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A Trip to Rome...and I still never met a Limoncello I didn't like!

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Mar 30th, 2006, 09:21 PM
  #1
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A Trip to Rome...and I still never met a Limoncello I didn't like!

I just returned from a great 11 nights in Rome. This trip was planned very spur of the moment and was perhaps a little different than the average visit. Things werenít exactly going great (after more than 30 years of marriage, I expected to find my final divorce decree in the mail when I returned, the house is on the market, and I knew when I returned I would have to get serious about finding a job). Needless to say, I really needed to get away! When I realized I had made enough with some jewelry and a few other things I had sold to pay for the entire trip, I figured I better grab the opportunity (once I get a job, who knows how long it will be before I get any decent vacation time). I had been to Italy in Sept and knew I wanted to return, and I figured it was a good place to get some perspective.

Got lucky with an Expedia Bargain Fare ($588 JFK to Rome on Lufthansa with one stop). Then figured I might have trouble getting a hotel or apartment where I wanted to be for that many nights on such short notice, but I again got lucky with Sleep in Italy and got a studio apartment for 120E per night, Relais Vicolo del Bollo, just off Campo deí Fiori. It was meant to be! I booked both of these less than a week before I left. Sleep in Italy was a pleasure to deal with and prompt in their replies (although they donít answer over the weekend, but I suppose everybody needs some days off!). I booked airportshuttle.it to get to the apartment and was ready to go. I printed out a few things from my voluminous notes on Rome but didnít have time to go over everything. At the last minute, I threw in City Secrets Rome and was glad I did, I used that book a lot.

My goals were probably considerably more relaxed than those of most people: 1) Regroup. 2) Relax and do a lot of sitting in cafes/piazzas and people watching. 3) See the things that were on my list in Sept that I missed. 4) Add as many things to that list as feasible with my relaxed mode (plus with my arthritic knees, I move a lot more slowly than most and get slower as the day goes on if I do a lot of walking/stairs). 5) Never set the alarm clock (I am not a morning person!). 6) Have Limoncello at least once a day . To give you an idea of my state of mind, Numbers 1 and 6 were the most important!

OK, so I drive to JFK, and of course since I allowed more time than necessary in case of traffic holdups, I am very early. I have never flown Lufthansa before but enjoyed it (they even still give free wine in coach). Everything goes smoothly for a change, the shuttle picks me right up, Iím the only one in the van, and I arrive at the apartment 10 minutes early for my appointment with the owner to get in. The studio apartment is of course in a wonderful location and has an elevator. It has a small kitchen (2 burners, under-counter refrigerator, sink, a few cupboards, there appeared to be plenty of dishes and pots & pans). The bathroom is small, as is to be expected, but the shower was a little bigger than the one I had in Florence last Sept (no tub). Plenty of hot water and good water pressure in the shower, which is a real shower on the wall. Great hair dryer (not one of those hose things). It has a TV, but I donít know what stations it gets, as I never turned it on. Only drawbacks are that it is rather noisy at night and the bed squeaks (with every little move!). Minor things for me, the noise at night might bother others more.

I had originally thought I might cook a little, with the Campo deí Fiori market so close. However, when I get there, it dawns on me that getting food from the market and cooking your dinner loses a lot of its appeal when youíre alone. I love traveling alone, but itís so much nicer to go out to dinner where you can enjoy the ambience of the restaurant and interact with other people. Same goes for buying a bottle of Limoncello to enjoy a glass before bed. Much more fun to have one (a drink, not a bottle!) while sitting in a café overlooking the Pantheon or Piazza Navona and watching the performers and people. Overpriced? Definitely! Worth it? To me, absolutely! I guess everyone has different ideas about what is worth splurging for, but this is one that is worth it for me. Iíll note here that I always go back to the apartment to put my feet up for a while before dinner.

