September 28, 2008 - Rome

I was up bright and early Sunday to get Florine & Jeana off to the airport (both sad to be leaving Italy, me giddy that I was staying for another 10 days), picked up the Hertz van, and then gathered my husband and friends from the airport. Our van for the week was another version of prior vans that Greg and I have dubbed "the toaster" for it's large, boxy shape, but we knew it would be roomy and perfect for getting 3 couples around Italy. Fortunately we managed to maneuver it into a parking space behind the S. Minerva church right near the hotel.

Our hotel was the Albergo Santa Chiara, located fantastically right behind the Pantheon, and our first stop for the day was to my favorite spot in Rome, the Piazza della Rotunda, right next to the Pantheon, for a jolt of coffee. The group was very tired and I felt a bit out of sync feeling so adjusted to the time and being wide awake and ready to explore. We started out with what I call the central essentials of Rome - the Trevi Fountain, the Spanish Steps, Via Condotti - then settled in for some prosecco and pizza, which was a fabulous way to spend a sunny Sunday afternoon. We found our way back to the hotel by 2pm (after a required stop for gelato at my favorite spot, Giolitti) for a nap (even me, now totally accustomed to the daily ritual). Restored, we headed over to the Piazza Navonna and had a drink at one of the well kept secrets of central Rome, the rooftop bar of the Hotel Rafael. As is typical in Italy, because the drinks were pricey, we were offered extensive snacks along with our drinks. The views from the roof are fantastic and I love taking first-timers here on their first evening.
After our drinks, we wandered back across the Piazza Navonna and headed towards the Trevi Fountain to meet two others from the cooking class whose husbands had joined them in Rome. Although the restaurant didn't have our reservation when we arrived, the happily made up a table for eight in the pedestrian only street for an al fresco dinner.
Our meal included:

Fried artichokes
Fiori di zucchine
Mozzarella di Bufalo
Penne con mozzarella e pomodoro
Carpacio di Bue
And of course, no meal in Italy is complete without the wine - we all loved the Amarone, a unique Italian red wine both because of the ancient Italian grapes in the blend as well as the unique technique of drying them grapes in the sun to sweeten them up first and add some complexity and tannins to the wine.

1 comment:

fra said...

next time you come try the gelato in Via dei Gracchi called Gelateria Gracchi-it is fastly becoming Rome's favourite.Very small and all seasonal and freshly made!ciao Ren