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Gina Feb 6th, 2001 08:09 AM

Rome Report!
Yarrrrghh! I knew the post was too long. I'll repost in a couple of chunks after lunch.

Gina Feb 6th, 2001 08:24 AM

Okay, let's try again...shorter this time. I'm back from 14 fantastic days solo in Rome and Tunisia--6 days Rome, 8 days Tunisia, plus a couple of travel days. Most of the reports here will be on Rome, but I do want to include some details on Tunisia since it's quite a convenient hop from Europe and a wonderful destination. <BR> <BR>I've dubbed the first half of the trip Gina Eats Her Way Through Rome--thank goodness I was walking about 10 hours a day, or I wouldn't have fit through the door coming home. With the food theme in mind, I'll start my Rome trip report with restaurants. <BR> <BR>Favorites: <BR> <BR>L'Archetto, via dell'Archetto just south of the Trevi Fountain; a bargain haven for spaghetti with 67 varieties of sauces, from the exotic to the mundane. I paid about $18 for a small half-bottle of wine, a fabulous bruschetta with salmon and mozzarella, spaghetti Nikita (also very cheesy--I'm a cheese nut), and gelato. This cozy place came recommended by the wonderful Sandra Gustafson of Cheap Eats fame; never leave home without your Cheap Eats books! <BR> <BR>Paris, near Santa Maria in Trastevere, is a bit more pricy but elegant, old-fashioned about quality, and with excellent service. I paid about 56,000 Lit. for lightly spiced chickpea soup (very good!) and excellent fresh grilled John Dory with potatoes, with bread and a bottle of water. <BR> <BR>Quirino, in via della Muratte just west of the Trevi, is also a bit more pricey but delicious. I fell in love with their tortellini--piping hot as is all Roman pasta, perfectly al dente, in a magnificent cream sauce that makes me salivate even now just thinking of it. That, along with a small half-bottle of house red, a wonderful veal chop, a truly slurp-worthy artichoke in butter, and charlotte cake, came to about 85,000 Lit, or $42-ish US. <BR> <BR>Next installment on the food coming soon--I don't want this one munched by the Fodor's "lengthy post monster" too!

Gina Feb 6th, 2001 08:41 AM

More "Gina Eats Her Way Through Rome": <BR> <BR>Cavalieri Gino, in Vicolo Rosini just off Piazza Parlamento (ask one of the uniformed officers always in the Piazza to point you to the tiny street), lives up to its Time Out billing as a classic Roman lunch trattoria, packed with journalists and politicos. I was waited on by Gino himself, who recommended a yummy tonnarelli with mushrooms and peas followed by typically Roman baccala (salt cod) with potatoes. I don't think lunch cost more than $15 US. Gino spotted my Time Out, so I showed him his listing; he promptly hurried off and proudly brought back a December 2000 edition of the NYT travel section with a glowing review for his restaurant. Don't miss this place. <BR> <BR>Also a great find is an even smaller, also family-run place called Il Posto Acconto, off Via Nazionale near the Piazza Venezia. (I can't find the card with the address right now, but if anyone's interested I'll hunt it down.) A friend of mine took me there and the big friendly bear of an owner, Mauro, recommended a delicious pasta with clams and fagliolini (green beans)--a light lunch for me only that day. Mauro refused to let us pay for our meal and full bottle of white wine because my friend, Stefania, comes there often. <BR> <BR>I stumbled on I Chianti, in Via Arcione on the way to the Trevi, in a rush one night to get to the opera. (Just *try* finding dinner in Rome that will allow you to make an 8 pm curtain, when no one there even thinks of eating before 8! I didn't want my stomach growling throughout La Rondine...) Lots of game on the menu, big wooden tables and low beamed ceilings, friendly if distracted service. I had an excellent bruschetta with mushrooms (slurp!) and tagliatelle with hare sauce (also slurp), which with wine ran under 50,000 Lit. <BR> <BR>Pizza at Est! Est! Est!, also near Via Nazionale in Via Genova, is quite good and affordable; I was even more taken with the hot and yummy faglio all'olio. <BR> <BR>I think I'm missing a restaurant or two, but these were the highlights. I also loved gelato at Giolitti--favorite flavors were frutti di bosco (Beth A. is right, it's *wonderful*, especially combined with chocolate) and chocolate all'arancia (orange). Sadly, the San Crispino Gelateria, supposedly the pick of the bunch and right near my hotel, was on their January holiday when I was there. <BR> <BR>More to follow on hotel, shopping, sights, and experiences.

