Italian Holiday Part 1 - Roma!
We recently returned from a whirlwind trip to Italy. It was a gorgeous, hot, delicious and an all-together wonderful trip. I had never been to Italy before and I am totally hooked. Now I know why so many people fall in love with that country. Between the food, the people, the language and the history, it is one magical place. We only had one week off from work so we tried to pack in as much as we could. First stop was Rome.
We packed a lot, I mean A LOT into our trip to Rome. With only 2 full days there we managed to see the Colosseum, the Roman Forum, the Pantheon, the Campo de Fiori, the (empty) Trevi Fountain, the Spanish Steps, the Piazza de Popolo, the Vatican and St. Peters. That is not even counting the food! Since our time was limited we tried to not waste a second.
Rome is pretty fascinating. One minute you are walking next to a piazza from the 1600s then the next you are walking next to Roman ruins from, 2,000 years ago. I love how the history mixes into the city seamlessly.
The Pantheon might have been my favorite spot in Rome. The fact that this structure was finished over 1900 years ago is mind-blowing. And the way that light shines through the opening at the top is just gorgeous.
That looks totally fake, right?!? That stunning ceiling is all one piece of concrete that was somehow placed on top of the structure. Again all 1900 years ago. How in the world did they do that?
Now onto the important stuff like where we ate, drank and stayed. We stayed at in adorable and incredibly chic apartment rental right near the Trevi Fountain called Casa Cau and I completely recommend it. The location was perfect, right in the center of the all of the sites and the owner of the apartment rental was lovely. Best part of all it is decorated with gorgeous mid-century vintage pieces that make you feel like you are living the dolce vita in the 60s. (which is where I would want to live if I could go back in time.)
Flavio al Velavevodetto - this was our first meal in Rome and it did not disappoint. Simple and delicious Roman food in the trendy up and coming neighborhood of Testaccio (which is where we ended up doing most of our delicious eating)
Emma Pizzeria - the perfect pizza joint right in the middle of all of the action. Steps from the Pantheon, this place has delicious pizza and a killer aperol spritz.
Porto Fluviale was our favorite restaurant experience. It was off the beaten tourist path and seemed like a place where real Romans ate and drank. I am still dreaming about their gnocchi alla trapanese and their panzanella salad. YUM!
Roscioli- I got multiple recommendations for this place. Originally it started out as a bakery but expanded into a restaurant. It was delicious but it was touristy. We sat at the bar and everyone at the bar was American. But on that note, it was really really good. They are known for their anchovies with vanilla butter, which was delicious as well as their simple pastas. I totally recommend it. Plus the bartender that served us made us a rum old-fashioned - which might have been the most delicious drink I have ever had. (Sidenote you heard it here first folks, rum is the new whiskey. Just saying)
Pizzarium - Visiting the Vatican is exhausting and overwhelming so you need pizza to fix that. Pizzarium is near Vatican City and serves the most delicious pizza with super creative toppings. Although this restaurant is standing room only, it was worth it for their pizza.
Stazione di Posta - is a wild card. Located in Testaccio in a refurbished slaughterhouse, this Michelin stared restaurant was fantastic but there are some drawbacks. Number 1 their location. It is in the most random location - right next to where they house all the poor horses for the horse and carriage rides through Rome. We also took the subway here and walking from the subway to this place might have been the sketchy thing I have done in a while. But when we got there, the restaurant was gorgeous and the food was really inventive.
Gelato - we did not eat enough gelato. To be honest I was a little embarrassed on how much we could actually eat. I cook for a living and still I was stuffed after just a couple bites of pasta. How do Italians do it? A pasta course AND a main course? I think it requires years and years of training or else we are just wimps. We did check out Fatamorgana and it was delicious. But I am also pretty sure that every other gelato place in Rome is delicious - you can't go wrong.
Chill Bar at the Casina Valadier- the world's worst name for a gorgeous bar and restaurant that overlooks the city near the Spanish Steps but an amazing view and delicious cocktails. Also, I love the fact they give your free appetizers, namely hunks of delicious Parmesan cheese.
One of my favorite stops in all of Rome was the Campo di Fiori - an air farmer's market that has been around for hundreds of years.
We woke up early (or at least early for Rome) and walked over to this market. It was filled with the most beautiful produce. We grabbed some fresh figs and peaches (and a bottle of wine) before hoping on a train to Florence. Because when in Rome, right!?
Up next - Italy Part 2 in Florence.