Rovereto bomb days


Update: I’ve been doing a little work transferring this blog over to It’s my first time using, so things are a little messy for now (and perhaps for a while) but we’ll get there! Check out the new site for new content.

One of the more dramatic events of 2015 was the discovery of a rather large (?) bomb in Rovereto. Though we knew nothing of its existence until a week out from bomb disposal day, when we discovered that half of Rovereto was to be evacuated and all north and south transport links shut down. That is more drama than usual.

The bomb, the giant thing in the photo, was found buried in the grounds of the old tobacco manufacturer. It was dropped by the Americans during the Second World War and had been sitting quiet ever since. War, what is it good for exactly?

IMG_2992IMG_3008Initially, there was no bomb information anywhere. As I said, we didn’t even know of its existence. I should also mention here that we tend to not follow local news aside from what pops up from the papers on my Facebook news feed. But, eventually, signs started going up around the city. And it made front page local news, as did the arrests of suspected terrorists in Alto Adige. Things are usually a lot quieter around here. As a comparison, last week’s headline was about a supermarket’s opening hours, so this was kind of a big deal.

Bomb day turned out to be the same day that mum and I were flying to London (this was back in November), with our planned train right in the middle of it. We were (wrongly) skeptical about Italian planning and worried that the trains they had said would be running earlier in the morning would actually be running, so we got an early ride down to Verona with friends instead. We had expected to see a lot of traffic on the road but at 7 in the morning it was pretty deserted. I think the queues came later.

We made our flight with hours to spare, though it turned out we needn’t have worried. Everything seemed to move so smoothly. Matt was stuck at home, although our flat was just outside the evacuation zones, and the road blocked off to stop cars moving into the closed area, there was nowhere for him to go. All the pre-bomb trains ran when they said they would, the bomb was deactivated and moved, and the roads reopened after barely an hour.

The photo at the top of this post is from There is also video of the bomb exploding in this article and other photos from the evacuation day.

Another bomb related event came at the end of January. Matt, working late one night, was hustled out of his office by Carabinieri who were clearing the building because of a suspected bomb in a bag outside a cafe. Matt burst through the front door completely out of breath and clutching the few possessions he was able to grab – he had been told he had to leave right then, and the street outside was already cleared of pedestrians and traffic.

The bomb scare turned out to be just that, a scare. The overnight bag was water blasted and found empty.  Photos and step by step updates (Italian) here.


You can’t always get what you want from small town supermarkets

Because what you want most of the time, is food.

Two food related things took adjusting to on our arrival in Rovereto*. The first was the choice of food. Like Amsterdam three years before, we struggled to locate and identify sour cream. It took me until Christmastime to find frozen blueberries. Like a sucker, I definitely searched for them in every different supermarket I went to, and that finally paid off with a new supermarket that just opened. Avocados were the other big thing for us and we have had spotty success rates over the past (nearly) three years. Baking soda, strangely, was another ingredient I initially struggled to locate.

The second thing was the opening hours of supermarkets. In New Zealand it was sometimes possible to find a supermarket with a 24 hour opening schedule – although this was actually a little unnecessary, it was nice to know you could buy candy at all hours of the night (and I sometimes did).

Before we discovered the Sunday supermarkets, and the Monday morning supermarket, and the midday supermarket (all common times for shops to be closed), it definitely felt like grocery shopping happened according to some very old fashioned market hours. That if you hadn’t completed your shopping by early evening on a Saturday, it was a long, hungry wait until early Monday afternoon when they reopened. Eating out for every meal the other option.

Gradually, both the supermarkets started to change, and we discovered those with extended opening hours. Because we like to shop on Sundays, we used to cycle further to the outskirts of the city – just because there was a shop open on that preferred day. With more bread options.

And so it was big news when, just before Christmas, two new supermarkets opened. Rovereto being a small town, this made local news.

And, get this, our new local is open every day. Until 9 pm, except Sundays when it is open until 8.30. This is almost bittersweet as it is so close to our end, but we can now grocery shop almost anytime we like.

