Roman Folklore: Customs, Events and Places of the Eternal City’s Traditional Culture

Roman Folklore: Customs, Events and Places of the Eternal City’s Traditional Culture

saltarelloMonuments, ruins, churches, artworks, restaurants, shops etc…. All of these draw the attention of Rome visitors, but what’s beyond these material elements of the Eternal city’s beauty and past?

The answer is the local culture, Roman traditions, stories and customs. The Eternal City’s folklore is very intense and interesting as it tells you a lot about the life of ordinary Romans throughout 28 centuries, the real essence of a population that saw Emperors, Popes, Cardinals from all over the world gathering here, and the character of this part of Italy.

We propose you a different itinerary that will help you to know the soul of Rome, how real people lived in the city and surroundings.

We couldn’t but start in what is possibly Rome’s most underrated museum, the Folk Museum in EUR. IT encompasses the whole of Italy but there are also some Roman elements that are really worth a visit. The first has to do with wine. The area south of Rome labeled Castelli has always been the main source of wine for Rome and in the second hall of the museum you can see a fantastic cart of a 19th century wine-seller. In a separate area of the museum you can enjoy the view of 25 Roman puppets used for shows about medieval literary cicles.

The city of Rome boasts of two museums dedicated to her history and both have very interesting folk items. Let’s start with the Museo di Roma in Trastevere. After having enjoyed its photography exhibitions, in the upper floor you shoudn’t miss the Trilussa room with relics of Rome’s top poet of last century and the following rooms showing real size inns and ordinary life scenes of 19th century’s Rome. Last but not least Ettore Roesler Franz’s beautiful watercolors will show you how Rome was before the works that transformed it into Italy’s capital (3rd quarter of the 19th century).

The Museo di Roma in Navona square has a lot of monumental and elegant works that teach you little about Roman folklore but there are some paintings that show draw your attention those about Roman feasts and Carnival in particular. These works shed light on a relatively recent past most Romans completely ignore.

And what is the best time to live this authentic Roman atmosphere? One starts tomorrow with the Festa de Noantri in Trastevere, one of Rome’s most genuine boroughs until a few years ago.

The other is in October for the Ottobrate Monticiane, the local feast that takes place in Monti, historical rival of Trastevere.

A third area we recommend you to visit if you’re keen on discovering Rome’s hidden identity is the Ghetto, which hosts the Jewish community, a group that started relocating in Rome already a few decades before Christ’s birth.

Another key event is the Roman Song Festival – Festival della Canzone Romana – which usually runs at the end of September.

The period of the year when Rome’s good side emerges at its best is Christmas. With the city full of cribs and nativities and the season carols by zampognari, double pipe playing Roman shepherds.