In 2002 the historical Cinecittà market was moved from largo Appio Claudio to a partially covered area with iron stands and plexiglass covers, between Quintilio Varo and Giulio Capitolino streets.
A walk through the stalls
“Since then the market is cleaner and neater – tells us Mauro, who is among the historical sellers as his fruit and vegetable stall dates back in 1970, and before then his family used to work at the market in Coppelle square – but the move did not bring the expected benefits, there are not so many people passing by and the soul of the market itself has been distorted: today it looks like a big store”.
Today there are approximately forty stalls offering food, fruits and vegetables (even a few farmers, such as Mauro), household goods, meat, fish, homemade pasta by Rita's.
“I have been here since 1992 with a fruit and vegetable stall inherited from my father, who used to work at Tor Pignattara market, then for sometime I worked with my wife who ran a stall at Colli Albani market, she kept that while I work here by myself, there is a lady helping me only on Fridays and Saturdays” tells us Antonio, who sells the products of his own land in Velletri just aside common fruits and vegetables. He uses these very suggestive signs to distinguish them: “sweet apricots”, “my own peaches”, “luxury green beans”. “When we were outdoors, there were almost 65 stalls, but then we just remained forty, those retiring are not being replaced” he says.
Among the retired ones, Vincenzo, who used to run a deli and was the historical president of the market. He has been replaced by Antonio, who runs a grocery stall since 1989, with his mother Concettina. “The problem of generational change is natural, often the children don't want to take over the family business, but often also the city administration has some resposibility – says Antonio – these shops close and some times it takes years before a call to re-assign them. I take the requests of many people who would be willing to take over a stall at the market, but the procedure is a public call, which might take a very long time. It will end up that when the call is published, all the stalls will be closed. It's a shame, because there are still many people who like the direct contact with the seller, I have some customer who have been coming to my stall for 30 yeras, since my mother first opened it".
But there is also someone who still believes in the appeal of the market and has decided to invest in a stall truly out of ordinary: a fishmonger which offers a wide choice, also of dishes ready to eat and is even a small restaurant, open five days a week (from Tuesdat to Saturday, Sunday and Monday closed). Luigi is the one who got the idea “The fishmonger was open since 2002, but the idea of selling take away dishes and opening a restaurant came up a couple of years ago. The clients are not the same: there are those who buy fish, those who buy the dishes prepared by our chef Fabio, those who come for an aperitivo with raw fish and those who stay for dinner”.
In the section of ready dishes there is not only food, but also vegetables of all kinds, next to prawns on a spit, pickled anchovies, salmon and mozzarella rolls, while the price of the restaurant menus is really competitive (dinner menu at 25 or 30 euros, lunch at 15). Luigi tells us: “In spite of the crisis who impacted on everyone, three evenings per week we are sold out, even if we are at the market”.
"I like fruits… not like veggies… I don’t really eat ALL fruits, but most of them. But there are some fruits I really reeeeally like: cherries. I could eat tons of them. The first time I went to Cinecittà market, I was only a year and a half, I walked already but Mummy used to keep me in the pushchair so that I could not mess around. So, to be able to talk to the sellers at the stall, Mummy had to feed me with cherries… I would eat one after another and ask for more. After a while, Mummy took me away from the cherries and she gave me a pen to keep me quiet while she was talking to the sellers. To find out that, at the end of her chat, I looked like and abstract painting, blue ink and red cherry. When we got home, she threw me in the bath tab for a long bath”.
Just around the corner
We are at CINECITTA' market, there is nothing to add. Rome might have lost the appeal that made it “Hollywood on Tevere river” in the fifties and sixties, but a walk in its studios brings back the memories of Fellini and Visconti, Scorsese’s gangs or Nanni Moretti’s cardinals.So we suggest to get into that “dreams factory” from Fellini’s Casanova Venusia and get lost among the videos and objects which tell the story and bring back the magic of this place. From Clint Eastwood’s poncho in “A fistful of dollars” to Anita Ekberg’s dresses in “La dolce vita”, or Toto’s suit in “The gold of Naples” and Amarcord’s tree… every corner of the PERMANENT EXHIBITION find its way to the heart of cinema lovers. But Cinecittà is not a collection of memories, a temple to commemorate cinema, but actually a place where cinema comes true. In a few meters you can move from a XIX century New York City to Coco Chanel’s Paris, up to a vintage Bologna by Pupi Avati. So, the main visitors’ attraction are the big sets. Among the ones that can be currently visited, the most suggestive is probably the one of antique Rome.
In these establishments were filmed kolossals such as “Quo Vadis?”, “Cleopatra” e and “Ben Hur”, which, together with the “English patient”, brought to Cinecittà the greatest number of Oscars.
The current set has been built for the American series “Rome”, but also to film the remake of "Ben Hur". After all, the story of these sets it’s also a story of big recycles: when you visit Florence in 1400 be aware that originally it was meant to be Assisi in a fiction about Saint Francis, it was the site of “My friends” and it was presented as Verona in a recent version of “Romeo and Juliet” with Paul Giamatti.
Same story for the third set along the way: that of “Temple in Jerusalem”, created for the upcoming shooting of “Christ the Lord” by the same set designer who had created the framework of Mel Gibson’s “The Passion” always in Cinecittà.
For those who want to do more than just walk along these sets pretending to be an actor there is a proposal that “cannot be refused” (as the Padrino would say. By the way, some of the scene of the third chapter of the saga have been filmed by Coppola here…). It’s BACKSTAGE, an interactive path which allows the visitor to go through the different phases of creation of a movie. So, you can act as a director, set designer, costume designer, make-up artist or enrich your movie with music and special effects.
In other words, try the thrill of building a dream from scratch, here, in that ideal place – as Federico Fellini would define it – which recalls “the cosmic vacuum before big bang”.
|where||via Quintilio Varo / Largo Giulio Capitolino|
Monday – Saturday, h 6:30-15:00 (Tuesday and Friday open until 20:00)
|PARking||below the market (first hour free of charge if you buy at the market)|
Line A (subaugusta)