The other supermarket is too far outside of the city to be a regular, though we did walk by it on new years day. Being a holiday it was closed, but we could still see how enormous it is. Luckily for this nervous cyclist, it’s that much closer to the cycle path than the other giant supermarket further down the same road, where I once bought a pillow and then cycled very carefully home with it stuffed in my bike basket. Memories!

Matt has said that he will miss this, this not being able to buy anything and everything, at any and every time.

These small Italian supermarkets, selling their small range of Italian products, inspired a kind of comaraderie among the other foreigners here. We swapped tips on where to buy things. Fresh coriander arrives at one particular spice shop once a week (which we occasionally buy, even if it is stored in the meat counter). Another store by the river sells tahini paste, etc, etc. Beer, specifically craft beer, has been the big one for Matt. The lack of variety has inspired a beer tasting night, with beer ordered online consumed and compared. The demand for this type of event is less in a bigger city where every bar sells craft beer.



How many times can I type supermarket in one post? Just watch me: supermarket supermarket supermarket supermarket supermarket supermarket
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*The abundance of pizza and gelato was not a problem.

What’s so civic about a civic museum


Just before Christmas I spent a week knocking around Rovereto on my own. Matt was in the Netherlands for a conference, I would later meet him in Amsterdam where we spent Christmas. When I am home alone, I have a tendency to untether from routine. My routine isn’t even anything like Matt’s, but somehow when he isn’t here I stay up later, I stop cooking and I generally stop getting stuff done.

In spite of the extra time I spent in bed, claiming Matt’s side for sleeping and my own for storage of important things, I actually was out most days both working and socialising. I even managed to get to the Rovereto Mueso Civico, the final museum I had yet to see from Rovereto’s small collection.


I knew what to expect from this particular museum, it having already been visited by Matt and both sets of parents. And yet, I was still hoping for a little of Rovereto history, a little bit of civics. Rovereto’s civic museum is instead more of a natural history museum. The entire collection is rocks, taxidermied animals and the more decorative items from the ruins of Isera’s Roman villa.

Most perplexing is the presence of a kiwi in the bird collection, under the heading of ‘birds not often found in Italy but here by an accident of migration, etc, etc’. I’m paraphrasing, I don’t remember the exact words. If you didn’t know, New Zealand’s kiwi is a flightless, shy, nocturnal non-swimmer. There is no way that bird swam, flew or somehow migrated from New Zealand to Italy without being tucked (carefully, those claws are sharp) under someone’s arm and marched onto a ship.


There was no explanatory note card for why other non-Italian animals were here, other than they’re pretty fierce looking. Which begs the question, just what is a civic museum for? I assume general education and knowledge, meaning this museum was more valuable at its inception than now.

I can’t help but feel that a civic museum would better serve a city if it were about a city and its social history (the Isera Roman villa ruins aside), rather than a collection of the rocks it is built upon and a zoo of dead animals. I did actually feel very sad for all those animals.


At the time of my visit I was waiting to hear from Matt about how the conference and associated university work was going, hence my collection of inquisitive bird photos that were sent to him.

That’s me in the corner

Oh hey, that’s me! I would have jumped right into the fountain, if it weren’t for someone else rounding the corner into the square at the same exact moment. I made do with perching on the side instead. 

Those are some of the Christmas lights and baubles decorating Rovereto for the festive season, and just to the left is the beginning of the Rovereto Christmas markets. Where, incidentally, I have already spent a lot of time – thanks to the recent visit of my mum and sister, and also to the mulled wine the market stalls have on tap. All those lights, markets and hot wine make this city a pretty sweet place to be in December! (And also those other northern Italian towns with their markets, we visit those, too.)

The Saturday where we finally visited the weekly organic market

Strudel cooking class

Rovereto has a weekly organic market that, in our two and a half years of being here, we had never visited. For shame!