I check in, get showered, and for some reason Iím wide awake (I did manage to sleep some on the plane). The weather is beautiful. You can certainly tell the natives, theyíre all walking around with winter jackets and long thick scarves around their neck while I have no jacket at all! (Of course, I come from Upstate New York, where we get lots of snow and it gets very cold). I head over to Piazza Navona to see if I can find the artist I became friends with in Sept. He spots me while Iím still across the piazza and waves (guess I didnít need to wonder whether he would remember me). We had talked quite a bit last time, and I enjoy talking with him numerous times on this trip. After reading that the mayor of Rome had banned the artists from Piazza Navona last November, Iím wondering how they are still there. Come to find out, itís nothing more than politics! Due to his ruling, they no longer have licenses as they did before, but there was a lot of opposition to putting them out of the piazza, and the mayor is hesitant to enforce his ruling since there is an election in two months. I guess if he wins reelection, they might have to worry again. I have to say that the vendors other than the artists, the ones who have their stuff laid out on blankets or come up to you and wave their wares in your face, seemed to be less aggressive, and the ones with the stuff on blankets were only there in the afternoon. Maybe this would be different in the summer.

I later go to dinner at Der Pallaro (Iíll do all the restaurants at the end) and then over to the Pantheon to enjoy my Limoncello. There is a wonderful jazz flutist playing. When he finishes, I go over to talk with him (I play the flute, so I know just how good he is). There is another couple also from the US talking to him, and he says, oh, thatís where I belong! He is from Israel but is now trying to put together a tour to the US. I buy his CD and he says to check his new website for tour information. Iím finally getting sleepy, so head off to bed.

The next day I work my way over to Santa Maria in Trastavere, which I missed last time. I wonít go into a lot of detail about the various churches. They are all worth seeing! Plus Trastavere is just nice to wander through. Next I want to go on to San Pietro in Montorio. Of course I should have known there would be a lot of stairs, since City Secrets Rome talked about the great views over the city. Yes, there are lots of stairs to get up here! I keep thinking of ďBarefoot in the Park,Ē when Coreyís mother comes to their apartment for the first time. She says something to the effect that she kept climbing, but there were always more stairs, and if she had known the people on the third floor, she would have gone to visit them. I feel the same way here! Well, the church is closed when I get there, but there are some very nice views, so it wasnít a waste of climbing. I realize I can walk back down along Via Garibaldi and avoid some of those stairs (with arthritis in the knees, going down stairs is actually worse than going up), so I do that. I come back down and have a late lunch at La Tana di Noantri, just off Piazza Santa Maria in Trastavere. Later, dinner is at Hostaria Le Danesina, followed by my Limoncello at the Pantheon again.

Iím very lazy the next morning (Sunday), and the churches around Piazza Navona that I go to are closed (Santa Maria della Pace and San Agostino). Although Iíd like to go in, this really doesnít bother me too much. I just go have a nice lunch at Taverna Coppella and wander around a while. Later I go over to Castel Sant Angelo. I only go part way up, as I donít think my knees will make it to the top, but I still get a decent view of St. Peterís. And I get to see Ponte Sant Angelo with all those angels both before and after dark. I also walk over to Ponte Vittorio Emanuele to see the sculpture there. Dinner is at LíOrso 80, where of course everyone knows you just order the appetizer.

Next day after lunch at Pizza al Taglio, Iím off to San Clemente. Of course, this place is fascinating. The church is free and there is a 5E charge to go down to the lower levels to see how Rome is often built on top of previous buildings. There are descriptions in English so you know what youíre looking at. Then I go on to San Giovanni in Laterano, another amazing place. Later, dinner is at Hostaria Costanza and I enjoy my Limoncello at Baccanale on Campo deí Fiori.

On Tues, I decide to go to the Aventine. I go first to Volpetti, the fabulous cheese place (and of course they carry other stuff, too) on Via Marmorata. I was really looking forward to this place. They are closed! Now, I know lots of things in Italy, like churches and shops, close in the afternoon, but they usually reopen around 3:00-3:30. Well, Volpetti reopens at 5:00. It was too long to wait, so I just had some lunch a couple of doors down and start up Via de Porta Lavernale.

