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Home from Rome - a trip report

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Dec 2nd, 2013, 04:37 AM
  #1
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Home from Rome - a trip report

I just got home, last night, from seven nights in Rome and will start posting experiences and photos here. I promise I'll finish my Amalfi Coast report, too.

I am so tired right now - the trip home always manages to dispel a little bit of the vacation especially when connecting through Charles de Gaulle - near the holidays no less. One year ago yesterday I was arriving in Charles de Gaulle, come to think of it, for a week with Judy and her friends and family in Paris - always more fun to arrive in CDG than to change there.

I heard a lot of American accents on this trip so there were a lot of compatriots who were not sitting around a turkey, pumpkin pie and football (and discussing politics with the relatives).

The weather was, for late November, pretty fantastic. Sun and 50s just about every day except for the day I waited four hours in Piazza San Pietro waiting for the Pope. That was about 30 degrees that day - but no rain. Only a spit of rain the whole trip in fact and that was an evening. Sun and 50s on vacation makes me happy - it's perfect walking weather. And walk I did - I walked and walked and walked and walked and walked. Just about everywhere. No buses, no metro, and only a cab when I was pressed for time or it was late and far when coming home from dinner.

I stayed at Albergo del Senato in a superior double which gave it a view of the Pantheon. In fact, I had the only balcony (Room 204) other than those on the 6th floor which I think may be terraces and not balconies. Perfect location and what a lovely hotel. I really like the staff - I was treated very warmly the entire time. My room was spacious as was the bathroom and there were thoughtful touches everywhere. I had a tub which I utterly love because there's nothing like a good hot soak after a long day of walking.

Next up - all the food, and what I got up to all week....
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Dec 2nd, 2013, 05:16 AM
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Loving this already. And you stayed at my favorite hotel!
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Dec 2nd, 2013, 05:22 AM
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t
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Dec 2nd, 2013, 06:48 AM
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Jumping in to follow along!
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Dec 2nd, 2013, 06:59 AM
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Jumping on board!
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Dec 2nd, 2013, 07:03 AM
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Looking forward to more!

The Paris trip seem like more than just a year ago....will have to plan another December there, maybe 2015.
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Dec 2nd, 2013, 10:24 AM
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Bookmarking...drink up a triple espresso and get writing!
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Dec 2nd, 2013, 10:56 AM
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Thanks for posting. I'll be looking for ideas for my May visit!
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Dec 2nd, 2013, 12:45 PM
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Whoa ... both a Rome report and wrap up of the Amalfi report? You'll be busy! I'm looking forward to reading both for ideas for my April trip to both areas. And hopefully, photos will be posted! The del Senato is a great hotel, isn't it? Janet
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Dec 2nd, 2013, 01:11 PM
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Sounds great already.
We'll be there in May, so I'm looking forward to "all the food" info, and pictures, of course.
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Dec 2nd, 2013, 01:17 PM
  #11
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Thank you everyone for the encouragement - I can tell there are a lot of Rome lovers here. I wish I could just nip around the corner for a macchiato. I was reminded of that, this morning, when I went to a place that actually makes coffee the Italian way - and it was too bitter. Sigh. I had such good coffee every day of this trip.

For those who put Rome as their favorite city in Europe, let's hear why! I always come home thinking warm thoughts of "my favorite city" whenever I leave each of London, Paris, or Rome. I can't make up my mind.

I am going to try to do something a little different with the Rome report - categories instead of a day by day. Let's see if I can be successful in doing that. The day by day of the AC just seems to be going on forever...
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Dec 2nd, 2013, 04:46 PM
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Rome is sexy and exciting. That's why it's my fave.

I always rent apartments in Rome nowadays, but I once stayed at Albergo del Senato in a junior suite with a view on the Pantheon. Pretty great!

Looking forward to reading more.
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Dec 3rd, 2013, 07:40 AM
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I think I'm too fickle. I vacillate between Rome and Paris, depending on which one I've been to most recently, but now can throw Berlin into the mix. I'm torn! But until I go back to Rome in May, I'll say Rome!
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Dec 3rd, 2013, 07:50 AM
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flygirl: My favourite destination is usually the last one I visited. So, for me it's Rome but next year it will be Paris!

