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A wonderful 8 nights in Rome...including my usual Limoncello!

A wonderful 8 nights in Rome...including my usual Limoncello!

Mar 1st, 2008, 04:34 PM
Join Date: Aug 2004
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SusanP - I too knew you'd been to Rome when I saw the title!

I was there about the same time, traveling with my daughter (bubblywine...) and we thought we saw Rick Steves!

We were sitting on the steps by the fountain at the Pantheon people watching and several people in safari hats walked by. So we had to chat about safari hats in Rome in February when a guy who looked just like Rick walked by with great purpose.

Anyway - back to your trip report! Such fun to read.
rosetravels is offline  
Mar 1st, 2008, 09:37 PM
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Kristina, have a great time! Wish I could go again that soon!
kraspa, the food is just so good...

Tiff, glad you're enjoying it. I know just how you feel!

petitepois, I didn't know that. Although I was near Torre Argentina a couple of times, I didn't go over to look at the cats. Do you know where they've moved them?

GranthamMommy, I perfectly understand your reasoning!

rosetravels, such fun, too bad we didn't know ahead of time that we'd be there at the same time. It's always fun to meet up with another Fodorite! OK, safari hats in Rome in February?!!

I had a lot to do today so didn't get the next installment done but will try to do it tomorrow.
SusanP is offline  
Mar 10th, 2008, 05:35 PM
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Well, it hasn't been a good week, but I finally had time to write some more...

The next morning, I take the bus to Piazza Repubblica to go to Santa Maria degli Angeli/Diocletian Baths. Of course, itís huge. I decide to buy the guidebook theyíre selling (5 Euro) to learn more about the unusual contemporary sculptures, both on the doors and inside, as well as all the rest. The Polish sculptor Igor Mitoraj has done the Annunciation and Resurrection sculptures on the doors and the huge head of John the Baptist inside. Very striking, and itís surprising how well they fit in. Thereís a lot more to see here, and since I have the book describing everything, I spend quite a while looking at it all. The massive organ, also contemporary (1990ís by Barthelemy Formentelli) is amazing. Any organist should go there just to see the organ.

I had been on a quest all week to find some olive oil with basil. I had bought some in Venice last July and wanted more. Itís so good! I had been in at least four supermercatos with no luck, but a friend had told me about a big one by Santa Maria Maggiore. I had decided that morning that Iíd go there after Angeli to see if I can find the oil. However, Iím hungry and want to find someplace for lunch. I feel like sitting down to eat today and relaxing, not just grabbing a slice of pizza, plus I need a restroom! This makes me go in the first place I come to, the Tea Room on Via Viminale. They also serve lunch. The Beef Carpaccio is delicious. With a glass of wine, 14E.

Now to find the olive oil. I walk over to Santa Maria Maggiore and around to the front. At first I donít see it, even though my friend had told me that it was downstairs. I ask a sidewalk vendor (good thing I didnít need much Italian for this conversation, my limited amount sufficed) and he shows me where it is. In case you ever want to find it, if youíre standing in front of Maggiore with your back to the church, it is across the street diagonally to the left, with a sign that says ďSma Entrada.Ē It is downstairs, but thereís an elevator if you need it. And success, I find the oil, as well as some lemon olive oil. They also had garlic and hot pepper oils, but I didnít have a lot of room in my suitcase. I take the bus back to the apartment for my usual break before dinner.

Tonight I decide to try Da Luigi, dutyfreeís recommendation, and I even order the meal she suggested, Grilled Calamari and Spinach in olive oil. A delicious meal. I decide I have room for dessert and get the Tartufo Nero (dark chocolate). Itís pretty good, but not wonderful. With Ĺ litre wine and water, 28E.

Back at the Piazza Navona, itís empty except for one small tour group. Like the previous one at the Pantheon, even though thereís nobody else around, the tour guide is still holding up her flag. This amuses me. OK, Iím easily amused! Café Barocca is closed (yes, the waiters do get a night off), so I go to Tre Scalini for my Limoncello. I should have waited until I got here to have the Tartufo.