This is a beautiful area of Rome, one I think a lot of tourists never see. I slowly walk up (and up and up!) to San Anselmo. The grounds here are large and beautiful, lot of trees, including lemon trees. It feels like youíre out in the country, not in the middle of one of the biggest cities in the world. I go in the church, and it is absolutely austere compared to most of the ornate churches in Rome. It is very serene here, and this is probably partially due to the fact that I am the only person in the church! How often can you say that in Rome? I just sit there a while to enjoy it. On the way out, I buy some chocolate and grappa at their gift shop (I mainly buy the grappa because I like the bottle, which is actually a blue cut-glass cruet).

Right around the corner from San Anselmo is the Piazza Cavalieri di Malta, where you can find the keyhole with the view of St. Peterís (which is of course way across the city). Very cool! I walk on to a nice park between San Allesio and San Sabina. I sit down to rest and watch the young boys (and a couple of girls) play soccer. Their jackets and school backpacks are piled against the front wall of the park and parents are waiting for them to finish so they can take them home. If you walk the whole length of the park, there is a great view of St. Peterís, and on the way back I sit down for a few more minutes. I have a couple of those Dove individually wrapped chocolates in my purse, the ones with the message inside the wrapper. I open one and the message says ďGet your feet massaged.Ē How appropriate! I could use that right nowÖ

There are a couple of more parks, one much larger, along this road as well.

I continue down past Circus Maximus and get a bus back to the apartment. Dinner is at Antica Hostaria Romanesca on Campo deí Fiori. Then I decide itís time to try the Tartufo at Tre Scalini on Piazza Navona, and of course I have to have a Limoncello with it! Both are delicious. I decide I want to go the Popeís blessing at St. Peterís tomorrow morning, so I have to break my rule this one time and set the alarm. I suppose some people would just wake up, but I know that wonít happen!
Well, I was on a roll and thought I might finish this tonight, but Iíll try and do the rest in the next couple of days.
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Mar 30th, 2006, 10:11 PM
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Dear SusanP:

I am enjoying your report!! Can't wait for the rest. Sorry about your divorce.

MY
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Mar 30th, 2006, 11:02 PM
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Oh Susan, with what you are facing to get away to regroup and recoup was a very smart move. I am so enjoying your report and your style of travelling.

I too look forward to your next installment. And I wish you the very best with your new life. I am sure there will be difficult periods but with your independant spirit and upbeat attitude I am confidant that you will make a good life for yourself.
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Mar 30th, 2006, 11:06 PM
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Hi Susan, I saw on a thread recently that you were going back to Italy and I thought, how lucky! I cannot believe the very unfortunate chain of events that lead you to take this trip - I wish you strength and courage and many trips to Italy (w/ limoncello), this could not have happened to a more undeserving person IMO. I think it is great that you took this opportunity, who knows maybe you will find a destitute villa and never come back (if so don't forget your fodors GTG friends). I think you have a great travel style and I am looking forward to reading the rest of your report. I miss Italy terribly and your report has lovingly reminded me of many spots Belinda and I enjoyed last year. Can't wait for more... don't rush into that job thing BTW, they are highly overrated. JenV
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Mar 30th, 2006, 11:10 PM
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I love those last minute deals too! looking forward to reading the rest...
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Mar 30th, 2006, 11:24 PM
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Very nice SusanP - Reading your report made me wish I could have stowed away in your suitcase!

What a wonderful pace. And how great to focus this trip on what is really important to you.

Thanks for your great traveler descriptions.

VS
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Mar 31st, 2006, 04:46 AM
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Wonderful report. Rome is one of my very favorite cities in the world.

I hope you found the trip healing and strengthening as you begin a new chapter in your life.

Thanks for all the great info.
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Mar 31st, 2006, 05:10 AM
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Thanks for a wonderful report Susan. reports like yours are one of the reasons i have become addicted to Fodor's. my first Europe trip is coming up and your report has finally convinced me to quit planning everything and just relax and enjoy it (after i write down everything you did to add to my itinerary). i hope all the changes in your life will bring a surprising joy.
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Mar 31st, 2006, 05:22 AM
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Susan, I really enjoyed our dinner together last September at L'Orso 80 in Rome. Sorry to hear about your personal situation as I'm quite sure things will turn out the best for you.

