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We Survived Rome Without A Money Belt! Our Week in Rome.

We Survived Rome Without A Money Belt! Our Week in Rome.

Apr 22nd, 2007, 08:04 AM
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how did you decide on the Antica Roma tour with Context Rome? Was this the most highly recommended here or on other guidebooks?

Apr 22nd, 2007, 08:44 AM
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Enjoying your report!
Can't wait to hear more about the food!
Kristina is offline  
Apr 22nd, 2007, 09:26 AM
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I really wanted a guided tour of Anciet Rome because I did not to wander around a bunch of old ruins wondering what I was looking at. No way would I have gotten as much out of those places without a tour guide. I chose Context because of the small tour size and because I've never read anything negative about them. The 4 hour tour was 65 euro per person. Martin was concerned that 4 hours was going to be be way too long, but let me tell you, we could have spent all day with Olivia seeing more and learning more and 4 hours flew by.


I have a thing for water features. Our home has two fountains in the garden and we're always talking about adding more. I loved that in Rome it seemed like wherever you looked there was water flowing out of somewhere! There are spigots coming out of buildings or on the streets with the most delicious water continuously flowing out of them and of course there are the fountains everywhere! We searched out particular fountains and then stumbled upon others that happened to be in our path. Amazing. My two favorites ended up being the Turtle Fountain in tiny Piazza Mattei and one on via Giulia just down from our apartment that is mounted against a wall that consists of a face with a mouth squirting water into a basin that had moss in it that looked like it was several hundred years old. I read about it somewhere, but I can't remember what it is called. Too bad the Four Rivers Fountain was still being worked on. I would like to see it in action some day.

As I mentioned before we walked all over and back again. Some memorable spots are:
Trastevere. We walked through here several times and loved the shops, the REALLY narrow streets and energy.

The Giancolo. We wandered on pathways going up and down. It is a peaceful place with nice viewpoints all over.

The Borghese Gardens. What a wonderful park! The wide gravel lanes framed by the trees and set off by numerous fountains were lovely.

We walked up the Aventine Hill one day on our way over to Testaccio for lunch at Checchino. Our path took us through a lovely quiet neighborhood and past the pretty Santa Sabina church. I regret that we never made it inside this church. The streets and pathways in this area are very cool.

Another big Rave for the Borghese Museum. Wowee zowee! A highpoint for me was Bernini's Rape of Persephone. They looked real. It was remarkable. My favorite thing there though was a rather non-descript painting hanging above one of the gallery doorways. I can't remember who painted it. It is of a young man singing and I can still see it as plan as day in my mind's eye.

I loved the Baths of Caracalla. It is a visually striking place. The day we were there it was almost deserted and after we spent time walking around the ruins, we found a park bench under a tree to sit and rest. It was very quiet and peaceful and is one of my favorite places that we visited.

Other places that we visited that I would recommend are:
The Pantheon (of course) We ended up visiting it several times.
The Spanish Steps (of course) We were there on a Saturday morning early and had the place mostly to oursleves.
Trevi Fountain (of course) It is better a night. Crowded, but fun.
Piazza Navona
Campo dei Fiori
Piazza Farnesse
Theatre of Marcellas
St. Peter's (of course)
Castel San Angelo
St. Peter in Vincoli
San Clemente
Musei Capitolini
Santa Maria Sopra Minerva
...and countless other churches and piazzas.


iamq is offline  
Apr 22nd, 2007, 11:14 AM
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If you love water features you MUST visit the Villa d'Este in Tivoli on your next trip. So many unique fountains, so much water, so many smiles on all the visitor's faces.. you'll be in heaven.

Loving your report. I can't wait to return to Rome.
Dayle is offline  
Apr 22nd, 2007, 12:35 PM
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We loved the food in Rome and ate whatever we wanted, whenever we wanted. We decided to be somewhat adventurous and try some of the "Fifth Quarter" specialities that I have read about and also eat things that we have little chance of getting at home.

