Home from Rome - a trip report

Dec 4th, 2013, 05:14 AM
Join Date: Nov 2003
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Looking forward to reading all about your trip. So glad my recommendations were helpful to you. ;-)
LowCountryIslander is offline  
Dec 4th, 2013, 01:28 PM
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Looking forward to reading all of this--gotta get myself back to Rome
yestravel is offline  
Dec 4th, 2013, 02:57 PM
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Loving this. Dying to stay at Albergo del Senato! We loved VinoRoma and our tour with Elizabeth was excellent. You are bringing back lots of great memories of our trip to Rome last year.

Love both Rome and Paris...both wonderful and totally different.
denisea is offline  
Dec 4th, 2013, 03:40 PM
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While I am working through some photos, I will leave you with a small puzzle.

Where was this photo taken and what is its significance?

I would only ask that anyone who already saw my posting of this elsewhere (where I gave the answer) wait for others who don't have a jump on it.


I'll leave a hint later if no answers are forthcoming...
flygirl is offline  
Dec 5th, 2013, 02:08 AM
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Hint: Via Margutta 51...
flygirl is offline  
Dec 5th, 2013, 03:23 PM
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No guesses...

A flat where an American newspaperman lived, and a princess briefly came to visit...
flygirl is offline  
Dec 5th, 2013, 03:30 PM
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Hi Flygil:

Looking forward to your report.

Good hint: Roman Holiday staring Gregory Peck & Audrey Hepburn

Best .. Ger
OReilly is offline  
Dec 5th, 2013, 03:59 PM
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Ger, good to see you!

Yes, that's right. Roman Holiday. I managed to visit a number of Roman Holiday spots which really aren't all that hard, they are fairly central and popular.
flygirl is offline  
Dec 5th, 2013, 05:35 PM
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Great start...we're renting an apartment right next to the Pantheon, so your dining suggestions are spot on.

We usually stay in hotels with breakfast included, so an apartment will be a new thing for us, and I am very excited about it. I guess we will have plenty of places in that neighborhood to go for a pastry and a cup of coffee in the morning, right? Any suggestion? Thanks
xyz99 is offline  
Dec 6th, 2013, 03:08 AM
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Thank you again for the encouragement! Denise, I started to read your report last night - despite a few mishaps you had a great time - glad you got your camera back!

xyz, there are several breakfast choices. I hit three of them - the caffes I mentioned in the "superlatives" section up above. You can't go wrong with any of them and I encourage you to try them all - the coffee was superb. I got a macchiato each time. I would like to hear the details about your apartment, too. This is a fantastic location and while I loved the Senato I could stay in any nice lodging nearby, too.

Shortly I will post some more meals - am working on that right now.
flygirl is offline  
Dec 6th, 2013, 03:24 AM
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Italy will likely be our next trip, but all this talk of wonderful food, coffee and gelatos daily makes me think I'll put on a ton of weight in three weeks! Waiting for more. I'm already drooling.
dgunbug is offline  
Dec 6th, 2013, 04:28 AM
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Rome in March!
Saraho is offline  
Dec 6th, 2013, 04:48 AM
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More meals.

Here are some of the other places I ate. I used the two apps I mentioned above as well as some hotel recommendations and guidebook recos. You can trust the Albergo del Senato hotel recs, they will send you to family run places and not tourist traps.

A few more observations: if you can, try to plan/reserve your arrival day meals and especially if you arrive on a Sunday. It worked out just fine for me as both recommendations by the Senato were very good as well as close, but, I was starving and would have eaten anything convenient upon arrival which clearly would be a waste. Sundays and Mondays you especially have to take notice as many restaurants will close those days. I was surprised to learn that Armando al Pantheon closes on Saturday night, too. Additionally, if there is bruschetta on the primi menu, order it. I've never gone wrong with bruschetta. Good Italian bread is only improved by toasting it, rubbing it with fantastic olive oil, and then a smattering of fresh tomatoes and oregano and more olive oil and probably sea salt to boot. Marvelous.

Final observation: if there is a Fodorite who has good food recs (LCI and ekscrunchy come to mind) it's not a bad idea to cut and paste their food recs and then email them to yourself as backup recommendations. Even with a smartphone, once you open that email they are "on" your mobile so you are not using data overseas to pull up the recommendations.

My Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday dinners were at Armando al Pantheon (twice) and Trattoria Monti. My other meals were below. I am not a restaurant critic (which is putting it mildly) so pardon the lack of flowery adjectives and discussions of the finer points of the ingredients. I like good, mouth watering food, though. So if I don't like it I won't be shy to mention it. None of my meals were bad and only one was a letdown based on what I read about it beforehand.