I'm looking forward to the rest of your fine report as it has brought back some really nice memories. Mike

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Mar 31st, 2006, 05:28 AM
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SusanP: Looking forward to rest of your report. Iím going to Rome for 15 days in early May, and I can see it will be a big help.
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Mar 31st, 2006, 03:37 PM
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LoveItaly, Yes, it turned out to be a very good decision to go. Jen & Mike, it was so much fun meeting you for dinner last Fall. I appreciate your kind words. And thanks to all for your supportive messages. Here's the rest:

I was going to mention a couple of other things but forgot. After San Anselmo, I also did go in San Sabina. Itís a huge empty space, so I donít know if they ever have any kind of service in there.

Also, during my first weekend in Rome, there were Scotsmen in their kilts everywhere! There had even been one on my flight from Munich on Friday. Saturday night, I finally ask one in Piazza Navona why they are all there. Turns out it was to play rugby, and they had won so were celebrating. The guy Iím talking to has a friend with him who just smiles and puts his hand out to shake hands. Itís clear that he has REALLY been celebrating! I donít know how much longer heíll be standing! Most of them leave on Sunday, but that night I pass a group of them playing their bagpipes in the street just off of Piazza Navona.

So on to Wednesday. I do set the alarm so I can go over to St. Peterís for the Popeís blessing. Of course, I knew I wouldnít be in the sitting area, but I get lucky and only have one person ahead of me by the barriers. She and her friend move before he comes out, so I am right at the barrier when he goes by in the Pope-mobile and am able to get a very good picture. I listen for a while to the speakers and then head back over to the Campo deí Fiori area to explore a little and maybe do a little shopping. I really donít do much shopping on this trip, but I had it in mind that maybe I need a ring for my left hand. It feels very strange without a ring there, so I want something that doesnít look anything like a wedding ring! I try on a few over the next couple of days but just donít find anything that thrills me, so Iím thinking maybe Iíll forget about it. (Iíll remind myself of that decision a few days later!)

Iím working my way over to the Turtle Fountain, but when I get there it is totally behind walls due to restoration going on. I decide to go to Il Fico for dinner, recommended by someone here. When I get there, it seems a little strange, nobody is eating and there are some men playing chess. Oh well, I sit down and the waitress brings me a drink menu and I order a glass of wine. Come to find out, I was right, they donít serve food, but she recommends Da Francesco, which is right there on this tiny piazza. It is wonderful! After dinner, I go over to Piazza Navona to have my Limoncello at Café Barocco (across from Tre Scalini). This becomes my nightly place for Limoncello.

Iím very lazy again the next morning and just putter around the Campo deí Fiori market for a while. Then I have a reservation for Galleria Borghese, something else I missed in Sept and the only thing I made a reservation for before leaving home. Itís a beautiful blue sky, so I leave my umbrella in the apartment and just take my raincoat. I have a little trouble with the bus today and finally give up and decide to take a taxi (the only one I take the entire trip).

As weíre driving along, Iím looking at my map and decide to have him drop me off at Porta Pinciana so I can find somewhere for lunch on the way to Borghese. It had been clouding up, and just as I get out of the taxi, it starts raining. I put my coat on and put the hood up and walk up Via Campania looking for a restaurant. Il Pomodorino on Via Toscana looks good, and itís raining harder, so I go in. Great choice. And they have Mousse Limoncello for dessert! As Iím finishing, the rain has let up, a good thing, right? Ha! A minute after I leave the restaurant, it starts pouring, an absolutely torrential rainfall. A couple of minutes later, the hail starts, pea-sized hail, a ton of it. There is so much hail coming down that there are mounds of it on the sidewalk and street! My slacks are drenched as well all the way down the front (my raincoat is thigh length). So as Iím slogging along, drenched, the hail stinging my hands as it hits, Iím thinking to myselfÖOK, all those people who say that weather really wonít affect your trip to Rome are NUTS!

