I took this shot of a shop that is up for sale or rent near the Jewish Ghetto and thought it made good sense to pair with a post about the news that food stores and stalls in Rome will now have to close by 1 am. Sigh. Lots of articles are going around with headlines like “No more ice cream at 1 am in Rome!,” but if you think about it and you know a bit about living here, it’s a bit more sad and serious than that. Is it an attempt to curb noise in the rowdy Campo de’ Fiori and Trastevere areas? Sorry to tell lawmakers, but I doubt this is going to change those things. What might help would be an increased police presence there to disperse groups. I have friends who live in those areas and I know it’s extremely noisy for them late at night, but really I’ve got to say that Rome’s “wild” night life is pretty anemic next to any other large city I’ve lived in. Shutting down food stores at 1 am isn’t going to stop people from going out. What it’s going to do is drive the businesses that thrive on those customers to close their doors.
I think of the sandwich shop near my house that doesn’t open until 10 pm and earns its money from late night customers. Or the food cart on the Batteria Nomentana that does the same. I think of the fun in discovering a delicious pastry shop with my Italian friends that satisfies your sweets craving late at night. I think of my colleague P, who told me stories of the amazing bar she used to go to for late night cornetti after dancing and then being so happy when I got to experience it for myself. I really hope that this gets overturned and I’m a bit surprised I haven’t heard more about the store owners being up in arms. Like many “laws” here in Rome, I’m going to hold out hope that it will get repealed. People will still go out, now they’ll just be out drunk and hungry without anything to soak up some of the alcohol in their system.