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Rome Reports

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The little market of Piazza Navona, a must-see Christmas classic in Rome

The great fountain in the middle of Piazza Navona in Rome is not the only reason to go there for a walk during Christmas. The masterwork of Bernini struggles for attention with the shops that fill the square. The little market of Piazza Navona is a hundred year-old tradition that brings to Rome Italian family owned businesses. In their own way they have witnessed a change in history. MERCURI TINO Shop "Er Balocco� "I remember that when I was a child we would have fun with very few things; for example, with a slingshot or things like that. Now kids are very demanding. Actually, they come here, they take a look, but in the end buy nothing... It is clear that their parents are the ones that like to buy these old-fashioned toys, because when they come here the parents have to encourage their children, who are used to electronic things.� This shopkeeper has come to Piazza Navona every single Christmas for the past 40 years. He first helped his parents with the shop and now runs the business. He sells old-fashioned toys, and even though the little ones may have lost their interest in these kind of products, he is still convinced of their value. Not just for having fun. MERCURI TINO Shop "Er Balocco� "The toys and games I prefer are the ones made of wood that teach you things, toys you can play and learn with. They can teach the shapes, the articulations. The kind of games that teach the children how to play and also how to learn. All these toys are now doomed to disappear thanks to the videogames.� He set up his shop the last week of November, and will go back home after January 6, when the market will officially shut down for another year. Not just him: also the rest of shops sell traditional and local Italian products, from Christmas decorations to seasonal candy. A must-see Christmas classic in Rome. PM MG JM -PR Up:JRB #Art and Culture