Just shy of the Borghese, there is a flower stand that I duck into. The guy smiles and points to an extra chair, so I sit down for a few minutes. He hands me some tissues to dry off the half-glasses Iím carrying and my map (the rain was so hard that it even got to my laminated Streetwise Rome map, the moisture was seeping in under the lamination around the edges). While sitting there, there is a crack of thunder so loud, it makes me jump! Itís still pouring and hailing, but I have to go in order to get there in time for my 3:00 reservation (you have to be there Ĺ hour early). So I get to the gallery, looking like something the cat dragged in, and take my coat off and hang it on one of the barrier posts. There are only a couple of people in line ahead of me to pay for their reservations, but the line is not moving. We stand there and stand there, and finally the girl announces that the storm has taken out the electricity upstairs in the museum and they donít know if theyíll be able to open. Can you believe it?! When 3:00 comes, the electricity is still out upstairs and she announces that they definitely will not be opening. I canít believe I went through all that and then donít even get to see the gallery!

I put my coat back on (it has left a large puddle on the floor but is still soaking wet) and go back out. There is a guy selling umbrellas now (where was he before?), but I just smile and say, well, itís too late now. Itís still raining as I walk back towards Via Veneto to get a bus, my socks are squishing in my shoes with every step. I am drenched all the way through. When I get back to the apartment, even the stuff in my money belt is wet! I have stuff draped all around the room to dry. A hot shower never felt so good!

It does stop raining by the time I go to dinner, and the day is redeemed by a wonderful meal at Il Bacaro, followed by a Limoncello in Piazza Navona. Do you notice a pattern here? Surely tomorrow will be betterÖ

OK, Friday is better. Itís cloudy and rains a little off and on, but nothing major. I walk up to Piazza di Popolo, doing a little window shopping along the way, back down Via Margutta, past the Spanish Steps and Piazza di Spagna. Later, I go to dinner at Osteria la Pegnol, one of Patrickís recommendations, and of course back to Piazza Navona for my Limoncello. I live in a very small village out in the country, but I lived in NYC for a couple of years a long time ago and loved it. During this trip, it occurs to me that I could very happily go back to living in a city. Of course, the chances of my finding a job that would let me afford to live in NY are slim to none! Anyway, it was as if the light bulb had gone on, I hadnít really considered moving to a city. Still donít know if Iíll seriously consider it, but itís an idea.

On Saturday, I walk over to the Supermarcato on Via Monterone, just east of Piazza Navona, to check out the groceries. I get all those things everyone always talks about (double concentrated tomato paste in tubes, Star bouillon cubes, olives in foil packets, Tesori díOriente shower cream, Rio mare tuna in olive oil). After I drop the loot off back at the apartment, I decide to go up past the huge statues of Castor and Pollux behind the Vittorio Emanuele II Monument to go to the Capitoline Museum, including going down to the Tabularium for that great view of the Forum. I enjoy this very much. It is sunny and warm, so when I come out, I just sit on the ledge in front of the Senate and soak up the sun for a while, actually until it sets. Then I walk around the right side of the Senate and go back to the view of the Forum and Colosseum (the view is better if you go to the right as opposed to the left, you see more of the Colosseum) and stay there while it gets dark. Wonderful view!

For dinner, I decide to go back to Da Francesco. This time I enter the Piazza Fico from the other direction, and lo and behold, there is the Il Fico restaurant! I think it must have been closed the other night when I missed it completely. There is a big line in front of Da Francesco, so I just go to Il Fico instead. And of course you know what I did after dinner!

