Trip Report #3- Rome-- Just got back!

Jul 11th, 2006, 06:30 PM
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Trip Report #3- Rome-- Just got back!

Weds. June 28th.

Left for Rome via autostrada around 9:00 am. Stopped along way at highway rest stop, “Autogril” and were amazed at the cleanliness, great food and ease. Arrived in the centre of Rome around 12:30 and battled traffic to get to “Hotel Scalinata di Spagna” at the top of the Spanish steps.
We parked our car in a garage across the street for 30 euro per day. We were never so happy to park that car. Mopeds, scooters are crazy and the traffic patterns are enough to make one’s blood boil. We arrived in one piece and were more than happy to explore via foot. Since our rooms were not ready, we headed down the street for lunch at a small trattoria that our hotel suggested. I think it was named “Trattoria via Jesu and Maria” on the same street. It was very touristy but we had a decent meal of pasta, saltimbocca and wine. We then ventured out to see the Cappucini Crypt in the basement of the Church of the Immaculate on Via Veneto 27. The kids really loved it. It was so hot and we were tired so we headed back to the hotel for a shower and brief rest. We grabbed salads at a popular wine bar before meeting our tour guide back at the hotel for 9:00 pm. Julio picked us up in an air conditioned van and took us on a night time tour of the city. He gave us the history of many of the major sites and stopped along the way. We all got out at the Vatican and took pictures in front of St. Peter’s Basilica. We also stopped for gelato at a popular lookout point in the city. The tour was called “Night Illuminations Tour” and we booked it through www.romanpromenades.com. It lasted two hours and was a great way to get us acquainted with the entire city in the quiet of the night when it was easier to get around.

Thurs. June 29th

Took subway to coliseum. Joined tour group outside location for 20 euros each including tickets to forum and palentine… we avoided all lines and our tour guide was terrific. The company is called Pegasus tours. They also offered a free tour with the ticket for the forum but it began at 12:30 and we were all hot and tired. Instead, we walked through and toured the locations ourselves. The coliseum was fantastic and the stories the guide told intrigued the children. It was definitely a highlight of our trip to Rome. The day got even better when we just happened upon the Trattoria der Pallaro” which was in a quiet square about a block south of Corso Vittorio Emanuelle and down the street Largo de Pallaro. There are no menus. With a fixed price of 20 euros per person, we were served prosciutto, tomatoes, lentils, rice balls, veal cakes, fresh garden beans, pasta arrabiata, veal roast, peach cake and fruit.. wine, water… it was the best meal of the trip! What made it even better were the owners. Paolo and her husband sat with us while we ate, told us stories, asked us about our families, etc… very little Italian spoken but we all communicated just fine. They hugged the kids and we took a photo of our family with them. The whole experience was like sitting around the table in your nonna’s cucina! We then headed over to the Pantheon which unfortunately closed early due to the Rome holiday, the festival of St. Peter and St. Paul. We headed back to the hotel for some rest and respite from the 100 degree heat!

At 7:30 pm when it finally got a bit cooler, we walked to Piazza Navonna and enjoyed watching the different performers in the square. It was just beautiful and know now why it is a “must see”. We then headed two blocks back to a classic pizzeria… red and white tablecloths, pizza, pasta and mostly Italians eating there. It was called “Taverna Parione” on Via di Parione. We were pretty full from our afternoon lunch but still managed to put away salads, a shared pizza and some wine. The service was terrific and the food was good. At the next few tables were large groups of Italian locals including a group of clergymen and large families. We walked back to the hotel and actually put the children to bed before 11:00 pm. My husband and I stayed up, sipping white wine and enjoying the night air from our patio at Hotel Scalinata di Spagna.

