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ROME..Trip report with emphasis on food..January 2007

ROME..Trip report with emphasis on food..January 2007

Jan 20th, 2007, 11:50 AM
  #21  
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The tour they took included the Sistine chapel. I believe it started at 4pm on a Monday. She said there were more guards than tour-goers. She had a knee issue and went through in a wheelchair with the result that the others in the group went on faster than she did and she was left alone, with the guards, in the Sistine chapel for a few memorable minutes.

Dcd..I am not THAT crazy. (I do realize how the whole issue of buying tuna fish in Italy must read...you most definitely do NOT want to know about my earlier trips to Spain and the shattered glass jar in my hand luggage...) How did you guess I took a tour of the Argentina cat sanctuary (given every day at 4pm) ? I probably walked down there every night to take a look from the street. But they would get ShopRite brand, not Callipo!! And certainly not AS do Mar. (More on this brand of tuna later in the week; try to be patient for now......)

Thanks for reading! More soon.

ekscrunchy is offline  
Jan 20th, 2007, 01:21 PM
  #22  
 
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ek, grilled scamorza (or melted mozzarella, as well) is a specialty of the Abruzzo region, not of Rome, but there are many Abruzzesi in Rome...
So sorry that I won't be able to follow for the next few days (leaving for a short trip), but when coming home, I'll have all the more to read, and I'm looking forward to it!
franco is offline  
Jan 20th, 2007, 01:52 PM
  #23  
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Thank you, Franco. I was sure that you would know the details. The grilled scamorza is an example of the whole being greater than the sum of its parts. I tried to make a rendition once at home and it was a disaster. I put it in the oven for a few minutes, hoping to serve alongside roasted red peppers and black olives, and all I had was a liquid mess in my pan. I will have to dig up a recipe..perhaps it is coated with a light dusting of flour and done on top of the stove.

I look forward to corresponding with you when you get back..perhaps the report will be finished by then; if not, I will be laden with guilt!
ekscrunchy is offline  
Jan 20th, 2007, 03:35 PM
  #24  
 
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Paying attention to this! We are going to Rome for our first time in April, so I'm reading this with great interest. Thank you.

-Bill
iamq is offline  
Jan 21st, 2007, 03:40 AM
  #25  
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Thanks to everyone who posted comments; that is very gratifying. When I re-read the thread so far I found quite a few typing errors so I apologize. In the reference to the salad green, puntarella, at Armando's, it should read that the leaves were "thinly" sliced before being placed in an ice-water bath.

I will get back to this very soon....hope you are all hungry!
ekscrunchy is offline  
Jan 21st, 2007, 05:17 AM
  #26  
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After lunch on Monday, our first full day in Rome, I walked the few short blocks from the Senato to the local outpost of the famed Florentine pharmacy, Farmacia Santa Maria Novella. While not as spectacular as the historic Florence original, the Rome branch, located on Corso Rinascimento north of Corso Vittorio Emmanuele, is a handsome small space, fitted with wooden cabinets brimming with all of the famous soaps, potpourris, remedies, and potions. For more on specific SMN products and some background on the place, see this thread which deals with the original Florence branch:

http://www.fodors.com/forums/threads...2&tid=34736124

Unlike the usual situation in Florence, where there is often a long line of supplicants, the Rome shop was empty of customers on the afternoon I visited. The two ladies minding the store could not have been any kinder and more friendly. This time I had an idea of what I wanted (needed??) but had an animated discussion about which of their face creams I should buy, which entailed much dabbing, delicately sniffing, and commenting on the various possibilities. (I ended up with Idralia and the F cream, among other items).

One thing I was unprepared for were the prices. I completed an extensive shopping foray in the Florence store last January and, looking back on my report, I can see that the prices a year ago in Florence, and those today in Rome, are quite different. Instead of 22 E for a jar of face cream, I paid 38.50 in Rome. My questions is: Did prices go up THAT much in a year, or are the prices in Rome substantially higher? I would have put this question to the ladies at the store but I was in such a state of near ecstasy being there that it slipped my mind. One thing to keep in mind, of course, is that if you spend over a fixed amount in one store, I believe the current figure is 155 Euro, you will get a nice percentage refunded to you when you take the products out of the country. Make sure to ask for the relevant Detaxe papers when you make your purchase. And make sure to have the items available to present at the Detaxe desk when you depart.

After an hour (this shop invites lingering), I trudged back to the hotel, lugging two shopping bags filled with creams, candles and soaps including a small gift from the lovely salesperson.

While we are on the subject of shopping, here is something else I learned that week in Rome:
One of the many attractions of traveling to Italy in January is to partake of the countrywide sales on clothing and shoes and other items. Unfortunately, it is often difficult to ascertain the exact start date of these sales far enough in advance to incorporate into your travel plans; each local government sets its own start date and these can vary throughout the country. It can be sale time in Florence but not in Rome, for example. When we arrived in Rome, we were dismayed to see store windows empty of the huge "Saldi" and "Sconti" banners that announce sale time. We became more dismayed to learn that the sales would not start until the 13th, the day before we were to fly home. When I confided this disappointment to the salesladies in the SMN store, they gave me a tip. Although the sales do not OFFICIALLY begin until the offical start date, virtually all shops will apply the sale price to a customer who asks for it, beginnning sometime after Christmas. There is no need to fight the crowds (oh, yes, there are crowds..more on this later in the week..) during the "official" sales. Just ask for a discount and it will magically be granted. THIS is the kind of shopping advice I want to hear!