Sunday is another beautiful day. I decide to walk over through the Jewish Ghetto, cross the river, and come back through Trastavere. I pick up a delicious sandwich on Via Giubbonari and walk over past Piazza Benedeto Cairoli onto Via S.M. di Pianto. Now I know this is where SeaUrchinís jeweler, David Hadad, is supposed to be. I had looked in Sept without luck. There was a lot of scaffolding and still is, but this time I find the shop with no trouble. Of course, he has some nice rings in the window, so I go in. He brings them out of the window for me and I try on one that had caught my eye, but it is too big for my small hand. He points out a couple of others, and there it is, the perfect ring! It is a gorgeous oval faceted blue topaz in 18K gold with two tiny diamonds on each side, and it fits me perfectly. More than I wanted to spend, but this is a symbol. I was going to call it my divorce ring, but decide that is too negative. Instead, I decide to call it my Getting-On-With-My-Life Ring. A much more positive spin, donít you think? =D>

David Hadad asks me if Iíve been to the Synagogue, and when I tell him no, he recommends I go there and the museum. I do go to the museum (which is free), but they werenít letting anyone in the Synagogue. Guess there must have been something going on in there. I cross the river at Ponte Fabricio/Ponte Cestio and wander back up Via d. Lungaretta through Trastavere. At Piazza Santa Maria in Trastavere, I sit in the sun for a while and watch the people. There is a great dog having a lot fun chasing the pigeons. I eventually move onto Piazza Trilussa by Ponte Sisto. There is an art show going on, so I sit for a while longer in the sun. All of a sudden, there is the same dog. He comes right over to me, so of course I have to pet him. He likes this and lays down right on my feet for more. His owner calls him, but he looks up at me as if to say, ďDo I have to go with him?Ē

I go back to Da Francesca for dinner. There is a line outside again, but I decide to see how long a wait it will be. I actually only wait for about ten minutes. Sometimes itís an advantage to be just one person. I head over to Piazza Navona. I want to buy a painting from my artist friend (I really like his style). He works with a gallery owner, so not all of the paintings at his stand are his. I ask him which are his, but he says he wants to know which one I really love. I can pick his out with no problem anyway. He has two that are quite different from what he usually does for the tourists, very Impressionistic (my favorite style). Theyíre Tuscan scenes, but not the usual Tuscan scenes, either. I decide which one I want and he is glad I like them so much, as theyíre special to him. Of course, I finish the evening with Limoncello.

Monday morning, I get most of my packing done to get that out of the way. I wish it werenít my last day! Later I go to Santa Maria Consezione to see all those Capuchin Monk bones. Iím early for the 3:00 reopening. It is another beautiful sunny day, so I just sit on the steps of the bank next door, lean back and soak up the sun and watch the people. Lovely! The bones are amazing.

For my last dinner, I return to Il Bacaro for another wonderful meal and sip my last Limoncello in Piazza Navona. (Of course, I have bought the biggest bottle I could find to bring home! )

All in all, a great trip! I had trouble with getting a bus a few times. At each stop, there is a sign with the bus numbers and all the stops each bus makes, but that doesnít help if youíre not at the right stop. Oh well, I managed. Now on to the restaurants (in general, prices include a small tip):

For breakfast, I usually just got a gelato or some fruit at the Campo deí Fiori market.

Lunches (sometimes I didnít eat lunch):

La Tana di Noantri, Via della Paglia, Trastavere, just behind Piazza Santa Maria in Trastavere. Recommended in City Secrets Rome. Delicious fried artichokes (I love artichokes, donít know how I missed them last time), good gnocchi. With ľ liter house wine & water, 16.20E.

Taverna Coppelle, Via d. Coppelle 38-39, northeast of Piazza Navona. Sunday afternoon and the place was filled with Italian families. Iím pretty sure I was the only American in the place. Good fried stuffed olives, wonderful Carpaccio (one of my favorite things). Wine, water, 16E.

Pizza al Taglio, Via d. Pellegrino, very near my apartment, great pizza (I ate here two or three times). Itís one of those where they weigh the pizza. Ranged from 2.70E to 3.20E.

Il Pomodorino, Via Toscana, near Galleria Borghese. Large, cheerful place full of businessmen having their lunch. Delicious Bruschette w/Tomatoes, wonderful Mousse Limoncello, with water 10E.

Antica Cioccolateria Erclea, Via Giubbonari 37, near Campo deí Fiori. Really delicious sandwich of shrimp, arugula and mayonnaise salad. Half sandwich, 1.20E.

