So, the lucky and blessed and deserving girl who I am, was whisked away to Roma in November with ML. The kiddo was pissed! But hey, it took me 4 decades to get there, so she can wait. Roma and Venezia. Ciao Bellas! From the minute we got there, we were in love with Italia. It was a dream for the both of us. I used to think about Italy a lot when I was growing up. I envisioned the red and white posts in Venice and delish spaghetti and the glorious art and music. It was so cool to see them in person and not one of those childhood thoughts were disappointed! Ever since I was a little girl, besides NYC and D.C., I felt like Italy was somehow home to me…
It all started on a cool November day. I made my way to NYC to meet ML for a brief vegetarian lunch in the village and then we Ubered off to Newark Airport. We were both so excited. I, because I have traveled practically nowhere. And he, because Italy is too his dream. And the two of us collectively because, we get to travel with each other and that is cool in itself. Our first trip abroad together! We both acted as if we have never flown before because we watched movies all night long. We were up 22 hours to be exact. I was a little more tired than he though because I rode a bus for 4 1/2 hours before getting to NYC.
Anyhow, we got to the airport in Rome and it was a cluster of craziness trying to push through the rapidly swelling crowd to show our passport. Once we informed the guy of our intent to not stay forever (though we wanted to), we went to our car that was waiting for us because our Air BNB guy-Massimo, hooked us up with his driver. We got to our apartment (aka hotel-sized room) with our clothes and brains disheveled because of the race-car style transport and we crashed. For 6 hours!
When we woke up, we walked down to what became “our place”, Grecco Enjoy (http://www.grecco.it/)! We had the best and most tasty pizza that we have ever had. The luscious square pieces of starchy goodness were exactly what we needed. ML the potato-lover, actually had his dream dish in his potato pizza. I had whatever was in the front (Margherita perhaps?) and I being the half-way healthy girl ordered the spinach. The spinach was cooked to death, with no possible nutrients left, but that is no slight to the restaurant, this seems to be the norm.
Anyway, the food at Grecco was great and hit the spot. We walked back to our home in our little residential neighborhood and crashed again. The next morning, we woke up and headed out too late for my liking (ML takes forever to get going), and had pizza from Grecco again for breakfast and that shows how great it is because ML is not really a pizza fan. But we were full and ready (protein bars and waters in our bags for lunch) and we headed out-finally! We took our first (and last) Italian bus to Monumento Nazionale Vittorio Emmanuelle II (http://www.monumentinazionali.it/regioni/lazio/monumento_nazionale_vittorio_emanule_ii_vittoriano_roma.htm) and it was beautiful!
We hoofed it over to the Colosseum and the Roman Forum with hordes of others (November was still crowded!) and could not believe that we were actually there! We ended up buying a package (to our skepticism) so that we did not have to stand in line and it was actually worth it. We were guided around and learned some cool facts and got to stand on the edge of where some major historical events took place. Then we walked to the other side of Rome to the world-renown Trevi Fountain and it was gorgeous at night. But unlike the movies, there were hundreds of people crammed in and pushing their way to the water and it was tricky, but cool to be there!
After around 8 hours of walking, we headed towards Piazz di Spagna (the Spanish Steps). It took us quite awhile to navigate the twists and turns as we peeked into shops along the way. I loved the area and the beautiful places in the neighborhood. But It was just kind of “meh” for me. When we made our way down the steps to a group of eateries, we had our first full meal since arriving 30 plus hours before. The photo below is from the top of the steps.
ML dined on gnocchi and I on tagatelle pomodoro and we had wine and bread and of course he got a dessert. I haven’t touched on this much, but he is a dessert fiend. Literally. Anywho, this pic below is of the chef and server at our first real dinner in Rome. The meal was not our best meal there, but these guys were super accomodating and cool and were quite amusing, to boot! After this meal and the 10 plus hour day, we sleepily walked out onto the beautiful Roman streets.
After a little deliberation, my wise but language-challenged guy called out to a cab driver and said: “Hola”, which made me laugh hysterically, because he not only said a Spanish word, but he said the silent H. LOL. Anyway, our cab driver dropped us off at our St. Peter’s apartment and we crashed after preparing ourselves for our next awesome adventure in Rome. When we woke up, it was the same drill, but this time we wandered over to a place I really wanted to go to the night before-Trastevere. And that my friends became our neighborhood. No one has spent as much time as tourists there as we have (I can almost bet).
We planted ourselves-literally at this amazing caffe (I cannot remember the name to save my life!) and hung out for hours, bathrooms are rare in Rome! With the low sugar snacks and the delectable coffee, cool animals (whom I could not stop petting and feeding) and chic peeps, it was hard to not want to linger. I even made a friend there! The pic below is of the caffe and these are some cool patrons we met, the parents of my new friend and their equally awesome dog.:)
There were also many good full service places to eat in Trastervere as well, but our favorite was Il Duca http://www.ilducaintrastevere.com/ . The appetizers were mouth watering, the dishes were ample and so incredibly tasty and filling. We did the American thing and only order 2-3 courses. We could never do all of the courses! But the server here was the best one we had. ML is even pen pals with him he was so cool and the consummate pro. Most servers in Rome are super professional and they don’t typically get tips! But we always gave them one and they were so grateful!
So besides eating in Trastervere, there is not much to do there except for a handful of boutiques and a gorge chapel. One night, ML took me to Marta Ray which is one of the nice shops there, (martaray.it) and bought me a absolutely gorgeous plum/eggplant leather bag. It can be a wrap around purse, a backpack, a shoulder bag, etc. It was 285 euros, so it wasn’t cheap and I don’t normally talk about how much things are because that is tacky, but he was so generous to get me this. I never spend money on nice things for myself, and he is just so selfless.The gesture was nice and the leather is so soft, you would have cried too.:)
I could write about Rome forever. We would love to move there. But it is impossible pretty much unless you are independelnty wealthy, or Italian. If you EVER think the U.S. has strict immigration laws, that is a joke! It is so hard to move to Italy, and to so many places. Hopefully one day, we can find a way to make it work. Besides the places that I mentioned, we went to: Piazza Navona (my fave), the Vatican, St. Peter’s Square, the Panthenon, and so many more. I could write 5000 words on how great this place is and how friendly the people are and how great the food is but I do not think anyone would read it.
The next post will discuss a bit about Venice, probably not this wordy because we were only there a day and a half. And one day, I may write a post that will give tips about Rome and even go into more detail about where we ate, and what we ate, but it will take awhile to gather all of my thoughts because there is just so much to say. The people in Rome and their dress and attitude were just amazing and their love for animals. If you have a chance to go abroad anytime soon, please give it a try. I can assure you that you will not be sorry! Thanks for reading!