Beth Anderson Feb 6th, 2001 08:42 AM

Gina, I am impressed! You just got back and have a report already. I still don't have Venice/Florence done! <BR> <BR>Keep it coming!

tcc Feb 6th, 2001 08:50 AM

This sounds wonderful Gina. I'm sitting here at my desk eating in NYC and reading on my lunch hour. Now this salad doesn't look as good as I thought after reading your report! <BR> <BR>Sandra Gustafson is coming out with an updated version of her Cheap Sleeps Paris and one for Italy in March. Can't wait!

nancy Feb 6th, 2001 12:04 PM

Gina, <BR>thanks so for names and descriptions! <BR>My spagetti eating son will be pleased with L'Archetto, and my daughter loves clams and green beans(go figure, she is 10!), so if you can find the address of Il Posto Acconto, that would be great. <BR>It sounds like a good place for a family to eat! <BR>What is a John Dory , though? <BR>Glad you had a great time, and you got to go to the Opera! <BR>I am envious!, I do not think the opera is in 'session' in June, (plus it would be hard with the children, if I got to go, I could leave my husband "at home" with the children.) <BR>

Paulo Feb 6th, 2001 12:39 PM

Nancy, if Gina is referring to Il Posto AccAnto, according to a reference (I've never heard about it before) this is supposed to be in via del Boschetto, 36 (tel. 06/4743002; closed saturday for lunch and sunday; 15 days vacations in August) <BR> <BR>Paulo

nancy Feb 6th, 2001 12:57 PM

Thanks Paulo! <BR>Now I need to know what a John Dory is!

Gina Feb 6th, 2001 01:03 PM

Thanks Paulo, that's the one! If you come onto via del Boschetto from via Nazionale, it's on the right-hand side of the street, a few doors down. And Nancy, a John Dory is a fish. I'm sure your family would love Il Posto Accanto or Acconto, whichever is the accurate spelling (I know I have Mauro's card in my bag of papers *somewhere*)--it's a very warmhearted and friendly place. <BR> <BR>

Thyra Feb 6th, 2001 01:06 PM

My tummy is rumbling!!! Great report, will you write about Tunisia as well??? I am very interested in that also. <BR>Thanks for the post!!!

Monica Feb 6th, 2001 01:35 PM

Hi Gina! <BR> <BR>Boy, you are making me hungry for some good Italian food! I'll have to print out your report to keep with me when I head to Rome this fall. Looking foward to reading more of your notes.

s.fowler Feb 6th, 2001 03:10 PM

"John Dory" is a kind of fish. At least that's what I think.

