Tuscolano III market


icona alimentareicona abbigliamentoThe covered market Tuscolano III in Quadraro neighborhood is sight for sore eyes, with its 120 stalls of all kinds it’s one of the richest markets in Southern Rome.

A walk through the stalls

“I own the stall since 1957, we used to stay outside in Lucio Sestio road, then in ’62 we moved in this covered building, but we needed to move out again for its refurbishing. Now we have been here since 1992 and we are not moving anywhere – tells us Duilio, one of the historical vendors, who runs a bread, pasta and sweets stall together with his brother Sergio and his wife – With a few others we are the oldest sellers, I know the history of this market very well. My father used to run the business, I started to work with him as soon as I finished primary. I have so many memories, the best ones are related to the holidays. I remember one Christmas Eve, it had rained all day long, we were still open air, we left the house at 5 am and got back home at 10 pm all wet, many good memories date back to some December 24th when we used to work nonstop. Well, those days don’t exist anymore”.

Together with a nostalgic Duilio, there are also many young people looking for a new challenge at Tuscolano III market, as Massimiliano who opened an optician corner.
“There are not a lot of opticians inside the markets, but in the current crisis we have to find some alternative ways” he explains. Next to Massimiliano, three women generations (the grandmother Luciana, the mother Adriana and the daughter, very young, Francesca) run an haberdashery stall (with a wide offer of knitting wool), a linen and a women wear stalls. In addition to clothes, shoes and accessories, there are also many services all around the market perimeter: the hairdresser, the cobbler, the laundry and Antonella’s café, who welcome her customers every day with a coffee, a smile and a joke. Close to each other, the butchers, the 12fishmongers and the delis, among which stand out Maurizio and Gino, who, slicing the ham, defines himself the last sorcino (literally, little rat but this is the nickname of the fans of the Italian singer Renato Zero). The central stalls are dedicated to fruits and vegetables, including several farmers. Among others, there is the double stall Orto Roma, which Luigi explains us about “We are a family business, within Appia Antica Park. We work since 3 generations, my grandfather Luigi founded it, then my father-in-law Giuseppe took over and now, my wife and I, together with the other siblings and some staff, do the farming. In addition to fruits and vegetables, we only have hens for eggs as of today, but we would like to create a little farmyard where kids could meet the animals, while parents shop onsite. We also have some kids ourselves, who are still young and can barely speak, but we are sure they will want to carry on this family’s tradition.

Alice’s wonderland

"8When I went to Quadraro's market, it was almost Halloween, you know, that holiday sort of like Carnival, but instead of dressing up as a princess, I had to find something more scary? So, there just a few days left to that holiday, which grown ups say, it's not a traditional holiday for us, it was brought over by Americans... but who cares? The important thing is that us, children, we have fun, right? Trick or treat? Well, at Quadraro's market they didn't realtt worry about the holiday being American or Italian. There were just pumpkins all around the stalls, carved with eyes and nose, or still to be carved, of all sizes and prices. Mummy bought one, but she didn't carve it and put a candle inside of it, she just made a risotto, which was very good by the way. And me, I actually ended up dressing as a witch, but I couldn't really wear all black, so the hat, I bought it fuchsia. Ok Halloween, but too much is too much”.


icone aliceTo be honest, it’s not exactly around the corner, it’s somewhere between 650 and 700 meters away, or 2 bus stops, but we promise it’s worth it.bimbiponente

In via Mondovì 21 there are some of the best booksellers in Rome. My friends and I know many of them, and I have to say that they are all very good, but the book sellers at Ponte Ponente are great, you never get bored with them. They organize many interesting things, almost every day of the week and also on week-ends: readings, labs, trainings and games. Not to mention their summer and winter camps, or even when school is closed for some reason. I went to their summer camp many times, as the bookshop is small, they take us around to see exhibitions, museums, parks and even at the market. Last summer we went to the market in viale Spartaco, which is covered, and when we went back to the bookshop we had a picnic lunch.