On Friday, after having spent 36 days in Rome (in 5 trips), I finally decide to take a daytrip. Itís true, Iíve never done it before. During the last 3 trips, I had planned to take one but somehow never got around to it. It always amazes me when people say they can "do" Rome in 3 or 4 days. I guess that once Iím in Rome, I donít want to leave! Itís another beautiful day, and Iím off to Ostia Antica. I use Walterís excellent directions, except I take the bus to the train instead of the Metro. Oh, and he didnít mention the 44 steps on either side of the pedestrian bridge in Ostia Antica! Of course, I have to count them...

I was planning to get the audioguide, but as I walk up to the ticket booth, there is a big sign, ďNo audioguides.Ē I had read a little about Ostia Antica but would have read more if I had known this. No matter, I very much enjoy it. There are placards posted at various spots which give some background to the remains. And the grounds are absolutely beautiful! As I mentioned, I just love the umbrella pines, and there are lots of them here. I climb the stairs at one spot, and it gives a great view of the grounds plus you can look down at some mosaics. And I climb up to the top of the amphitheatre and just sit in the sun for quite a while. Lovely! This is a great spot to wander around even if you donít always know exactly what youíre seeing, and sometimes you do know more from the placards. The museum is also interesting and worth a visit. I would highly recommend this visit, and if you have kids, they will love it, as they can climb all over everything. Easy to get to as well.

I have lunch at the cafeteria behind the museum. OK, the food is a little strange. Not that itís weird food, just not what you expect in Italy. Although there is a pasta dish, there is another dish I canít remember at the moment (not at all Italian) and what I decide to have, Polish Sausage with sautéed greens. I think the greens were chicory, not my favorite thing, as I find them bitter. Not the greatest lunch, but of course by this time Iím hungry and wonít be near another restaurant any time soon. With a bottle of water, 8E.

That evening, Iím not sure where I want to go for dinner, but after all that walking at Ostia Antica, donít really want to go too far. I walk up Via del Governo Vecchio and come to La Zucca. It looks open but is completely empty! This would ordinarily make me go somewhere else (it wasnít that early, after 8:30), but Iíve eaten here before and it was very good, so I go in anyway. Although I had been thinking about the Beef Carpaccio, which was wonderful the last time I was here, the Rissoto alla Mimma (with sea fruits, zucchini and saffron) sounded so good that I have to try it. As it turns out, this could have been my whole meal. It includes mussels, shrimp and I think more, although I didnít write down everything. It is wonderful! I had ordered the Scampi al forno (grilled shrimp) as well, which I donít really need, but it's also good, and fortunately not that filling. With Ĺ litre wine and water, 29.50E.

Itís a little warmer tonight, so the Piazza Navona has people around and a lot of the artists are still there. I just relax and enjoy it as usual.
SusanP is offline  
Mar 10th, 2008, 08:08 PM
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Hooray! You're back!
rosetravels is offline  
Mar 10th, 2008, 09:03 PM
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SusanP - As usual, another great report. And I too knew when I saw Limoncello (THE NECTAR OF THE GODS!!) in the title, it was a trip report from you.

I missed your first postings because I was heading for my first trip to Germany. But I am glad I stumbled across it tonight. I look forward to the rest.

TRSW is offline  
Mar 11th, 2008, 12:19 PM
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Thanks, Rose.
Tom, glad you're enjoying it. One more day to do, I'll try to finish up tonight.
SusanP is offline  
Mar 11th, 2008, 03:14 PM
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Here's the rest:

On Saturday, the weather is glorious! How can this be my last day already? I take the bus over to Santa Maria in Cosmedin. Iíve already done the picture with Bocca della Verita (good thing, as thereís a long line waiting for it) but never went inside the church. This is one of the places where you can just feel the age. A beautiful church. I come out and sit in the sun for a bit by the Fontana dei Tritoni and Temple of Vesta, then walk across the Ponte Palatino into Trastavere.