s.fowler Feb 6th, 2001 03:13 PM

Gina Feb 7th, 2001 06:12 AM

This morning's update (before I actually get some real work done)--a quick hotel review. I stayed at the Hotel Julia, on via Rasella just behind the Quirinale Palace. <BR> <BR>First, the location. It really couldn't be much more convenient. Via Rasella is a rather steep, narrow, cobblestone street which runs about two and a half blocks, from Via delle Quattro Fontana/Via Sistina at the eastern end down to via due Macelli/Via del Traforo at the western end. Hotel Julia is about halfway down the street--if you walk uphill, you come out at the Palazzo Barberini, and if you walk downhill, you come out at the entrance to the traffic tunnel that speeds under the Quirinale. Cross that busy street and keep going straight on via in Arcione, and you can't miss the Trevi Fountain. 3 minutes walk to the Trevi, no more than 10 minutes walk to the Vittorio Emanuele and the Capitoline, a minute or two more down to the Forums, and probably 20 minutes or so to the Colosseum. Going northish instead of west, it's an easy walk up via Sistina to the Spanish Steps and shopping of the Via del Corso area. (Probably too easy for shopping fiends like me...) The walk to Piazza Navona area is probably about half an hour. I even walked back from the Vatican one night, although that was probably a stupid idea as I'd been on my feet all day and was *wrecked* when I got back. It's also very close to Metro Line A, the "red line," Barberini stop, which takes you right to the Vatican Ottaviano stop. <BR> <BR>The hotel itself is very comfortable and well run. There is an elevator and a 24-hour front desk; a little bar area off the reception area leads into the breakfast room. Included breakfast is pretty slim pickin's, and not all that good--I usually skipped it and grabbed a cornetto (yum!) at the first cafe I hit. <BR> <BR>My room wasn't exactly spacious, but I don't expect that from European hotels that aren't ridiculously overpriced. The decor includes lots of prints/drawings of old Rome. Bright, comfortable, good-sized double bed with tons of extra pillows, huge shuttered windows with a view of the via dei Giardini (the street behind the hotel), a private bath with shower, toilet, and bidet, TV with about 20 channels including International CNN, and fairly decent phone rates. I made rather a lot of Rome calls, reserving times at the Borghese and Domus Aurea, buying opera tickets, and so on, and also called the US once for about 5 minutes, and my total phone bill was 6900 Lit. or about $3.50. The shower was a bit teeny, one of those sliding-door boxes that resembles a glassed-in coffin, and the water was hot but not a very powerful spray. <BR> <BR>Staff was very nice and accommodating; they let me check in early (10 am) and check out late (1 pm), but mileage would no doubt vary on that when the season gets a little more into full swing. <BR> <BR>I believe my per-night rate was supposed to be 140,000 for a single with bathroom, but I got a break since I stayed 6 nights and paid 130,000 Lit. per night, or a little under $65. All in all, I really liked the Hotel Julia and would definitely stay there again, although I'd also be interested in staying near the Piazza Navona to get more acquainted with that area. <BR> <BR>And yes, I tossed my coin in the Trevi (properly, right hand throwing coin over left shoulder with back to fountain), to ensure my return to Rome.

nancy Feb 7th, 2001 03:35 PM

Thanks Gina, can't wait to try it out. <BR>and S.Fowler, for the John Dory site. <BR>Never heard of John dory before. <BR>

Celeste Feb 7th, 2001 04:02 PM

Thanks for mentioning the gelato - I leave this Saturday for Italy and I was afraid all the gelato places would be closed in the winter! Thanks!

Beth Anderson Feb 8th, 2001 06:18 AM

Hi Celeste... <BR> <BR>re: gelato places closing for the winter... I was very happy with my gelato (2+ per day!), but for Florence - I had heard so many raves about Vivoli's that I made that a specific pilgrimage... only to find it closed for the whole month of January! :-( <BR> <BR>may you have better luck with them! (this means I HAVE to go back soon... ) <BR> <BR>Beth

Beth Anderson Feb 8th, 2001 06:28 AM

ps. topping for other Rome-goers - this is too good to let sink to the 2d screen for very long! <BR> <BR>it's making me hungry....

Diane Feb 8th, 2001 08:38 AM

Gina, thanks for the great restaurant tips. May isn't THAT far away, and we like to use recommendations to help make choices when there are so many places to choose from!

maureen Feb 8th, 2001 06:59 PM

To Gina: <BR>Hotel Julia sounds great. I have looked up different website but could not find anything on it. Would you be kind enough to give me the email address or the fax of the hotel? I'll be going to Rome soon. Many Thanks!!!!!

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