a rome list for hunters and gatherers

I’ve been asked quite often recently about whether a Roman version of a charity shop actually exists.  The answer is no, kind of, in a way, yes. Charity shops are my idea of the perfect equation.  Old things are handed on, making room in cupboards for new ones.  The thrifty, like me, get to rummage about, finding that perfect French label in an Oxfam shop … Continue reading a rome list for hunters and gatherers

low tech Italian classics to stuff into your suitcase

Made in Italy is renowned for shoes and bags, fast cars, alta moda and serious furniture design.  Hiding behind the big names and famous brands are the artisans; leatherworkers, furniture designers, glassblowers, mosaicists, shoemakers; craftsmen and women of so many kinds, and in between the famous brands and the artigiani are the medium size businesses that are the backbone of Italy the industrial nation.  Because as the traveller so easily … Continue reading low tech Italian classics to stuff into your suitcase

about my father, seville oranges and making marmalade

I don’t often write about my father on my blog, unfairly so, because I am, and I think you can say this at 44 years of age, as much my father’s daughter as I am a replica of my mother.  Our real shared love is for the Australian high country, a special sort of bond built over years of camping and walking; of long drives … Continue reading about my father, seville oranges and making marmalade

ancient walls and found objects *

Porta Maggiore was the eastern gateway to ancient walled Rome, the huge arched opening in the Aurelian walls where the Via Casalina and the Via Prenestina converge on the city.   Now the crumbling marble arches act more like a roundabout; circled by cars and the rattle of trams that roll in from Pigneto on one side and Testaccio on the other.  I’ve written about Porta Maggiore before … Continue reading ancient walls and found objects *

to shop or not to shop

If a city, especially one like Rome, is a great outdoor museum, then shopping is one of the (legitimate) ways of exploring it.  Lexically speaking to do the shopping or fare la spesa is a needs based activity, consisting mainly of a long list stuffed into your back pocket (or left at home on the kitchen bench) and a slightly unpleasant haul through the nearest supermarket.  Certainly it becomes … Continue reading to shop or not to shop

Midsummer: wild fennel and volcanic varietals

I read recently that in the 60’s and 70’s Melbourne Italians were often seen wandering the suburban railways picking bunches of wild fennel flowers amongst the sleepers.  During one of my first visits to Capodimonte on the shores of Lake Bolsena I remember seeing pensioners diligently scattering the yellow flowers on trays and sheets laid out in the sun.  Weathered faces would nod happily and … Continue reading Midsummer: wild fennel and volcanic varietals

Nut Cracking

In Italy nuts are known as Frutta Secca, which to me sounds a bit strange because it translates as dried fruit, which for us English speakers is more sultanas, prunes, dried apricots and the like.  But when you think about it, the things that fall of trees at this time of the year; Castagne (chestnuts), Nocciole (hazelnuts), Noci (walnuts) and Pinoli (pine nuts) are all, botanically … Continue reading Nut Cracking

Boot Sales for beginners

Photos Marie Sjoberg Charity shops make such good sense, people clean out their attics, volunteers feel good and gain experience in the stores, buyers find bargains or just pass time sifting through what is one man’s trash but another man’s treasure.  We Australians love ’em, my mother is always saying that there are more people in The Salvos than in the regular shops, intently searching … Continue reading Boot Sales for beginners