Rome 2014 – Page 8-9
Day 4 (continued from here)
We had lunch at Alfredo e Ada, the most adorable trattoria I think you can find in Centro Storico. There was no menu, the elderly waiter (Alfredo perhaps) instead sat down at out table and wrote down the day’s dishes on the tablecloth. I chose a carciofo alla romana, which was the most amazing version of an artichoke I have ever tried. Next time I’m in Rome I’m definitely going to drop by for another taste of that dish. I then had a chicken in lemon sauce, which again was outstanding. Great food and a great location if you want to feel an old-fashion stuck-in-time atmosphere.
We continued walking around in the streets and ended up at the Spada Palazzo where we saw their were nice museum and marveled over Francesco Borromini’s famous optical illusion of a passage that seems to be 25m long when it is, in fact, only 10m.
Then we revisited Trastevere and had a nice break at the Piazza Santa Maria. I sat on the base of the fountain drawing the below sketch while Ole took photographs of the fountains and the seagulls.
For dinner, we went to Pizzeria Da Remo in Testaccio, where we had the trips best pizza. You must go there for the food! But it is also worth noting that it is very interesting to visit Testaccio, which is a residential area, where you can get a feeling of how the modern Romans live.
On the evening stroll back to the hotel we passed by both Tempio di Ercole Vincitore, Tempio di Portunus and Teatro de Marcello. So just another stroll in Rome where you can’t walk ten feet without stumbling over some ancient treasure :)
It was Thursday, and we again had an early start (but thankfully not as early as Tuesday). We went to Piazza Venezia, where we took a bus out to the catacombs around Via Appia Antica. We visited Catacombe di Santa Domitilla, which was an amazing experience. We then had a stroll through the lovely gardens around Catacombe di San Callisto before we went out to explore Via Appia Antica.
We took the bus from Via Appia to go to Terme di Caracalla, the ruins of the Roman baths. This is an amazing place with an almost ridicules scale. The ruins are huge and give one the impression of a building that must have been as impressive to walk through as St. Peter’s Basilica. Here and there you can see mosaic floors or fragments from the walls which shows that it was not just impressive in size, but also in decoration. Oh, how I wish to see that building in its prime! And all the while the seagulls watched us from up high with all their small baby birds.
After that, we walked back into the center of Rome, but more of that in the next post …
Rome 2014 – Page 6-7
Day 4 (continued from here)
On Wednesday morning, we wanted a more relaxed day after the whole ordeal of both Vatican City and Trastevere. Only one thing was a must that day, for we had to visit Pantheon, so we started the day out by going to this amazing place. I am totally in love with the ceiling and the oculus, which was so amazing that I hardly noticed the rest of the place. The morning sun came in through the oculus in just as an amazing fashion as I have hoped, and I gaped in wonder the entire visit.
We then strolled around in Centro Storico’s charming streets. We visited Campo de’ Fiori, where the statue of Giordano Bruno (who was burned on the stake on the piazza in 1600 for heresy) towered over the busy market place with its colorful stalls with vegetables, flasks of lemoncello and mountains of cheese.
Later in the afternoon we also visited Basilica di Santa Maria in Trastevere again, where I made the above sketch, but that was much later, which you can read about in the next post from my travel journal …
Rome 2014 – Page 4-5
Day 3 (continued from here)
We were two exhausted travelers when we stumbled out of the Vatican around noon on Tuesday. We headed for Pizzarium at Via della Meloria 43, which is a little gem of a pizzeria hidden away in the residential area north-west of the Vatican City. We had some lovely pizza slices and tried out their supplì, which is so divine. A supplì is a Roman snack that consist of a rice ball filled with something – we had them with meat – it is then soaked in egg, rolled in bread crumbs and deep-fried. The crust is beautifully crunchy while the stuffing is moist and delicate. Try them out, you’ll love em! Pizzarium also hit the spot with its great selection of micro brewery beer. The meal was enjoyed sitting on the sidewalk, because there are only a few seatings available there, but for such a meal I would sit anywhere.
After that, we felt more like human beings again, but we still felt the craving for some refreshments. So we walked north-east until we came to the gelateria Fatamorgana on Via Bettolo, where we snacked on their lovely gelato. For me the most memorable flavor was a special chocolate with beer, it was the best chocolate ice cream! (Note, it is a chain so similar places can be found in other parts of Rome).
We then went up on Gianicolo to take a break in a more tranquil surroundings. On the hill, you get a superb view over Rome, and there is numerous areas to settle down in under the soothing shadows of the trees. It is also a good place to muse over the battles that were fought there in 1849 between Giuseppe Garibaldi’s makeshift army and the French troops. We bought some beers and chips at Piazzale Giuseppe Garibaldi and enjoyed them on the grass with a view to the monument of the Italian hero as backdrop. It was nice to have a real break to digest all that we had experienced in the Vatican City and find some more energy to keep on sightseeing.
Beneath the Gianicolo Hill lies Trastevere, where we went to after our well deserved rest. We found this to be one of the most endearing parts of Rome, especially because it so distinctly has its own unique vibe that’s not at all like the other parts. It feels like a little town in the big city. The prices are lower than on the other side of the Tiber River, and there is a great number of distinctive and innovative restaurants and bars. It also helps that they have my absolute favorite Roman Basilica: Basilica di Santa Maria, which is decorated with the most beautiful Byzantine mosaics both on the facade and inside. Just a few steps from the Piazza with the Basilica we found Bar San Calisto. The guidebook sums up this place’s vibe very well: “… stuck-in-time atmosphere and cheap prices. It attracts everyone from drug dealers, intellectuals and pseudo-intellectuals to keeping-it-real Romans, alcoholics and American students.” It became one of our favorite spots in Rome.
We used the rest of the afternoon and evening strolling around Trastevere. Drank coffee and apple succo at Antico Caffè dell’Isola on the small island Isola Tiberina in the Tiber River. Visited a small, attractive and intriguing book shop called Open Door Bookshop in Via della Lungaretta, where I bought my first book in Italian (Umberto Eco Il pendolo di Foucault, I know it is a bit presumptuous to buy such a title after just a few weeks of learning Italian by using Duolingo, but I swear that I will have read that book before I die). Dinner at Fish Market, where we had the most lovely seafood dishes like small fried fish and fish shish-kebab – it is a must visit place in this area and represent the new kind of Roman concept restaurants (they also have other locations in Rome). We finished the night with cocktails at Freni e Frizioni, where I enjoyed a “Moscow mule” while Ole drank a “Pint Break” (ingredients including a 10-year-old Talisker). Then a beautiful evening stroll back home to the hotel over the river and through the charming streets of Centro Storico.
I will shortly post pages from my Roman travel journal …