You stayed in a fantastic location. We've stayed in the Pantheon neighbourhood twice now and loved it!

Looking forward to more!
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Dec 3rd, 2013, 08:00 AM
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We are going to Rome & Amalfi Coast next May. Looking forward to hearing more!
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Dec 3rd, 2013, 03:39 PM
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Looking forward it more.
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Dec 3rd, 2013, 05:19 PM
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Great new movie shot in and about Rome..."The Great Beauty." All thumbs up...profound, witty, poignant, and the music the music the music!!
It will prolong your vacation and your love of Rome. Stay all the way through the credits.
Looking forward to reading more of your report soon.
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Dec 4th, 2013, 05:16 AM
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The food. First, the superlatives.

Before I go into this, I want to give a HUGE thank you to LowCountryIslander, upon whose tips I relied for all things food and wine related. I am for the most part passing along (and endorsing heavily) her tips.

Tip number one: If you do nothing else, download these two smartphone apps: Elizabeth Minchilli's Eat Rome, and, Katie Parla's Rome for Foodies. You really don't need anything else to eat well. I relied on Elizabeth's app first and I did peruse Katie's app. There was some restaurant overlap which is to be expected. I would give a slight edge to Elizabeth's app if for no other reason than hers had a filter to break it down by neighborhood which was quite useful and especially when it gets a bit cold out and you want to find something good to eat nearby. For all that I took two guidebooks with me (Fodors, and Time Out) I think I ended up only using one guidebook reco for a meal that wasn't already in the apps.

Tip number two: there are a number of food related tours and classes you can take. LowCountryIslander recommended two of them to me, and I looked into both Elizabeth Minchilli's day long food tour as well as a wine class led by Hande, of Vinoroma. Elizabeth's tour would no doubt have been fantastic but at 700E for the day (mid-morning to mid-afternoon) I decided that could wait until I was with my parents or friends. I took one wine tasting class with Hande which was marvelous and was only 50E per person. I would have taken another wine class with Hande but the timing didn't work out with the additional types of classes. Her "My Italians" class seems to be the most frequent and is good as an intro, and the Wine and Cheese Lunch was before that so I missed it. You can follow them both (and Katie, too) on Facebook and probably Twitter although I haven't checked Twitter yet.

A few superlatives, now:

The absolute first thing you must do when you arrive in Rome and are setting out for the day is to stop by Tazzo d'Oro (a few steps from the Pantheon) and order a Granita di Caffe con Panna. Don't wait until your last day, as I did, for this absolutely wonderful treat. You will kick yourself if you only have it once, and you wouldn't want to load up on several your last day - way too much caffeine. So start early, savor it, and make repeat visits over the course of your trip.

This next restaurant is a must-visit and it was not only on Elizabeth's app (and probably Katie's app, too) but it was also highly recommended by LCI and ekscrunchy, here. It is called Trattoria Monti and is walking distance from Vinoroma, in fact, after enjoying the tastings with Hande and her guests I made my buzzy, happy way to this Trattoria. Why was it a must-visit? Because of the onion flan, which sounds so much better in Italian: Flan de Cipolle Rosse con Crema di Gorgonzola. I also ordered some fritti and I can't even remember the name of the pasta I ordered but with another glass of wine, I just didn't want this meal to end. I even tortured friends with a photo of it - real time live.

Armando al Pantheon. This name comes up on Fodors all the time for a reason. It also happened to be a two minute walk from my hotel. I would have eaten there twice even if that weren't the case, though.

Giolitti. This is an old favorite of mine and I visited three times. It's also quite near the Pantheon which makes it convenient. The first visit I had a dark chocolate and hazelnut - a scoop of each - gelato which combination was a tad too rich. I swapped Amaretto for hazelnut the next two times and that worked much better. This may be the thickest, richest gelato I've ever had.

I started nearly every morning with a stroll to get a macchiato and pastry from Caffe Camilloni which is kitty corner to Caffe San Eustachio and both are in Elizabeth's app. I visited the latter on day one to load up on their coffee/chocolate treats.

Next: more meals.
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Dec 4th, 2013, 05:40 AM
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Good going..would love to hear more!!
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Dec 4th, 2013, 05:43 AM
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OK, now I want to go to Rome.
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