Although Ciampini is the atypical gelateria, it still represents the Italian metaphor. No, it does not show off big heaping mounds of flavorful gelato to attract customers with its goodies, but it does portray common Italian culture in an understated way.
Ciampini offers not one, but two dramatic entrances into the cafe. The first in front says Ciampini as well as Sala de te in the doorway, while the second proclaims gelateria in the doorway. The fancy script evokes a sense of sophistication to be experienced within the building. This introduction to Ciampini sets the mood for the gelato to be served.
Pageantry & Spectacle
Different than most Italian gelaterias, pageantry and spectacle is not important for the gelato itself. Gelato is served from metal canisters that are hidden. When the gelato is served, it is not the most colorful gelato to be served because it is so natural. However, the overall interior decor is all about pageantry. The fancy plaques of flavors as well as the formally-dressed server show that this is not just an ice cream cone being bought. Gelato is an experience for the taste buds as much as it is entertainment. This professional pit stop during siesta represents how Italians prefer to make everyday living enjoyable and pleasant. Even if it is just a two-Euro gelato, customers feel as if they are receiving high-end service at Ciampini.
Voice is dramatized with dramatic, cursive script at all entrances. The golden plaques featuring flavors are engraved in a courier font that further enhances the luxury gelato experience.
Also while observing Ciampini customers, voice was not louder exactly, but hand gestures were very grand, especially while holding gelato in one hand. Conversation is lively and happy, speaking a language just as delicious as its gelato.
I personally thought that the setup of the gelateria was inconvenient. One has to walk to the back to order gelato, but then must walk back through the small entrance to pay, then return to the back of the gelateria to either eat at a table or to exit the building. This seemed impractical, but it was typical of the Italian metaphor. Often, Italians lack effiency, speed, and thoroughness. Despite crowd scenes, everything is enjoyed. Not one customer seemed in the least bit rushed. They were all taking their time to enjoy their siesta and more importantly, their gelato.
Community is still important in Italian culture. Even though each customer paid for his or her own gelato, they were congregating in groups. Whether it was at a table in front or in a standing group outside, they were almost all socializing. However, a few customers were by themselves. These customers were older and did not seem to be as social as their younger counterparts. I was surprised to see these older customers still working in professional wear, as that does not seem to be common in Italy. If this is the case, maybe the generations are distinguished and do not often mingle.
In America, there is also a wide generational gap between Baby Boomers and Millennials. For us, it is more of a barrier from technology. How do you think that their generational gap affects their everyday living, other than eating gelato by yourself?