Rose Petals and Reflections


Aug 23rd, 2014, 10:41 AM
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Rose Petals and Reflections

A collective gasp was heard as the crimson petals began to softly fall through the Oculus, shortly to be replaced by the excited laughter of children as they swept handfuls of the same petals from the floor & threw them sky high. Pentecost Sunday at the Pantheon, Rome was to provide one of the many happy memories that we brought back home with us from this our eighth trip to the Eternal City.
Reflections on this trip (June 2014 for 14 nights)
Public transport – CIS tickets were as cost effective as ever on this trip but we did notice that the electric buses were not as frequent as in previous years. However, we used the trams a lot and appreciated their coverage to far flung corners of the city.
Food – We love it! Our day to day itineraries are based around lunch & dinner. This year street food featured heavily - Suppli from Supplizio, porchetta in pizza bianca from Panificio Bonci, pizza al taglio from Pizzarium , baccala from I Filetti and trapizzino from where else but Trapizzino.
We also sampled gnocchi (on Gnocchi Thursday) from L’Arcangelo which is rather a shame because having tasted those fluffy pillows of gorgeousness we will never be able to have gnocchi anywhere else.
Our ‘last dinner before we leave’ was at Marzapane – a Michelin star contender if ever there was one. Amazeballs to coin a current phrase. And the cost of the tasting menu? €35!! Tote Amazeballs

Aperitivo – Last year we started to take our own aperitivo goodies to various viewpoints in the city and we continued the tradition on this year. As well as our favourite spots – Piazzale Garibaldi, Spanish Steps, Pincio – we discovered the Botanical Gardens & a lovely park opposite the Quirinale Palace.

Further Afield – Each time we plan a visit we say we will do day trips from the city and each time we find that there is more in the city that we would like to see. This year was no different but we did venture to pastures new. We visited Cinnecitta where the guided tour includes sets from the HBO series ‘Rome’, the Coppede district , Villa Torlonia, the British Military Cemetary and Pigneto. The latter was introduced to us by Gina (see below) and we loved this area so much that we revisited it. It doesn’t hurt that it is home to CoSo – a fabulous cocktail bar.

