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Early Closing

Posted on Mar 4, 2009 | 8 comments

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 Like many “laws” here in Rome, I’m going to hold out hope that it will get repealed.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.

Check out a nice post by Miss Expatria and you’ll see that I’m not the only angry one. No more Cornetti at All Hours and no more sexy porchetta!


  1. That’s not going to stop people from drinking and going out late, its just going to put storeowners out of business at a time when businesses are struggling. Police could do alot to curb the noise. I hope the Italian people will protest and not give up and accept this. We slowly lose what little freedoms we have left as is slowly happening here in the US.

  2. I’m with you on this. The late night Italy shops are amazing. First time in Italy I was wondering why all these shops were closed during the day (I wanted to buy something to eat!). Well, discovered that at night 🙂

  3. Nonna – We will see. People are chatting about it here but I haven’t seen any protests yet. On the contrary, I’m sure the people that live in the Campo and Trastevere neighborhoods are celebrating, but I think they’ll quickly see this is not the solution to the problem.

    Honza – Haha, you can into the dreaded “pausa” the shops take in the afternoon. The shops are amazing! Let’s hope it ends soon! I don’t know if I wrote this to you before but the Palazzo Esposizioni here just had a photo show about Prague…it made me think of your blog!

  4. They tried to do similar thing in Prague. Closing bars, pubs and cafes in the historical center at midnight. But only steps away, where the midnight zone ends, there are all of those open till 6am so I don’t think it’s a good solution.
    Btw, thought of you too when taking this photo 🙂

  5. Oh thanks for sharing! Rome is all around us! (And yeah, that doesn’t sound like a very smart solution with the different zones!)

  6. Wow what a terrible idea. The Italian economy is on the verge of collapse so this won’t last. As you say, these late night sales keep many shops in business.

  7. I read miss expatria’s post.

    I think this rule doesn’t apply to places with certain licenses so not sure how this will impact Campo, Pz. Trilussa etc.

    The problem is the drinking in public has gotten out of hand. It’s not only the drunk American students but because of cheap airfare you have the whole stag/hen party coming to Rome to get plastered thing. I don’t think they add much to the tourism dollars.

    I don’t know what the solution is. There is an increased police presence in Campo, it doesn’t help.

    Some people say well you chose to live in the Center that’s on you. However unlike Tesstacio the apartments and Romans were here long before the American owned Drunken Ship etc, showed up with the Happy Hours and what not. So do we want to push out all restaurants/artists/little shops and turn the Historic center into a square full of puke on the streets?

    Call me crazy but when did Rome turn into Spring Break, ala Daytona Beach/South Padre Island. I co-sign completely with what Miss Expatria said.

    My Italian neighbors most who have lived here for years have had it and I don’t blame them.

    We’ll see what happens this spring/summer. I love this area and my apartment and I don’t want to move.

  8. NYC – I definitely see your point and I get the frustration, especially as you are right in the heart of the madness. I was talking to P about this at work and she rightly pointed out that this type of drunken behavior is so new for Rome that they’re struggling with how to deal. But she also rightly pointed out that they should look to other major cities like London or Paris to see how they deal. I know there are police around, but I’ve seen them blatantly stand near groups of teenagers drinking and rolling joints and do absolutely nothing….so no, I don’t think they’re doing their job.

    In big news however….after the uproar from a lot of people about the cornetto shops being shut…Sig. Alemanno has swooped in and said there will be a special permit cornetti shops can apply for by March 15 to be exempt from this rule and stay open all night…hooray!! You can see the article (in Italian, sorry English speakers!) on 06blog/

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