Steaming roasted chestnuts are sold on many street corners of the capital. In ancient Rome, chestnuts were a well-known fruit that was used as a substitute for bread for fasting women during women’s cults related feasts.
That perfume, today, spreads in every alley: it starts from the cobblestones and reaches up to the sky, flooding all of Rome with chestnut roasting.
Umbrella, chestnuts on the fire with any weather or season, a card with prices: ten chestnuts for five euros, without receipt. Transferred stalls, changes of ownership, licenses that become “anomalous” and therefore no longer seasonal: the last census counted thirty-eight ten-year workstations combined with different surnames but still attributable to a well-known family of street vendors whose name appears in investigations by the Traffic Prosecutor of licenses.
The permit for the sale of roasted chestnuts in the street is valid until March 31st but it is enough to take a stroll in the center to realize that not everyone respects the law despite the fact that many stalls are located in the most commercially valuable place of Rome, paying the usual ridiculous fee of a few hundred euros for occupation of public land, whereas the adjacent commercial establishments pay rents of hundreds of thousands of euros a year.