Special Moments - Obviously the Rose Shower at the Pantheon was very special but so too was the opening of the Quirinale gardens on Repubblica Day (2nd June) but the out & out special moments were on our Scooteroma Tour. This was our Birthdays & Anniversary present to each other & was worth every penny. We chose the Foodie Tour which was how we came to meet Gina Tringali who introduced us to Pigneto amongst other places. The seminal moment in our whole trip this year came as we were zipping along Via Casalina on a bright red vespa – ancient meets modern. Rome in a nutshell.
Caenis is offline  
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Aug 23rd, 2014, 11:32 AM
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Love it! Sounds like you had a very special trip. Thanks for sharing.
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Aug 23rd, 2014, 11:43 AM
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Thank you Msteacher - we did. Someone once said 'Travel finds a home for the soul' I think we have found ours in Rome
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Aug 23rd, 2014, 11:56 AM
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Beautiful! Thank you for the image.
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Aug 27th, 2014, 07:25 AM
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The title drew me in and the first installment has me wanting more. Looking forward to reading about your Rome adventures. I'm especially interested in hearing more about your ScooterRoma tour and of course the food and beverage highlights!
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Aug 27th, 2014, 07:31 AM
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What a beautiful description of your trip.
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Aug 28th, 2014, 10:23 AM
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Thank you all for your kind words.
Here is the Scooteroma report especially for LowCountryIslander who has been such an inspiration in our trip planning.
The sight of Mr G & his shiny red Vespa as he drew up outside our apartment was guaranteed to bring out the Audrey Hepburn/Gregory Peck in myself & my other half. We had booked the 'Foodie' tour and knew that we would be accompanied by a food and drink expert. Imagine our delight when this expert turned out to be Gina Tringali, a co-founder of The Rome Digest - a food & drink website that I follow.
Our first port of call was Panella on Via Merulana. We knew of this café/bakery and had previously admired the bread sculptures in the windows. Gina talked us through the various pastries, made to recipes from all over Italy, and also pointed out the vertical coffee machine. The coffee beans are especially roasted and blended & the result is a blend unique to Panella.
Back on the Vespas we headed to the Esquiline Market. Again we had visited on a previous occasion but we saw the market through new eyes with our expert. Gina had lived in the area five years previously and she was known to the stall holders, all who greeted her like a long lost friend. We were so impressed with all that we learned here that we re-visited the market a couple of days later. We were cooking lunch for friends who were joining us in Rome and did all our fruit and vegetable shopping for that lunch for €3!!
Pigneto was our next stop. This is an area we had wanted to visit for a while but were not sure how easy it was to reach by public transport (pretty easy actually - more of which later).
At Necci we sampled gelato served in lovely old fashioned metal dishes. We loved the laid back atmosphere, retro décor & leafy terrace. We had wanted to visit here as we had heard that the chef, Ben Hurst, was originally from England.Hopefully we will eat here on a future visit.
Gina wanted us to sample porchetta from I Porchettoni but sadly they were closed so we moved on to Quarantuno. Here we tasted the most amazing breseola - silky smooth & melt in the mouth. After buying cherries from one of the market stalls that line Via Pigneto we called in to a forno to sample the aforementioned porchetta, tucked in to slices of pizza bianca. Gina was at pains to point out that whilst this was good porchetta, it was not as good as I Porchettoni and that THE best porchetta is produced by Vitaliano Bernabei in Marino, a small village in the Castelli hills. Fortunately it is available from Panificio Bonci here in Rome. We sampled this a few days later - absolutely sublime. Moist, herby porchetta, crunchy crackling, served on Bonci pizza Bianca - the best street food ever.
To be continued.....
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Aug 28th, 2014, 11:15 AM
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My mouth is watering for a taste of porchetta! ;-)
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Aug 29th, 2014, 12:38 PM
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ScooterRoma sounded so fun I just reserved a half-day tour for my upcoming birthday! Thanks for the information, never would have occurred to us to do something like this.
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Aug 30th, 2014, 07:19 AM
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Shellio - The Scooteroma tour will be a lovely birthday treat!
LowCountryIslander - The porchetta was mouth watering indeed & goes on my list of foods I dream about when we return home from Rome, along with gelato from Fatamorgana, pizza from Pizzerium, Tiramisu from L'Osteria di Monteverde, gnocchi from L'Arcangelo, almond biscotti from Innocenti.....the list goes on & on. But I digress - back to the Scooteroma tour.
Our final stop was at Les Vignerons - an enoteca that specialises in natural wines from lesser known wineries and also artisan beers. Gina is a qualified sommelier & she came into her own here. She ascertained our wine preferences & chose a bottle to taste as well as recommending bottles to serve to our friends at our upcoming lunch.
So far this report has been all about the food but the other amazing side to the tour was the Vespa ride itself. Giovanni, known as 'Mr G' was a charming and entertaining driver. We covered an amazing range of subjects in our Vespa conversation - from Ancient Rome to contemporary cinema, football to Chinese food! He also pointed out to us CoSo - a cocktail bar in Pigneto, recently opened by two former Hotel de Russie bar staff. I had heard a little about it on social media and we were determined to make our way back here later in the week. We did succeed in finding it ourselves thanks to the great tram system and it was every bit as fabulous as we thought it would be.
Before heading back to our apartment at the end of the tour we had photos taken outside the Cinema Impero in Pigneto. The niches that once held film posters now are decorated with murals of Italian film directors and stars.
I can't think of a more fitting memento - A cherry red Vespa, Mario Monicelli......and us - immortalised on canvas!!

You can see some photographs from the tour on my blog post
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