Iím getting hungry and again stop at the first place I come to. I tend to do this when I want lunch, because I donít want to have to plan my day around a lunch spot. This time itís Cornucopia on Piazza in Piscinula. The salad of arugula, pears, pine nuts, parmigiana & raisins is great, and although I order a glass of wine, the waiter actually brings ľ litre (usually between 1 and 2 glasses). Itís so beautiful, that I take my time and enjoy the great weather. I get talking to the British couple next to me and ask them if they would look in their guidebook to see if it gives the hours for San Calisto, which I had noticed on my map near St. Crisogono, my actual goal after lunch. They donít find anything, but there is information on Crisogono, which my older version of the DK Eyewitness Guide didnít have. It doesnít open until 4:00, so I have plenty of time.

While weíre talking, the waiter asks if he can take my plate, since I was finished, and I say yes, but I want my wine (I had a small amount left in the glass). While weíre still talking, next thing I know, heís pouring from another ľ litre of wine into my glass. Guess he thought I meant I wanted more. Oh well, I certainly wouldnít want it to go to waste! I decide I might as well have dessert along with it and order the Panne Cotta with berries, which is delicious. More than I usually spend for lunch, 21E, but it is a very leisurely one. (And Iíd note that the bread was 2.50E, more than usual.)

I finally leave and head towards St. Crisogono, stopping on the way to go in a small church I pass, Chiesa di S. Agata Santuario Madonna del Carmine, mostly because itís there. You never know what you might find in churches in Rome. This one could use some restoration, and the paintings are so dark that you canít make the picture out, but the figure of the saint dressed as a nun, but without the usual headdress, is interesting. I like the cherubs in front of her holding music scores.

Since I still have extra time, I go look for San Calisto. I do find Piazza San Calisto, but thereís really not a church there. Thereís a very small building with steps up the front and a picture of a saint on it, so maybe thatís it. My map showed a church, though, which was nowhere to be found. I circle back to Via St. Crisogono, because somebody here had given a link to a website about this church and excavations underneath it that had recently been opened to the public. OK, thereís no church on St. Crisogono. Thereís a sign with that name and the hours for the church, but as Iím standing there reading it, a man comes out of the building, which it turns out is an apartment building. I ask him in my best Italian where the church is, but he just shrugs his shoulders.

OK, this gets stranger. On the same street, there are two or three more signs with the church hours, all on various apartment buildings (and the times vary)! No sign of the church anywhere. I donít seem to have written down exactly where I did find the church, but looking at my map, I'm pretty sure it's on Viale d. Trastavere. Having pretty much given up, I came around the corner and there it was. The church itself is nice, thereís nobody there except me and a man passing out bulletins for a service later in the day. He doesnít speak any English, but with my limited Italian I ask about the excavations, motioning that I want to go downstairs. At first he just looks at me like Iím crazy. I go through it again, motioning some more, and ask if itís open. Heís obviously skeptical, but finally tells me to follow him, and he takes me in a side room. Thereís a 2E fee to go down. Iím not sure why he didnít want to show me. Maybe he was surprised I even knew about it, or wondered if I really wanted to go down there.

Anyway, itís well worth the 2E. Definitely not for the handicapped. It starts with some stone steps, and he says, ďPiano, pianoĒ as I start down. I assure him I will go slowly. There are metal walkways through parts of it. The rest, youíre stepping over stones and the remains of walls, but some nice frescoes and I enjoy it very much. Quite a large area has been excavated. When I come back upstairs, the man is coming out of another side area. For some reason, Iím sure thereís a bathroom in there, and since I need one, I ask him if I can use it. He gives me a look as if to say, ďGee, lady, is there anything else you want?Ē But then he lets me use it.

After Crisogono, I work my way over to a favorite shop, Polvere di Tempo on Via del Moro. They have a lot of cool things here, all kinds of time-keeping things, except no clocks. Iíve bought a couple neat things here for my son and get another. They will also seal the little gift bag with sealing wax and an initial. I wander back towards my apartment to put my feet up.

