|Dianne with Il Messaggero. Piazza Cavour in the background, right.|
Thanks to Elizabeth Povoledo and The New York Times, we later learned that the knife sharpener, Carmine Mainella, then 74, is either the last itinerant knife-sharpener in Rome, or one of the last. As Mainella explained, there isn't much business to be had. Many of the delicatessens and small butcher shops that once gave him their business have been replaced by supermarkets that make their own sharpening arrangements, and most restaurants use knife rental services that replace dulling knives with newly sharpened ones on a regular basis.
Mr. Mainella has only 5 "shop" customers, down from 10 before the economic crisis. He has also been hit hard by increases in the cost of living as well as low-cost competitors. Some years ago, he says, "you could survive by sharpening 50 knives. Now, because you can't increase the price, you have to sharpen 500." Even so, Mr.Mainella enjoys his profession. "I am sorry that one day I will have to leave it," he notes. "But like everyone, sooner or later we all have to leave everything." True, but a bummer.
|This photo, by Alessandro Penso for the International Herald Tribune, was obviously taken from inside the truck.|
Why didn't I think of that!