The Fiddler’s Elbow in Rome, Italy’s first Irish pub, celebrates its 35th anniversary on 4 November. The pub was opened in 1976 on Via Sforza in the city’s Monti district by Gino Bottigliero, his Irish wife Mary Pyne, Orazio Cancanelli and Antonio Shorthose, who was later replaced by Richard Sherwood. In 1979 the pub switched to its current location on nearby Via dell'Olmata, a stone’s throw from the Basilica of S. Maria Maggiore.
Describing the reaction to the arrival of an Irish bar in Rome in the 1970s as "great" Bottigliero said "we were packed from the start". Among the estimated two million people who have passed its doors have been some noted international guests including tennis ace John McEnroe, British singer Jay Kay, two Irish prime ministers, the former leader of the British Labour party Neil Kinnock and ABC news anchor Christiane Amanpour.
There are several concerts planned for the 35th anniversary, and over the winter there are many events including the presentation in January of the new Italian translation of Ulysses by James Joyce.
The pub, which is managed by Fiona Hanratty from Ireland, regularly holds traditional Irish music sessions and is a sister pub of The Druid’s Den, The Druid’s Rock and The Old Marconi, all located in the same district. There is also a Fiddler’s Elbow pub in Florence, established in 1990.
When asked about his best memory from the Fiddler’s Elbow over the last 35 years Bottigliero, whose humour is as dark as his Guinness, said "an invasion of flying ants”, and as for his plan for the future: "To sell many pints".
Fiddler’s Elbow, Via dell’Olmata 43, tel. 064872110.