April 8, 2010 – Roma!
This is my 6th or 7th time in Rome, and with each visit I feel more comfortable about finding my way around, dodging crazy taxi drivers or motorcyclists, and speaking Italian. With that sense of confidence I set out with my group this morning for what I call the one day walking tour through the Centro Storico part of Rome. First stop, Largo di Torre Argentina, the site where Caesar was killed in 44BC, today a cat sanctuary (oddly).From there we made a giant loop down to the monument to Vittorio Emanuele (responsible, along with Garibaldi, for the unification of Italy in 1870),Â north to the Piazza Navona, west across to the Pantheon, finally hitting the Trevi Fountain before stopping for a quick lunch of salad and pizza (why is that so darn good in Italy?).A day in Rome is not complete without some gelato, and when in Rome, I always head to Giolitti (sorry those of you who insist that San Crispino is better!).From there, it’s north to the Spanish StepsÂ by way of the Via Condotti to oogle the fancy stores…
…before arriving at the entrance to the city, Piazza del Popolo. Isn’t that an impressive sight to see? You can imagine the message the Romans wanted to send.A quick espresso macchiato was in order to revive ourselves for the walk back south through the city. The best way to do this is like an Italian – standing at the counter, little spoons clinking on tiny china cups as businessmen and others get their afternoon jolt. It’s cheaper this way and you feel that you are really part of an authentic Italian tradition.I’m not quite sure what it is about Rome and why I love it so much. Could be these lovely side streets, could be the incredible food, or could just be that e nelle sangue (it’s in the blood) for me, as my Italian tutor once said to me.What’s not to love when every corner you turn presents some incredible monument, church, or ruin? The entire city is a living, breathing museum, and you never need to go inside to experience the wonders.We discovered this quaint ristorante while wandering during the day and the lovely signora running the place was happy to makeÂ a reservation for us in the corner with the space heaters so we could dine al fresco, really the best way to do it in Rome as they tend to turn the lights up way to high for our enjoyment inside the dining rooms.The reality is, the big difference between a ristorante and other more casual places is in the details. At Le Cave Di Sant Ignazio Ristorante, they began with suppli, those delicious friedÂ dumplings made with leftover risottoÂ usually stuffed with some sort of cheese. (If the ladies are reading this, I really didn’t notice much cheese but they instested it was there.)The tomato and basil bruschetta (pronounced brew-sket-ta, a pet pieve of mine for those restaurants in the US that call in brew-shet-ta) was also compliments of the house and quite delicious.We had an odd assortment of dishes – melon and prosciutto, insalata caprese, pasta dishes, etc. – but I had to try again for a more authentic spaghetti carbonara, and this didn’t disappoint. Creamy without being so egg-y, this was far superior to the night before, and I followed it with a filet of sole, simply prepared alla griglia. Everyone tucked in at their own pace tonight – some opting for bed before dinner, some opting for bed after dinner, and some of us – I’m not naming names! – opting for a nightcap in the Piazza della Rotunda next to the Pantheon. I just love that location…and I have I mentioned just how much I love Rome in general? Buona Notte!
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