Pizza Buono, Corso Vittoria Emanuele II. They weigh the pizza here as well. $1.64E. Positively the worst pizza Iíve ever had!

I ate outside whenever possible. Most places have heaters. Dinners:

Der Pallaro, Largo der Pallaro, just east of Campo deí Fiori. No menu, 5 courses with wine, 22E. Very reasonable and very good but not wonderful. (I had been here in Sept).

Hostaria Le Danesina, Via d. Governo Vecchio, which runs west from the south end of Piazza Navona. Also was here in Sept. They have the most wonderful homemade tomato soup with thick slices of fresh Buffalo Mozarella melting on top. The soup plus Penne alla Arribiccato, Ĺ liter house wine, 18E. They also have delicious cannoli, but I was too full.

LíOrso 80, Via díOrso, north of Piazza Navona. Third place that was a repeat for me. As mentioned above, everyone knows that you just order the antipasto and you will be brought more food than you could possibly eat. Delicious. Antipasto, Ĺ liter wine, Limoncello, 23E.

Hostaria Costanza, in the ruins of the ancient Theater of Pompey, Piazza Paradiso, east of Campo deí Fiori. Very good fried artichokes and mixed fried fish. With Ĺ liter house wine and water, 35E. This was one of several places where, when you order Ĺ liter of house wine, they bring you a whole bottle but then only charge you for what you drink. At other places, I always thought the charge was fair. Here I felt that they charged me for more wine than I drank. I didnít want to make a fuss, plus of course itís a subjective thing, so I just paid, but I didnít like that.

Antica Hostaria Romanesca, right on Campo deí Fiori. Delicious grilled lamb chops, artichokes Romano, Ĺ liter house wine, 23E.

Da Francesco, Piazza Il Fico, west of Piazza Navona. Small place full of locals. Smoked salmon that is to die for! Served very simply with a lemon to squeeze over it, you just want to close your eyes and savor the taste. Then Pizza Margherita (tomato sauce, mozzarella, prosciutto). Possibly the best pizza Iíve ever had. With Ĺ bottle wine, 27E. When I went back the second time, I had exactly the same thing but the price was 25E. The one older waiter waited on me, and I donít know if he just liked me or what, but he took 1E off the price of both the salmon and the pizza. Highly recommended, one of my two favorite restaurants of the trip.

Il Bacaro, Via degli Spagnoni, northeast of Piazza Navona. My other favorite restaurant. Small, intimate restaurant, maybe 35 seats. Cheese & Pears with walnuts and honey was great. Sliced beef in mandarin and mustard sauce was heavenly, thin slices cooked perfectly medium rare, melt-in-your-mouth tender. With 2 glasses of wine & water, 40E.

When I went back the second time, I had Spinach Salad with pine nuts, bresaola & parmigiana, dressed very lightly with a little olive oil. Wonderful. There was a bottle of balsamic vinegar sitting on the next table, so I sprinkled some of that on as well and it was even better. Sliced beef in aromatic herbs oil (I was tempted to repeat the other beef but decided to try something different) that was really delicious. Again with 2 glasses of wine but no water, 36E.

Osteria la Pegnol, Vicola di Montevecchio 8 off Via Coronari, west of Piazza Navona. Very cozy. Very good olive bread. Delicious Salted Cod with Peperonisauce served with grilled polenta. Wonderful Sea Bass with a sauce that was really more like a gravy lightly flavored with rosemary, served with carrots, zucchini and some delicious soft polenta. With Ĺ liter wine and water, 30E.

Il Fico, Piazza Il Fico, west of Piazza Navona. Great sautéed mussels and clams. Their specialty Veal stuffed with Pistachio nuts. With Ĺ bottle wine, 26E.
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Mar 31st, 2006, 04:17 PM
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Thank you for a very enjoyable trip report!

