Scenes from an Italian vacation: Roman knife grinders

pb0501304Rome’s centro storico is a labyrinthine wonderland of odd corners.  Wander down a nondescript vicolo (alley) and you’re likely to encounter architectural treasures, ancient ruins, or even the knife grinders. 

The tourist-choked, restaurant-dense old heart of the city supports at least two itinerant knife sharpeners, who travel from customer to customer, honing edges al fresco. 

This self-propelled entrepreneur services the kosher butchers, bakers, and restauranteurs in the old jewish ghetto.  




pb0300381His slightly modernized counterpart was seen just off the piazza Navona in his tiny truck/workshop, painted the same color as cavolo nero (tuscan kale).

Both appeared to be conducting brisk business, with dozens of knives sharpened and piles more awaiting attention.  I wonder if Italian has a specific word for “itinerant knife grinder”…………..

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