Grattachecca: A Very Roman Tradition
Now that summer has arrived, what better way to quench one's thirst than with a refreshing glass of grattachecca.
Grattachecca is Roman to its core and consists of hand-shaved ice flavoured with a sweet syrup. The word comes from grattare la checca: to grate a large block of ice (checca). Such blocks of ice were used in the past to keep food fresh and cool.
Grattachecca, which has been a favourite with Romans for more than a century, is sold from a number of kiosks, which are dotted about the city. The oldest is Alla Fonte d'Oro, which dates back to 1913, while nearby Sora Mirella is only two years younger.
The locals are very keen to stress that grattachecca should not be confused with granita, which is made by simply freezing a mixture of water and syrup.
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My name is David Lown and I am an art historian from Cambridge, England. Since 2001 I have lived in Italy, where I run private walking tours of Rome.
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