I put a lot of time into researching where to eat. There is a ton of information out there, but I must say that this forum provided me with lots of great suggestions.

Once we got settled in our apartment, we made a beeline to Campo dei Fiori for pizza at the Forno there and Porchetta sandwiches at Aristocampo. Yum! We were in Rome and we were eating! I had read that the Porchetta looked dry, but was really moist. It's true!

Our first Gelato experience was underwhelming. We got it at some little place behind the Pantheon. Not good. So we sat down and I pulled out one of my guide books. We were about 100 yards from the Cremaria Monteforte just off the Piazza della Rotunda. We went to it and there we experienced the real thing for the first time! This was the best pistachio gelato we had all week. I really liked this place. We went back only once more because...

We found Giolitti later that day and tried that too. Stops at Giolitti became a daily occurence from that point forward. The riso/chocolate con panna combo was my favorite.

Armando al Pantheon
Our first dinner was here. What a great place to start the week off! The gnocchi with gorgonzola and spaghetti alla gricia was very good. Martin had lamb heart sauteed with artichokes and I had the grilled scamorza with prosciutto (thanks eksckrunchy!). Both were good and unique. We finished the with two slices of a delicious cake that had a berry preserve of some sort spread throughout. It was a great meal, but I kept thinking, "If we eat this way every night, I am gonna be in BIG trouble."

Osteria dell Angelo.
We had lunch here after we spent the morning at St. Peters. Thanks to franco for suggesting it. It is a fun place. They brought out a tuna spread for an appetizer that was delicious on bread. We each had primi courses only. Tonarelli cacio e pepe for me and Martin had rigatoni all'amatriciana. While both were good, the rigatoni was the clear winner. Excellent cafe too.

to be continued...
iamq is offline  
Apr 22nd, 2007, 12:48 PM
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Enjoying your report. The pistachio is also my favorite as well as my husbands. A really good pistachio will have a hint of salt which lingers after the sweet taste. My mouth is watering just thinking about it!!

Sorry to hear that you didn't get to Orvieto but you'll have to make plans to visit Umbria and Tuscany on another trip.
CRAZY4TRAVEL is offline  
Apr 22nd, 2007, 01:31 PM
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Forgot to mention that we ate Blue Ice gelato on a regular basis and liked their stuff too. I'm doing a Pavlov's dog thing here just thinking about this.

Checchino dal 1887.
We had lunch here on our first full day in Rome. Let the fun begin! We started things off with a Zampino (sp) salad. Zampino are veal trotters (hooves?). What was I thinking? The salad was served slightly warm with beans, celery, carrots and onions in a very thin, but tasty broth-like dressing. The trotters were thouroughly cooked and as one would imagine, they were a bit gelatinous and slimy. My texture alarm went off, but I soon found out that if I combined a small bite of zampino with a bite of crunchy carrot or celery,and a bean it was easier to take and actually quite good. Once was definitely enough, however. Next up was the Rigatoni Pajata. The pasta came with the intestines intact in a pile with the pasta surrounding it. We dove in and cut it up into smaller sections and started eating. Very good! Very different, BUT very good! The flavor was slightly tangy, but also sweetish. Think ricotta. The rigatoni of course was delicious and the sauce was tangy and fresh. We finished the meal with coda alla vaccinara (braised ox tail). The meat was semi-stringy, but surprisingly tender considering we are talking about eating part of tail here. The sauce was the thing here, however. It was a very rich, dark, complex, yummy sauce made even more interesting with the addition of raisins and chocolate. We were stuffed and happy! Dui cafes per favore and we were done. It was a fun adventure and I'd go back again. The osso bucco looked good as did the other pasta dishes we saw go by our table.
iamq is offline  
Apr 22nd, 2007, 03:12 PM
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more FOOD

La Tartaruga
We loved this place in the Ghetto. The pastas were by far the best we had of any place we went to and the rest of it was very good as well. Martin had fresh thin pasta with truffles and I had fresh thin pasta with zuccini blossoms. The pasta with truffles was...well...amazing. Generous shavings of black truffles with just the right amount of cheese and pepper. My pasta had this incredible, rich, chicken flavor to the sauce. It was unlike anything I've ever had. The fresh pasta was delicious. For secondi, I had roasted lamb and potatoes and Martin had a very spicy, hot goulash with polenta. Both very delicious, but nothing was going to top the pastas, not even the raspberry tart we had for dessert. The owner waited on us and was very sweet. This would be my first stop for dinner upon returning, no doubt about it.

