Fresco of Moses and the Exodus, from the Dura Europos synagogue. Photo © Richard Beck.
This year, Passover begins at sundown on Friday, April 3 and ends the evening of Saturday, April 11. Bear in mind that first two days of Passover (from sundown of April 3 until nightfall two days later) are full-fledged, no-work-allowed holidays. The subsequent four days are Chol Hamoed, when work is allowed, albeit with restrictions. Chol Hamoed is followed by another two full no-work-allowed days. Expect many Jewish businesses to be closed for most of Pesach 5775. (more…)
Join me for exclusive visits to Monte Testaccio, an archeological site that is generally closed to the public. Composed of fragments of tens of millions of ancient terracotta amphorae, the site is a fascinating trash heap which testifies to the Roman appetite for imported oils during the Empire. We will begin our visit with some background of Testaccio, an area that was a hub of commercial activity in antiquity and during the industrial revolution and still clings to those traditions as the area becomes ever more gentrified. We will explore the concepts of ancient commerce and modern industrialization as we hike up to the top of Monte Testaccio for views over the old slaughterhouse, the Testaccio district and Ostiense’s industrial ruins.
Dates: March 17, 2:30pm; April 21, 2:30pm; May 13, 11:00am; May 26, 9:30am; June 9, 9:30am.
Meeting point: Bar il Seme e La Foglia, Via Galvani 18 (Map).
Duration: The guided tour will last approximately 1.5 hours.
NB: Booking is obligatory and fees include a guided tour and admission fees. Wear comfortable shoes and bring a camera!
If I were a traffic cop tasked with raising Rome’s revenue, I would camp out in front of Pasticceria Regoli, a pastry shop in the city’s Esquiline district. For nearly a century, the Regoli family has been baking and serving seasonal sweets and cream-filled pastries, attracting Rome dwellers from all over the city who today flagrantly double park in front of the small storefront on Via dello Statuto. Regoli’s maritozzi (sweet buns filled with whipped cream), bavaresi, crostate (jam tarts) and torte di fragoline (cake with chantilly cream and wild strawberries) are well worth a ticket (though none are written). The block-traffic-with-your-illegal-parking-to-leisurely-buy-pastries ritual is a fact of Roman life that rarely goes punished. In Regoli’s case, the rewards are beautiful sweets made with traditional recipes even older than the shop’s throwback interior design.
The traffic situation intensified recently when Regoli opened a second location, a café, next door. Finally, Rome’s sweet tooths have a place in which to immediately devour these famous and flawless pastries, other than a parked car, that is.
Dairy farmers in the northern Italian region of Trentino say the Adopt A Cow initiative has been a financial godsend for their small businesses. I spoke with journalist Chris Livesay on NPR’s The Salt about the project. Of course, we also ate cheese.
For centuries, pizza in Naples – indeed, across Italy – was meant to be a cheap fast food. It became such an ubiquitous phenomenon that many pizzerie have managed to skate by on sub-par ingredients, quick doughs and low-quality toppings. Only recently has pizza in Naples and beyond entered a new era. Call it third-wave pizza, a movement that celebrates raw materials, gives supreme attention to fermentation, and restores dignity to the craft. I share the whole story with Australian Gourmet Traveller in their annual Italy issue, on newsstands now, and available online here.