The hotel sent me to three places nearby when I hadn't gotten my act together for planning or reservations. Both meals on Sunday as well as my very last meal in Rome on Saturday night. Shame on me for not planning better for my last meal but it turned out just fine.

The three Albergo del Senato recos:

La Sagrestia which is 30 seconds walk from the hotel on via del Seminario. A simple family run trattoria and not at all touristy. I had a margherita pizza which was very good. In digging around about this restaurant afterwards I read that the linguini al limone is very good, too, so maybe the next time…


Antonio al Pantheon, a 30 seconds walk in the other direction. Via dei Pastini 12. I was told this was one of only two restaurants on via dei Pastini that they would send guests to visit, and I cannot remember the other name. The street is full of restaurants, though, so keep that in mind if you are on that street. After my primi I had the maltagliati con ricotta e guanciale which is somewhat like pasta carbonara although with cream. So very tasty. Good thing I was doing a lot of walking!


My last meal, at Agrippa. I almost didn't keep the reservation because I wondered how lucky was I going to be eating at yet another restaurant around the corner from the Pantheon. I should have known that Luca would not steer me wrong. It was a very good meal - and the price was astounding. Saturday night's tasting menu was three courses for 13 euros and add to that a glass of Montepulciano d'Abruzzo (i.e. not house wine) for 5 euros. I had cacio e pepe starter and saltimbocca secondi and a pannacotta dolce, with a glass of wine, for 18 euros, next to the Pantheon on a Saturday night.


The Time Out recommendation which I later saw in my notes that ekscrunchy had liked, and, in fact I probably visited this on a long-ago trip to Rome with my Mom (also from a Time Out rec at that time):

Matricianella on via del Leone. I knew this would be a good meal when I walked up to a front door completely plastered with stickers. Cacio e pepe and a starter which I can't remember right now. Just the right amount of tang and pepper. This restaurant was a short walk to the Spanish Steps - perhaps 10 minutes if you don't dawdle although the walk will take you along Via Condotti so good luck with that.


Found on the apps:

Antico Forno Roscioli for lunch. I had intended to go to Da Baffeto, which was tops on my pizza tour list, but when I walked by it on Tuesday it was closed for lunch. I stood in the small street feeling a bit bummed that I was thwarted in my pizza quest so I pulled out Elizabeth's app and hit the "pizza filter" and nearby was Al Forno Roscioli. I made my wending way through the streets to this bakery. In addition to getting two slices of pizza which I ate standing up at the counter, I also ogled the various baked goods and finally decided on a bagful. This bag o'pastries came in handy for my Wednesday morning four hour wait in the cold for the Pope. Good pizza - check 'em out.


Baccano . After freezing my tuckus for four hours on Wednesday morning, I headed back to the hotel, had a macchiato at Camilloni, then had a long hot soak in the tub. I finally emerged, past the normal lunch time, and checked Elizabeth's app for lunch. Baccano looked interesting and when I double-checked LCI's Fodors notes (which I had emailed to myself) I saw that she enjoyed an aperitivo there with her Mom on a trip. I wandered over to Via delle Muratte, not far from the Trevi Fountain, and went in. Interestingly enough, when I got there I realized I had passed it the day before and merely noticed that it looked modern, almost like a Maggiano's, from the outside. It's probably just as well I didn't notice the name at that time or I may have given it a miss because it looked "touristy". In the end I enjoyed my meal, including the frascati wine (a new one from the wine tasting) and I was grateful to find a place to eat outside of normal lunch hours close by.


Pizzarium. I was determined not to miss this place on my pizza tour. I had heard so many wonderful things about it from both apps as well as guidebooks and LCI's notes. This was my late lunch (on Thanksgiving Day) after a long morning of walking which included walking from the hotel, to Marcellus Theater, across Tiberina Island, through Trastevere, UP the Janiculum hill to see the sights, back DOWN the Janiculum into St Peter's Square, and then around past the Vatican and over yonder into the neighborhood to find Pizzarium. This is literally a hole in the wall. A wonderful hole in the wall. There are no seats, at all, and the space inside is pretty small. You order and you can either stand at the counter if there happens to be room, or you go outside and sit on a bench or stand at the counter they have directly outside the window (which looks like an ordering window, although it probably is not). They have redefined pizza here. It is sold by weight, and there are many inventive types to choose from. I chose two: a topping of savory/sweet creamy zucca (pumpkin) topped with broccoli and another one that was a little more traditional with spicy red sauce, goat cheese, rocket, and one last ingredient that is escaping me right now. You order, they chop, heat it in the oven for you, then chop it again in bite size pieces and hand it to you on a tray. I also got suppli. MMMMMMM.