For the past year, we never managed to spend many Saturdays in Rovereto. This used to be because of my work (so pesky) but more recently it’s been because of a little bit of travel plus some of those bikes trips we’ve been doing with our newly freed Saturdays.

canaderli cooking classWe finally had a free Saturday and made plans to visit the market with a friend. Our trip in to the centre happened to coincided with an event, the purpose of which I don’t actually remember. It involved a fair bit of demonstrations from the local technical schools, and free bread. But what caught our eye was the cooking classes, because who doesn’t love a (free) cooking lesson? I’ve been halfheartedly attempting to take a class ever since we arrived in Italy, with this being my only success so far.

Because Trentino was until recently(ish) a part of Austria, and because our area is quite close to the Austrian border, the local cuisine still shows off some Austrian traits. That meant our cooking demonstrations (for I returned for a second) taught us the ways of apple strudel and canaderli.

canaderli cooking classFirst up the canaderli which (this version at least) was really rather simple. An egg, a stale bread roll, some Italian parsley and I think some milk. Here our lovely friend is showing off her perfectly formed creations, and Matt is likely thinking of lunch.

home made canaderli


strudel cooking classI was this excited to learn how to make strudel – check out that grin! My table companions clearly already knew how to make strudel, which would come in handy later on – and were practically finished before I had even started.

I’ll also just note here that all Italians seem to know how to peel and chop fruit and vegetables without the aid of a chopping board or peeler. I am in awe, especially because I have, on occasion, sliced fingers with knives and I am now slightly afraid of them. But Matt is going to buy me a folding picnic knife for my birthday, and I will learn.

strudel lessonsstrudel lessonsMy table companion was a master pastry roller. Her pastry was held up as an example for the rest of the class, and she then took over the rolling of my pastry (second photo). I was impressed, her, not so much with my pastry skills.

And no photo of the finished product (which was cooked in a professional bread oven), because meh. As much as I loved my home made strudel, and strudel in general, I do think apple pie is superior, and my strudel came out a little small and weeny looking.

We did also make it to the organic market that day where we were somewhat dismissively, but entertainingly, served by an old farmer. The Italian customers had conversations about what each item would be used for so the most appropriate piece of produce could be chosen. Whereas I had to nearly fight to get my rocket and, at the end, my total was handed to me on the receipt – because I was a foreigner (the implication being that I wouldn’t have understood). We plan to go back tomorrow :).

Autumn in Rovereto

It’s Autumn in Rovereto and I’m thinking about investing in a hard hat, because those chestnut trees are shedding conkers like they’re weapons.

It’s still too early for the Halloween pumpkins that decorate the Neptune fountain to come out. Once you’ve witnessed one annual cycle here, you start to know what to expect from Rovereto’s festive calendar. It isn’t too early, though, for the leaves on the trees to change, so there are lots of beautiful leaves in reds and browns that haven’t yet fallen from the tree.

And because it’s Autumn, I’ve started back at school with the community Italian lessons again. I won’t complain about them, as they have a very accessible price, but so far (one lesson in), my expectations for the amount to be learned are not so high.

De mas en mas – second year

de mas en mas rovereto trentinoDe Mas en Mas, one of our favourite local events, actually took place way back in May. But I can still post it here now, right? The combined pressure of uploading photos and writing words had been a little much for me. So lazy. But I’m onto it now.

de mas en mas roveretoIf you take the best elements of Trentino: the mountains, the grapes and the views, add a walking trail, food and a plentitute of cheap wine, then you have de mas en mas. I love it.

krapfen de mas en mas roveretode mas en mas roveretode mas en mas roveretoLike any good degustation, this one starts with breakfast. Because we’re so far north, this means the local doughnut is the German krapfen. And because it’s still Europe, we can eat sweets for breakfast. Mangia Matt, mangia!

de mas en mas roveretode mas en mas roveretode mas en mas roveretoAlso very Italian: all those accordions. Once the second guy found out about the English speakers in his audience, he played every English song he knew for us. We sung along badly, loudly, and rather off key.

imageOh hey there!

de mas en mas roveretoViews of Rovereto from a little further up.

de mas en mas roveretode mas en mas roveretode mas en mas roveretoA little of the Trentino countryside. We still don’t get out in it as much as we should. De mas en mas marks the beginning of the warmer weather, much like the upcoming Magna Longa (very similar event, but with a different location and no krapfen) marks the end of summer.