This special bicycle was used by the arrotino to sharpen knives, throughout neighborhoods in Rome. The box on the front carries the tools of the trade, and the stone disk (center of the bike) is the sharpening device, powered by the arrotino's bicycle pedals.
I used to love seeing the arrotino in our neighborhood, but sadly it's become a rarity. Rome has a few arrotino shops, a few of them historic, but there's nothing like the traveling arrotino on his bicycle.
My favorite in Rome is owned and run by Sergio Zoppo on Via Merulana. The shop has operated since 1925...nearly one hundred years. Sergio is a true master of his trade and I wonder if someone will take over for him once he reaches retirement age. It's not the kind of thing that holds great appeal for young people these days unfortunately.
His prices are fair and he's quick to get the job done. If you're looking for a knife, or set of knives, to purchase Sergio has a wonderful assortment from classic knives to ceramic knifes to specialty Japanese knives. Stop by and take a look; you'll glimpse a slice of Italian life likely to soon disappear.