Italy has long been famous for its craftsmen who fashion unique products by hand in small, usually family-run workshops. As part of your time in Rome with Mottola Italian Tours, consider a visit to a quaint little shop called “Polvere di Tempo” which translates as “The Sands of Time”. Located just across the river in the distinctive quarter of Trastevere, this shop continues the marvelous crafts tradition of Italy through the fashioning of a variety of candles, hourglasses, sundials, and jewelry that celebrate the experience of time. One item in particular that I like to recommend to visitors is a pewter ring with an inscription on its face that is a famous ancient palindrome in Latin that can be read forewords and backwards both horizontally and vertically.
The oldest version of the inscription, usually referred to as the “sator square” was discovered in the ruins of Pompeii. Although there is some uncertainty about the meaning of the inscription, it is often translated as “The sower, or farmer, named Arepo, keeps the wheel or work turning.” According to some sources, the word “arepo” which is unknown in Latin, stands for God the king (RE) and father (P) who is the beginning and the end, the alpha (A) and omega (O), but this is disputed by other sources who believe that it is of pagan origin. In any case, the other distinctive feature of this ring is that it functions as a sundial. The ring is placed facedown, and the sun shines through a tiny hole to mark the time through inscriptions on the interior of the ring. But the sator ring is just one of many items that can only be found at this charming little shop in Trastevere. For additional information, see the website for “Polvere di Tempo”: http://www.polvereditempo.com/