Iíve walked a lot today again and donít want to go far for dinner. I end up going to Da Paino on Via de Parione, which by the way theyíve been digging up all week. I have Rigatoni alla Carbonara, which isnít bad but isnít great, either. I should have gone with pizza, as that looked good on several nearby tables. With Ĺ litre wine, 13E. For my last night in the Piazza Navona, itís quite a bit warmer tonight, so lots of people and artists. I decide I should have dessert with my Limoncello and get Café Baroccaís Hot Chocolate Souffle with Whipped Cream. OK, this makes up for the so-so dinner! A good end to another beautiful trip. I canít wait to go back!

SusanP is offline  
Mar 11th, 2008, 03:55 PM
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what a fantastic report - I'm going to Rome for the first time in September and just cannot wait. As much as I want to see all the famous sites and pack as much in to 5 days as I can, I really look forward to the day I can travel to Rome and just be there. Some day...

Can't wait to try limoncello
lifeofmytime is offline  
Mar 11th, 2008, 04:32 PM
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Very lovely, as usual, SusanP. Please go again soon!
LCBoniti is offline  
Mar 11th, 2008, 05:43 PM
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lifeofmytime, have a great trip! Five days is enough to see a lot and still take a little time to relax and just enjoy Rome.

LC, I will, I will...in July
SusanP is offline  
Mar 11th, 2008, 06:23 PM
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thank you so much--my mouth is watering from all the descriptive meals...
treble is offline  
Mar 11th, 2008, 09:16 PM
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love Rome 2 ; a treat to read ur report thank you.


AndrewDavid is offline  
Mar 12th, 2008, 12:55 PM
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Thanks, treble & Andrew. Glad you enjoyed it.
SusanP is offline  
Mar 12th, 2008, 02:25 PM
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Susan, another lovely report, thank you. I also love Polvere di Tempo. I buy a little something there every trip to Rome. It is just a block away from my apt, which is on the corner of Via Del Moro and Via Lungaretta and next to a great little bookstore. I am so missing Roma and limoncello!!!
Barb is offline  
Mar 13th, 2008, 11:57 AM
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Yes, Barb, isn't that store great? I've thought about staying in Trastavere, but I so enjoy Piazza Navona at night and don't like to have to go far from there.
SusanP is offline  
Mar 13th, 2008, 06:58 PM
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OK - I looked up limoncello, and found out it is a lemon liquore made from lemon rind rather than lemon juice, so it isn't sour. Why is it your favorite drink in Italy? Are there special places you recommend to try it? What else do they serve at Cafe Barocca? Thanks.
butnotrmpt is offline  
Mar 14th, 2008, 12:55 PM
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butnotrmpt, I guess it's my favorite drink because I love the way it tastes! And it's very nice after a meal. You can get it just about anywhere in Rome. If it looks a little greenish, that's a good thing. You don't want the kind with additives. It should just have the lemon, sugar and alcohol (normally grain alcohol is used). I've never asked a waiter if they have the pure stuff, I think most places in Italy do. Cafe Barocca does serve full meals as well.
SusanP is offline  
Mar 14th, 2008, 01:27 PM
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I know what you mean, but I've switched my routine so I have a drink (vino or limoncello) at Piazza Navona late aft. and then dinner somewhere in Trastevere. No matter how you do it, you are Rome, so you can't go wrong.
Barb is offline  
Mar 17th, 2008, 10:14 AM
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I'm so glad to hear that you enjoyed a February trip! My husband and I are thinking about a trip for next year, and because he's in school we're limited to "spring break time." (Since when is Spring in February, anyway??)

I've been nervous that the cold weather might make it tough to enjoy the trip (our Italian honeymoon a few years ago was in June), but your post gives me hope!
TarheelsInNj is offline  
Mar 18th, 2008, 01:15 PM
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Tarheels, yes, even though it was cooler than normal the first part of the week, I was lucky with almost no rain. I wish I were there right now!
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