After a short rest back at the hotel, we set of about 7pm for a meandering walk through the bustling streets to our dinner destination (reserved earlier that day), Matracianella.

Dinner will be served shortly!
ekscrunchy is offline  
Jan 21st, 2007, 05:23 AM
  #27  
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Here is the address of the Farmacia Santa Maria Novella shop in Rome, one of 10 branches in Italy; all of the products are manufactured in their labs near the Florence shop:

Corso del Rinascimento, 47 00186, Roma





ekscrunchy is offline  
Jan 21st, 2007, 06:00 AM
  #28  
 
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You bring back many wonderful memories in this beautiful trip report, ekscrunchy. I had that same grilled cheese back in Ocotber in Armando. I LOVE that restaurant.
Keren is offline  
Jan 21st, 2007, 06:06 AM
  #29  
 
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Hey EK! We just got back last night, and I'm still in a fog. Love your report so far as mine will not have the food emphasis. Look forward to reading more.
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Jan 21st, 2007, 06:11 AM
  #30  
 
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Thanks for responding about the Sistine Chapel tour... and I am continuing to enjoy this report!

Liz
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Jan 21st, 2007, 06:32 AM
  #31  
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Hey Sandi!!! Glad you are home safe and sound. Can't wait to read your report once you get settled. Stay tuned!!!
ekscrunchy is offline  
Jan 21st, 2007, 06:58 AM
  #32  
 
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Hi, ek, I'm enjoying this. How wrong you are when you think nobody would be interested in the tuna! I brought back Rio Mare tuna in olive oil last March, and it was so good, I brought back more when I was just there after Christmas. Italian tuna IS different! And better. So do tell...have you had Rio Mare and is Callipo better? Enquiring minds what to know!

Also, do you know if the market on Via Andrea Doria is every day? Thanks, and looking forward to the rest.
SusanP is offline  
Jan 21st, 2007, 07:08 AM
  #33  
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SusanP..I am not certain but my guess would be that the market there is a daily event; not on Sundays, I imagine. If I am thinking of the same brand, Rio Mar is less expensive than Callipo and is sold in supermarkets. Honestly, all the Italian and Spanish ones packed in olive oil are great. I am partial now to the As Do Mar..I think the chunks are larger and less chopped up than the Callipo. On the can it says "trancio entero," which I would guess means whole slices. Flott from Sicily is another popular one. Sometimes the better grades from the same brand are sold in the glass jars but as I said, I have sworn off bringing the jars back after my bad experience in Spain when one of the Ortiz (probably my favorite brand of all) jars broke and the oil began dripping out onto the floor while I was going through passport control. Can you imagine how many times I washed by carry on bag to erase the smell? So far my vow to eschew the glass jars is holding but it is one day at a time!! I LOVE talking about this stuff...sorry if I go on and on.....
ekscrunchy is offline  
Jan 21st, 2007, 07:13 AM
  #34  
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Susan:

See this for more on As do Mar:


http://tinyurl.com/3dvxxy
ekscrunchy is offline  
Jan 21st, 2007, 07:14 AM
  #35  
 
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I just found your trip report - great details of which I'm thoroughly enjoying. Congrats on landing a great price on your stay at del Senato (one of my favorite hotels!)
dorkforcemom is offline  
Jan 21st, 2007, 07:18 AM
  #36  
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DFM: Glad you are enjoying! That hotel is a gem!! Did you know they have a sister hotel which is much less expensive but not as well located, the Hotel Raffaello?

http://www.hotelraffaello.it/

More on the tuna, to prove there are persons much further gone than I am:

http://blog.red-bean.com/sussman/?p=9

ekscrunchy is offline  
Jan 21st, 2007, 07:36 AM
  #37  
 
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I did buy the Rio Mare at the grocery store. After reading that article, now I suppose I have to find the As Do Mare! I assume you're going to tell me where I can get it? Following the link at the end to the "tuna prosciutto," that sounds wonderful as well, but $37 a pound!
SusanP is offline  
Jan 21st, 2007, 08:28 AM
  #38  
 
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ekscrunchy,

I have another question-- this time about the SMN store. We will be there in March, and I want to be aware of the "etiquette" for shopping there.

I have searched for posts here and looked at various websites... we are most interested in the candles, soaps, potpourri (and associated holders), and hand cream.

First, do you have approximate prices for the items mentioned above? I have found the USA prices at the NYC stores, but understand the Italian prices are lower.

Second, how exactly does it work? Do we only smell the scents at the front counter? How do we know what is for sale before heading to the counter?

Sorry for all of the questions. Neither of us speaks Italian except for the very basic phrases, and I never want to be the "ugly American."

Thanks. Liz
Tim_and_Liz is offline  
Jan 21st, 2007, 09:42 AM
  #39  
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Liz, first tell me which SMN you will be visiting..in Florence or in Rome? There are not really any samples out..you need to have an idea of what you want before you go.
ekscrunchy is offline  
Jan 21st, 2007, 09:45 AM
  #40  
 
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We will be in Rome, Florence and Venice, but I am assuming we should visit the SMN in Florence, correct?

I think I know what I want but will need to decide on the soap and candle scents prior to purchase...

Tim_and_Liz is offline  

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