Take care and keep those positive thoughts!
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Mar 31st, 2006, 04:33 PM
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SusanP:

Bravo!! and congratulations on your new life!! Don't ever look back. The report was a delight and I have printed it off to read tonight over a glass of vino and maybe even a little limoncello. Your travel style is very much like mine. Hopefully, we will be able to meet up in Roma one of these days. Sorry it didn't work out in Sept. I am returning this Oct. and so your report will be very helpful, especially the list of restaurants. How was it eating solo at Orso 80 (one of my favs)? Do you get the same number of little dishes? I'm also going to check out City Secrets Rome. Good luck with the new job!! Hold out for at least two weeks vacation time.
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Mar 31st, 2006, 05:55 PM
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Thanks, LC. Barb, I was also sorry to miss you in Sept. Yes, at L'Orso 80 you still get lots of dishes even if you're by yourself. I had 8 or 10 different things to eat. I couldn't have eaten it all to save my life! Not even half of it. And yes, I hope I can get a job with at least two weeks vacation...have to have time to go back to Italy!
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Mar 31st, 2006, 06:21 PM
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Susan, you are a role model for women everywhere!! And I love the idea of your buying yourself a ring for your left hand and love the name you gave it!!

I shuddered and felt for you when you talked about the heavy rain, the hail and the electrical storms. I have been caught in those also..quite dramatic but one does feel like a wet rat after a few minutes. And how frustrating to not be able to see the Borghese Museum. Well you will have that to look forward to when you again return to Rome.

Your restaurant information is very informative. SAB here on Fodor's was asking for Rome restaurant information. I will find his thread and suggest he check out your thread.

Susan I truly wish you a beautiful life. And if you can manage to live in a large city IMO a large city can be wonderful for a woman on her own. So vibrant and interesting compared to small towns. Best wishes with the job hunting and special wishes that you have many more beautiful trips.
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Mar 31st, 2006, 06:38 PM
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Thank you, SusanP, for an inspiring report. It brought back many memeories for me (especially of Da Francesco ). Rome is my favorite city and I'm so glad you were able to go and enjoy it again. Happy travels to you, wherever your new life may take you.
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Mar 31st, 2006, 07:27 PM
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Thank you so much for your inspiring trip report. I am now just dying for June to get here when I will go to Rome. But more than that, you have inspired me that even after my daughter turns 18, I can still travel. I enjoy going to the movies, dinner, or shopping alone - I have never thought I could travel alone but you have inspired me. Your trip sounded simply wonderful and I could see myself in your shoes. Thank you for all the lovely dining tips and best wishes to you in your new life.
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Mar 31st, 2006, 09:14 PM
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SusanP-
I really enjoyed your report. I am travelling to Rome in July for my second trip, and missed some of the same things you did the first time around. I am looking forward to visiting San Clemente, exploring Aventine Hill (and seeing that keyhole!), as well as that view of the Colloseum and the forum from Capitolene Hill. My heart broke with your Borghese experience. Oh well, just another reason to hurry back to Rome, right?

I am also so impressed with your attitude! It sounds like you had a fantastic time, and I'm so happy for you that you took the trip and took some time for just yourself. I wish you all the best for a bright and happy future!

Thanks again,
Dina
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Mar 31st, 2006, 10:39 PM
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SusanP, I too am hooked on this site because of trip reports like yours.

I do know what you mean about the thunder. When I was there seven years ago, I woke up during the night, and the thunder just went on and on. My mom commented the next morning that she had never really understood the phrase "rolling thunder" before.

I am sorry you did not see the Borghese, but on the other hand I am envious of some of your places I have not made it to yet -- the Aventine and famous keyhole, Santa Sabina, Santa Maria in Trastevere, the Capitoline Museums.... Another trip, eh?

Based on all the character that glows through the lines of your trip report, your future life surely has great things in store. And your ring sounds gorgeous -- good for you!
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Mar 31st, 2006, 11:32 PM
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Susan, what a terrific report. Good luck for the future, you will succeed. Your attitude is great - what an inspiration. Don't worry about the Gallery Borghese, look at it as an excuse for another trip and more limoncello!!
Take care,
Schnauzer
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