Tag Archives: sharpener


I was walking along via Orsini the other day when I heard the cry. At first I could make out only the music and did not hear the word clearly. Was it a man calling for his lost dog? A single word, in a strong, high pitched tone, prolonged, and clearly called many times before. Then I heard it again. Arrotino! Arr-o-ti-i-i-i-n-o-o-o! Arrotino — the knife grinder!

Then there he was, at the top of the street, pushing his bicycle, on which was mounted his grinding wheel. Every few steps he called out. Arrotino!
arrotino.jpg A window opened a few floors above the narrow street and a woman called out to him. He walked to her doorway to wait for her to bring her knives for sharpening. An ancient trade. I have not seen or heard an Arrotino for years.

I have been trying for two days to post my photographs of the Arrotino to this blog entry, but there is some sort of problem on the Penn State side. When that is resolved, I’ll post the photographs. These little extra technical problems in what is otherwise an excellent blogging platform are partly what convinced me to ask our Rome students to use Google’s blogspot software for their summer blog projects. They can be found at the Rome – Street and Studio blog.

Arrotino  Photo from 1980, Sergio Di Giovanni
Arrotino Itinerante – YouTube
Arrotino – Wikipedia

19 May 2008 – Thanks to Brad Kozlek of Penn State computer support for fixing the problem that was disabling the “insert image” feature so that we could post the photo of Arrotino.