Just around the corner

If you talk about Quadraro's market, we have to talk about “Mamma Roma”, the unforgettable character played by Anna Magnani in Pier Paolo Pasolini's second movie. It's in this neighborhood that the former prostitute tries to start a new life with a vegetables stall. It's probably less known that Pasolini himself, two years earlier, had debuted as an actor, in another movie, inspires to an historical – if not mithological – character of the neighborhood: the “Gobbo” (literally, the hunchbacked). The background is a city occupied by nazis, a neighborhood born in the Twenties around Felice aqueduct, to host those who were displaced from downtown, and the immigrants from Southern Italy. It later became the only neighborhood in Rome to get a medal for the civil value, thanks to the role it played during Resistance (a “wasp nest” according to the Nazists, a “subversive favela” according to its inhabitants). In Monte del Grano park there is a monument to remember the most dramatic episode of this story, the April 17, 1944 sweep: the most cruel search after the one in the Jewish Ghetto six months earlier.
The order was given by the German command after the killing of three Wehrmacht soldiers in a bar of the neighborhood. It was our character to shoot: Giuseppe Albano, also known as “Gobbo del Quarticciolo” due to a physical malformation. It's not easy to imagine it now, wandering around these buildings (some of them worthy, others anonymous if not really ugly), but during occupation, Quadraro neighborhood was for the Nazists as Sherwood forest for Nottingham's sheriff. And the Gobbo its Robin Hood.
Originally from Calabria, devoted to theft and expert in using the knife since he was very young, at the age of 16 he will join Resistance and become one of the most dreaded enemies. Bandit and partisan, undisciplined but very brave, the Gobbo will keep on feeding his legend even after Liberation, the Gobbo will keep on feeding his legend setting up a band of “inglorious bastards” with the goal of finding and giving to justice the former fascist persecutors, but also continuing the raids and thefts, especially towards the people who had got rich through the black market, whom the Gobbo would steal from, to help the poor and the ones who had suffered for the war.
We mentioned above the monument of the sweep of approximately two thousands inhabitants of Quadraro neighborhood. It’s in a park, now named “April 27th, 1944”, once called Monte del Grano (literally, the corn mountain). The name comes from a small grass hill, hiding a real treasure: ALESSANDRO SEVERO’S MAUSOLEUM, which is the third one after Augusto’s and Adriano’s (now Castelsantangelo). Unfortunately it’s in the suburbs and it’s entitled to a “minor” emperor, who ascended the throne at the age of 14 at the beginning of III century, when the Roman eagle was already flying down. He was not very popular and his empire will be destroyed by the army, who was always blaming him for not being determined enough and for being too dependent on his mother, what in Italian would be called “bamboccione”. So, to solve all the problems one shot, they killed him together with his mother. But the cumbersome presence of the mother didn’t abandon him, even after death: the visitors to Capitolini Museums could see mother and son, smiling and relaxed, next to each other, on the beautiful sarcophagus found at Quadraro’s Mausoleum.
In addition to the hidden Mausoleum, Quadraro shows a number of other jewels, inherited from emperors (Claudio’s aqueduct) or popes (Porta Furba and Felix aqueduct by Sistus V, Clemens XII’s fountain). But the area also offers and interesting path within the most contemporary art, the street art, and actually dedicates to it an open air museum: the M.U.R.O. (Museum of Urban Art in Rome).
Designed in 2010 by the artist David “Diavù” Vecchiato and opened in 2012, the museum organizes guided tours, walking or biking, to discover the most beautiful murals in town, made by artists coming from all over the world (next to Italians, there are now Americans, Frenches, Mexicans and one Kazak) to color up Quadraro’s neighborhood. The Museum spirit is a dialog with the environment and the people living there, an itinerary to tell Quadraro’s stories and at the same time write the following chapter of its novel.

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In the streets around the market


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