At the end of July, the Roman quarter of Trastevere comes alive, in memory of Our Lady of Carmel, for “the Festa de'Noantri”. A religious procession that serves as a pretext for eight days of celebration: street shows, crafts, gastronomy, but above all colors, scents and joie de vivre meet you there. The opportunity to discover the popular side and theunspoiled authenticity of one of the most beautiful areas of Rome, with a strong personality.
Across the Tiber
Everything is in the name C. For a long time they did not consider this Roman dialect among themselves, difficult for a foreigner to understand?
And yet, on the other side of the coin, Trastevere has paid dearly for its authenticity for the past ten years. Like the east of Paris, the old Roman suburb is in the process of “boboisation”. American and European tourists flock to the restaurants and bars in the neighborhood, where a coffee can cost up to 3 €! Since 1950, the district has grown from 55 to 000 inhabitants following an evolution inversely proportional to the cost of real estate. In short, a sad refrain that is not foreign to us. Fortunately, social diversity has not disappeared from this district on the banks of the Tiber. There are still taverns where you can eat your pasta on paper tablecloths for three times nothing, barbers that you would think come out of a Dino Risi film, linen at the windows and exquisite scents escaping from mamma's kitchen. Another sign of popular resistance in Trastevere: a traditional festival, the Festa de'Noantri. A real neighborhood party with street entertainment, great food, lanterns, a procession and, above all, a legend. But still no website ...
At the origins of the festival, a legend
Again, the name says it all. The Festa de'Noantri flaunts color: in Roman dialect, it means “the feast of us”, the inhabitants of Trastevere. Since 1927, this neighborhood feast begins every year from the Saturday following July 16 and constitutes the secular side of a feast in honor of Our Lady of Carmel (Madonna del Carmine). At the origin of the Festa we find an old legend of Trastevere which begins, as it should, on a violent stormy evening. In 1535, fishermen would have found in the waters of the agitated river a wooden statue of the Virgin, baptized "the Madonna Fiumarola" (the Madonna of the river). It was then offered to the Carmelites at San Crisogono Church, which is located in what is now Sydney Sonnino Square.
Having become the patron saint of Trastevere in the XNUMXth July, the inhabitants of the district pay homage to the Madonna del Carmine by transporting her, during a procession, along the streets of Trastevere, from Sant'Agata to San Crisogono, where she is exposed for eight days to popular veneration before returning to where it came from.
And the sacred became profane ...
In Italy and the Latin countries, religious celebrations are often used as a pretext for very earthly celebrations. It must be said that, to recover from the heat of summer, the carriers of the Virgin have taken the habit of stopping in the taverns of Trastevere for a drink. In short, the feast of Our Lady has never engendered pious melancholy. Having become Festa de'Noantri, she fully assumes her secular side and, more than the Virgin, the Madonna del Carmine represents Trastevere in the hearts of the Romans. Here, from Saturday July 22 to Sunday July 30, a whole neighborhood will be self-celebrating.
Besides the procession, which this year, meats, cheeses and gelati of all kinds, sipping a good little wine, an ice-cold beer or the grattachecca, crushed ice drizzled with syrup.
But the Festa de'Noantri also has a cultural component that highlights the work of local artists. It is good to stroll around the neighborhood to admire open-air exhibitions, street performances, concerts and plays that remind us that Italians are the creators of the Commedia dell'Arte. On the occasion of the holiday, a book fair (Libri in Campo) is also held in the beautiful Santa Maria in Trastevere square at the Casa delle Letterature, where readings and meetings with authors are planned. But you can also let yourself be carried away by the charm of the Roman summer, follow the waves of the crowd, go wherever you want, carried by the clamors and the smells ... Nothing is more pleasant, indeed, than to be lose yourself in the alleys of this unique neighborhood. If this happens to you on the evening of the closing of the festival, July 30, roll your eyes: fireworks will show you the way to the heart of Trastevere, piazza Santa Maria. And don't forget: all roads lead to Rome anyway.
- Trastevere Tourist Office: piazza Sydney Sonnino, tel. : (00-39) 06-58-33-34-57.
- Tourist information on the site: www.romaturismo.it
- Information on cultural news from the Estate Romana festival, partner of the Festa de'Noantri: www.estate.roma.it
Where to sleep ?
- Hotel Trastevere: Via Luciano Manara, 24. Tel. : (00-39) 06-58-14-713. A well-run hotel with a harmonious setting and perfect rooms. Excellent address in the heart of the district. Doubles at 105 €, buffet breakfast included.
Where to eat ?
- Da Augusto: piazza de Renzi, 15. Tel. : (00-39) 06-58-03-798. Closed Saturday evening and Sunday. In a charming square, behind Santa Maria in Trastevere. Popular atmosphere and dishes between 7 and 9 €. Good pasta, meats and superb tiramisu.
- Chiesa San Crisogono: Piazza Sonnino, 44.
- Chiesa Sant'Agata: Largo S. Giovanni de Matha, 9.