Arcangelo Dandini. This was my Thursday night meal. Hande from Vinoroma told me this was the best place in Rome to get gnocchi and since it was Thursday I wanted gnocchi. The restaurant is in Prati so I took a cab. Truly pillows of goodness. I also had a creamy sweet zucca "suppli" as a starter and a glass of wine. This was my most expensive meal of the trip at 44E.

Please note that they do NOT have a website, so, if you google the name and another Arcangelo comes up, that is not the one I visited. The one I visited is in Prati and the address is Via G. G. Belli 59.


Romeo which is very near St Peter's. This is a modern restaurant with inventive sandwiches and other deli type foods on offer. Absolutely fantastic. I probably could have put it in the superlatives section above. My lunch was very simple - chicken salad sandwich studded with pomegranates and celery and some other things I cannot recall. But so good, and fresh.


Da Tonino. This was my one "letdown". I expected a lot of this simple restaurant as both Elizabeth liked it (on her app), LCI also mentioned she liked it a great deal. Honestly, it wasn't all that great. The carciofi was actually pretty good, but the pasta was bland (but very filling, and huge portions - I could not finish it). The bread was awful and the house red wine was plonk. It was only 21E, though, but I had much better meals for not much more - and even less. This was very near Da Baffeto, which I really should have visited instead. I even walked by it, it was completely full (no rez possible, you wait) and so I walked on. This is probably 10 minutes from the hotel but unless you read another recent good review, I'd probably pass it up.

Acchiappafantasmi. This was another guidebook meal. I thought I only had one "solely guidebook meal" and I think I was wrong - I think I saw this in Fodors guidebook. The name means "ghostbusters" and there is a ghost on the sign and even the pizzas are vaguely ghost shaped. Good pizza! I sat at a table, they gave me a wifi password, I had my bruschetta (I know, a lot of bread, but as mentioned, don't pass up bruschetta in Rome) and wine, and then the pizza. Another one for your list. It's not too far from Campo di Fiori.


Next: High points and low points.
flygirl is offline  
Dec 6th, 2013, 05:13 AM
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Really enjoying this report! We will be staying at Alberto del senato in May for the second time. Can't wait! I've saved your recommendations as we hope to be more intentional about restaurants this go-round.
KayTKay is offline  
Dec 6th, 2013, 05:34 AM
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We'll be at Albergo del Senato in May for our second stay as well!
Judy is offline  
Dec 6th, 2013, 05:48 AM
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That's too bad about Da Tonino. I haven't been there since 2010. My first time there in 2009 it was full of locals and the food was terrific (but that was 4 years ago and things can change). When I went back in 2010 I noticed they then had an English translation menu. Unfortunately things there may have suffered due to being "found".
LowCountryIslander is offline  
Dec 6th, 2013, 06:25 AM
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flygirl, this is an awesome report. thanks dearly for doing it. we are going in a few weeks, and with 9 days in Rome, I hope to try many of these. I do have Parla and Elizabeths apps, but your report, added to that, is a big help.

looking forward to the next installment.

wondering about the LCI report. Is this something you could link?? or any others? I have found many articles, top ten lists, etc...and the recent ones I am printing, but I like your idea of emailing them to yourself, so you have it paperless. Still not sure how to use my iPhone over there without massive fees...that is on hubby's list to check out.

It gets to be information overload, compared to trips pre internet...but that is a good thing! (if you can somehow juggle all the information!!!)

again, thanks for the report!!
mmmooommm is offline  
Dec 6th, 2013, 09:50 AM
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I agree that La Sagrestia is a good choice for simple but good food. They can squeeze in a lot of diners when it's busy as evident when we ate there last September! DH & I enjoyed the antipasti platter of cured meats & cheese. Our pasta dishes were good!

By the way, I like the way you organized all the restaurants together, flygirl. I will be following the rest of your trip report with great interest!
2010 is offline  
Dec 6th, 2013, 09:53 AM
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And here I thought I was the one noted for bringing Trattoria Monti into the Fodor's fold.

Thanks for the trip report, BA

Pepper_von_snoot is offline  
Dec 6th, 2013, 10:56 AM
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Thanks for the tip about the Granita con Panna...one of my wife's favorites. We will be there for a week at Christmas. We leave in less than 2 weeks...perfect timing for your report.
Jim_Tardio is offline  

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