Rome in August & The 11th Hour

Rome in August is a strange place. Quite literally half the population of the city leaves on their annual holiday - traditionally the two weeks either side of the Public Holiday of Ferragosto on 15th August, the date of the Roman Catholic Feast of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary. A quick check on Wikipedia, however, informs us that Romans have been celebrating this date as far back as the pagan days of the Empire, when they honoured the gods and the cycle of fertility and maturity. The present name is derived from its original name - Feriae Augusti.

For those of us who have chosen not to participate in the mass exodus we're left rattling around an eerily quiet place. Most small local shops and businesses are closed and the only people strolling around seem to be tourists. Most significantly, though, we're left here to imagine what Rome might be like if it were to join the ranks of the truly civilized cities of the new millennium, for Rome in August is a city free of its major scourge - traffic.

Which brings me onto Leonardo DiCaprio's new documentary film - The 11th Hour - which will be opening shortly in the US. Rome's participation in the LiveEarth global concert events was conspicuously absent but hopefully the film will be released in Italy soon and help heighten awareness of green issues here. Leonardo was an important presence at the inaugural edition of the Rome Film Festival last October where he presented two green documentaries - Water Planet and Global Warning, so hopefully we'll see him back in the capital again this year with this new film.

You can read more about Leonardo DiCaprio & The 11th Hour here!