The tradition of the Roman “ottobrate”

At the Hotel Alpi in Rome we know that the arrival of autumn is accompanied by a feeling of nostalgia because another summer has passed by so quickly, but in Rome even autumn is considered a time for fun!

October is the month of splendour: the lights, the climate, the fragrances. Glimpses of the city are shaded with strokes of the warm, enchanting red of the autumnal leaves, the sun enhancing both these shades and their magic. The colour of wine, of the harvest, and also the colour of blood, which is a symbol of life.

In ancient times in the Eternal City the tradition of the “Ottobrata Romana” used to bring an end to the period of the grape harvesting. Every Sunday, rich and poor people would leave the city for a daytrip to the countryside, divided at first but later united by the joys of good wine!

Extravagant and sumptuous dresses enhanced the beauty of the Roman women: hats with flowers and feathers, jewels and dresses made of silk and velvet. Men, no less so than women, used to wear lavish clothing and play musical instruments to accompany the “stornelli”, Roman popular songs. The days were spent dancing (dances such as the popular “saltarello”), playing games and feasting on traditional Roman food: gnocchi, tripe, abbacchio (roast lamb) and gallinaccio (Turkey braised in white wine and broth). Everything was done in the name of fun. 

“birimbello birimbello

quant’è bono ‘sto sartarello

smòvete a destra smòvete a manca

smòvete tutto cor piede e coll’anca”

“birimbello birimbello

how beautiful is this sartarello

move left move right

move all of your body with your foot and tight”

Favourite destinations? Testaccio, outside of Porta San Giovanni and Porta Pia, the countryside near Ponte Milvio, rich with vegetable gardens and vineyards.

Some of you might have deduced that the tradition of the “ottobrate” is an evolution of the Dionysus bacchanals in ancient Rome, celebrations linked to the cycle of the seasons.

Coming back to Rome used to be much noisier than the departure! Unfortunately the tradition of the “ottobrate” ended at the beginning of the 20th century, but still, whenever there is good weather in October, you can hear Roman people exclaiming “Che bella ottobrata! (“what a beautiful ottobrata!”).

Come and spend your Roman “ottobrata” at the Hotel Alpi. Autumn is one of the best periods in Rome.

Contact us for more information!