Friday, June 30, 2006

For our last day in Rome, we strolled over to the Pantheon and really enjoyed this impressive building. The marble inlay, dome and light were just incredible. We shopped on side streets and found great bargains on leather, shoes and some clothing. We then ventured over to the Trestevere district and happened upon a small trattoria run by three elderly sisters. It was called “da Alfredo e Ada” on Via Banchi Nuovi, 14. The place was extremely small and had maybe six tables and a kitchen the size of a shoe box. Ada came out to see if we would come in and before we could blink, water and white wine was on the table. Next came bread and bowls of pasta with red sauce… just delicious!. Next came out 5 different plates with stuffed veal rolls, calamari, veal medallions, beef pizzaoli and another veal dish… all served with fresh peas and chard. For the first half hour we were the only customers, and the 3 elderly ladies/owners came and sat with us at our table. They didn’t speak English but we managed to talk about where we were from, the kids’ interests, their restaurant and it was wonderful. By this point in our trip, we were getting a good handle on understanding Italian and getting our point across despite errors. Next, they brought out homemade cookies and them more homemade cookies and explained they were made with wine, olive oil, sugar and flour…. Addictive! An accordion player entertained us and a couple got up and began to waltz. We all cheered and giggled as did the three elderly sisters. After hugs, kisses and a great photo, we headed over to the Vatican around 2:00 pm. After waiting in a short line, we learned that the Sistine Chapel was closing in 15 minutes. We were so disappointed but will put it on our list of “must sees” next time we come. We headed back to the hotel for a break from the high 90 degree temps and a much needed shower.

In the evening, we decided to go to est!est!est! known as the oldest pizzeria in Rome. The waiters wanted to ensure that they fed everyone by 9:00 pm so they could watch the world cup soccer match between Italy and Ukraine. The tomato salads and thin crust pizzas were delicious. We then walked back toward our hotel on Piazza di Spagna and stopped at a crowded bar with a tv outside. We stood around and watched the soccer game with locals and tourists and the kids laughed at the local teenage boys chanting and cheering for team Italia. After Italy beat Ukraine 3-0, the entire city of Rome went wild. Our last evening in Rome was certainly memorable. As a side note, Hotel Scalinata di Spagna was jus perfect for us. The location couldn’t be beat, the staff were so helpful and the breakfast buffet each morning was great.

Saturday, July 1

Picked up our car at the parking garage to head to our rented villa on the Sorrento Coast in a village called Massa Lubrense.

Ciao, Lisamarc
lisamarc is offline  
Jul 11th, 2006, 07:19 PM
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Thanks for the report and the names of more small eateries to add to my list. Now, the Campania report please.
Jean is online now  
Jul 12th, 2006, 06:27 AM
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Glad to hear Da Alfredo e Ada is still going strong! Although Alfredo is no longer among us. We were recommended this place several years ago from Scala Reale once when we just wanted something simple. Matt described the fare as Roman comfort food, and I'd agree with that. When we arrived, we got the last free table, which sat four. Shortly afterward, a young Belgian couple were seated with us and the fun began! No menu, but we noticed they seemed to have two main entrees and just brought one of each to each couple. The wine, which apparently comes from a family operation run by the son, flowed freely. I got the impression they fill up the place and then that's it. No, or very little, table turnover. They, like so many restaurants in Italy, don't push you out the door. Indeed, they didn't want to give us the check even after we asked for it, as the Bridge of Angels and Castel Sant'Angelo was just steps away & we were ready to begin our exploration of illuminated nighttime Rome....but Ada had other ideas! So, we stayed awhile longer, drank some more wine & enjoyed the company of our fellow diners before moving on.
eliztrav is offline  
Jul 12th, 2006, 03:54 PM
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loving your report. Brings back memories of our trip at easter. One thing I wish is that we had used a guide for teh forum and colloseum; i think it would greatly have enhanced our experience. Apart from that self guiding was fine. Keep posting!
annhig is online now  
Jul 13th, 2006, 11:50 AM
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eliztrav: The most wonderful parts of our trip were the restaurants and the wonderful conversations that we struck up with owners, patrons, etc. Our children were treated like royalty and they enjoyed the hugs and kisses from all. They lost their Nonna over the winter so it felt warm and comfy. The sights were exciting but it was the "real" things like world cup celebrations, trying new foods, practicing Italian, taking risks and laughing.. alot! I know the kids will remember this always. Best to you, Lisamarc
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Jul 13th, 2006, 12:03 PM
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MissZiegfeld is offline  
Jul 13th, 2006, 12:43 PM
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You had a beautiful time in Rome and your trip report is so lovely to read lisamarc. MassaLubrense, one of my favorite places! I can hardly wait to read about your time there.

And your comments about your childing losing their grandmother (I am sorry) and than receiving so much attention and loving gestures from the older Roman ladies, lovely. Italians do love children. A trip memories are made of.
LoveItaly is offline  
Jul 13th, 2006, 04:06 PM
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Lisamarc-
Continuing to enjoy this trip with you. I will definitely look for Da Alfredo e Ada on our next trip. Also Trattoria del Pallaro. Both sound wonderful!

I'm looking forward to Massa Lubrense since I am not familiar with that part of Italy.

Thanks again -
Linda
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