things You Should Know Before You Go! (Part 2 of 2)

(Read Part 1)

This week we tackle three topics:

communication, dietary needs, and expat communities.

Traveling has its ups and downs.  For many, traveling is a positive and worry-free experience of visiting a new place and soaking up local culture.  For others, traveling can mean high dose of anxiety.  Still, visiting Rome doesn’t have to become a nightmare! There are many ways to navigate the Eternal to find exactly what you need.

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Piazza Santa Maria in Trastevere

Beyond arranging your flight and hotel, here are some essential ways to prepare for your stay in Rome.

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The Roman October Days (L’Ottobrata Romana)

It is said that “all roads lead to Rome.”

The Baths of Caracalla, ~AD 216

The Baths of Caracalla, ~AD 216

Click per la versione italiana

Then it’s no surprise that being enchanted by the magic of Rome is a date with destiny for any visitor who sets foot in the Eternal City.  Beyond the clichés, the fact is that the warmth and charm of these early autumn days are to be savored.  Although it never gets Boston-cold here, winter is just around the corner—and what’s not to love when the average temperature is 77°F (25°C)?

The celebration of these beautiful and hot Roman October days is known as ottobrate romane.  Back in the early 1900s, the ottobrate was traditionally more than appreciating and taking advantage of the weather.

It was a downright bawdy, music-filled spectacle on every Sunday during the month, topped off by a traveling cart filled with seven women, accompanied, on foot, by revelers from tenements, such as Testaccio and Trastevere.

Image from Wikipedia: www.wikipedia.org

Where were they going? They went to the campagne, the lush green expanses of the surrounding countryside just outside the walls of Rome.  These leisurely walks (passaggiate) in the campagne were considered essential, and offered the ability to enjoy the mild weather with family and friends.

Today, Romans are still celebrating the warmth of October and their passeggiate, only this time the lush green grass is more likely covered pavement!

Still, during Rome’s Ottobrate every intake of breath or blink of an eye is an immersion into a history that allows you to capture the splendor of this magnificent city.

So, walk through the Forums and the majestic Colosseum, take a passeggiata through Monti, eat gelato, or perhaps relax in an outdoor café with a cool drink and ask yourself: what is the taste of Rome in ottobrate romane?

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Piazza di Santa Maria in Trastevere

Original Article by Samir Hassan

(Translated & Edited by  Diedré Blake)

 

Look Out For Posts Every Wednesday & Saturday!

The MindtheGuideTeam 

 

Learn Italian:

La campagna – Countryside

La passeggiata – Leisurely walk or stroll

Ma che bella ottobrata romana!   (What a lovely Roman October!)

MtG's Advent Calendar: 8 Days to Go…8 Facts to Know

With only 8 days to go, preparations of creating an unforgettable Christmas is in full swing in most homes throughout Italy, especially those in Rome.  This past Saturday, Pope Francis held the Vatican’s annual Christmas concert, featuring the likes of American singer-songwriter Patti Smith; and many other events are happening throughout the city over the next several days and beyond that. (Check out our previous post for a listing of some of those events: Winter in Rome).

(Video: He’s Ready for Holidays. Are You?)

Although Christmas is not celebrated by all who visit Rome or live here, the holiday certainly impacts the way in which the Eternal City is experienced during the winter.  To help you countdown to the 8 days to the big day, we’re sharing 8 facts about what it means to celebrate Christmas in Rome and the rest of Italy.  Feel free to share them with your friends!

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How to Travel Like a Local with MindtheGuide: A Guide to Rome

Welcome to MindtheGuide‘s Travel Blog! We are a networking hub that connects travelers to independent tour guides.  Based in Rome, MindtheGuide collaborates with licensed tour guides, who provide tours around Rome, the Eternal City.

Our key philosophy centers around the word choice, because we believe that travelers deserve to choose not just their tour locations, but also those who will lead them. Continue reading…