It's summer in the Eternal city, but even now this store is full of holiday cheer. It's called "Sempre Natale,” a Christmas oasis in the midst of the Roman heat. It's open year-round, and sells handmade, crystal ornaments from all over Europe.
"Many tourists and also many Romans have Christmas ornament collections. To me, it didn't seem enough to just find them during the holidays. Because of that, we offer the possibility to find them year round.”
Visitors will find all types of ornaments, from the standard to the extravagant. They include replicas of vintage decorations from the 1940's, to superheroes; from fairy tales characters to food shapes. Their customers reflect this diversity.
"We have all kids of shoppers. Collects will find limited edition ornaments, signed and numbered, for their large collections. Everyday people will find ornaments that remind them of their childhood, of when they were kids, next to their grandfather's tree. So they buy them more out of affection and nostalgia.”
According to Romani, the tradition to put up Christmas trees has increased recently. The tree, he said, represents a line of continuity between past, present and future.
"Each person, in some say, must find a piece of themselves reflected on that tree. And since we're so diverse from one another, each person wants to represent themselves with a different object.”
The most popular items at this shop are the ones that symbolize Rome, Italy and the Vatican. Although Romani said that ultimately, the figure that brings everyone together is St. Nick.