FERRAGOSTO is an ancient Italian holiday named after the Emperor Augustus: "feriae Augusti", literally "Augustus' rest". It falls on August 15th, also the day of the Immaculate Conception. Traditionally on this day Italians go out of the city to che countryside, mountains or sea to get cool and fresh air. In fact Rome right now is deserted. I went around the neighborhood and everything is CHIUSO PER FERIE (closed for the holidays). There are only three bread shops in our area and they are ALL closed, the grocery shop is closed, the fruit shop is closed. The only shops open are the supermarkets so they are invaded by tourists who don't know where to go or what to do. They should have been told not to come during this week to Rome, when everyone is away and everything is closed. Actually this year, only 4 out of 10 Italians have gone on holiday. It's due to the economic crisis. The people who have money don't spend because if they do, the Finance Guard will come after them for taxes, and for those who don't have money...well, the problem doesn't arise. HAPPY FERRAGOSTO!
Since the pastry shops are also closed, I made my own dessert: Gingerbread with Butterscotch-Pear Sauce, a recipe from the classic Betty Crocker collection.