Alle Fratte
We had an okay meal here, not great, but good. The fresh mozarella was spectacular, but everything else was average at best.

Ristorante Cleto
I had scoped this place out as somewhere to go after our tour of Ancient Rome because it was close to the Colosseum. We asked our guide, Olivia if she had heard of it and she said the her family goes to eat there all the time and recommended it. We started with the house antipasto that was mostly seafood. Octopus, squid mussels and shrimps shared the plate with olives and mushrooms. Not bad. Martin can't remember what he ordered next, but I had ravioli "Sardinian Style". Three large, tender raviloli showed up simply dressed in butter, cheese and sage leaves. The filling was cheese with a very slight hit of fish, anchiovy, maybe? Very, very good. I'd go back.

Trattoria da Giggetto
We wanted to eat fried artichokes, but I was hesitant to go here because it is a big, popular restaurant and I was afraid it was going to be a tourist trap. We went on a Sunday for lunch. It was packed with Romans and tourists alike and we were pleasantly surprised by how delicious the food was. We started with fried artichokes and suppli per telefono. The artichokes were great. Crispy and crunchy, but the real hit were the suppli! Crispy, deep fried rice balls that when cut open oozed mozarella. The rice had mixed up in a tasty tomato sauce before being fied. We could have eaten these all day long. We also ordered fresh mozarella with prosciutto. Both were very good. The cheese was oozy and slightly salty. Delish. Then, Martin had favas with guanciale and I had pasta e ceci. It was a wonderful and satisfying meal made even better as we were sitting outside on a sunny and warm afternoon watching the day unfold. Life is good!

more later...
iamq is offline  
Apr 22nd, 2007, 03:59 PM
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We had our best meal in Rome at the La Tartaruga. I had a mixed crosstini appetizer, the mountain nettle risotto and stuffed veal. The perfect ending was the homemade sorbetto with cookies.
My husband enjoyed his meal but I seemed to be spot on with my choices.

The service was wonderful and we were made to feel so at home there. I'm so glad you also had a positive experience there.
CRAZY4TRAVEL is offline  
Apr 22nd, 2007, 04:01 PM
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Sigh, of Bill your food report is making me so hungry!! Well except for a few items like the hoofs, lol.
LoveItaly is offline  
Apr 22nd, 2007, 04:29 PM
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Del Paino
Excellent thin crust pizza!

This was a last minute decision and it was not a restaurant that I had researched at all. We walked by almost everyday and thought the menu looked interesting so we gave it a try. It was our most expensive meal. (Ouch) They specialize in seafood, so we ordered mostly that. Standouts were the shrimp flavored risotto, the deep fried baby ocotopus, deep fried anchioves, the lobster salad, and the tuna carpaccio.

Breakfast was usually cornettos or other pastries. We liked the things we bought at Roscioli and Antico Forno Campo die Fiori.

That's it for food. There are a few places that we would like to have tried, but we ran out of time. Trattoria Monti, Sora Lella and Ditirambo all went unvisited this time, and I'd like to go back to Osteria del Angelo for dinner.

I'm going to finish this up tomorrow.

iamq is offline  
Apr 22nd, 2007, 04:41 PM
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Great report!! I am headed to Rome in two weeks and I am printing out your raves!

Bill-We lived on Kauai for 6 years, do you think Rome will be a tad different experience, LOL.
vivi is offline  
Apr 22nd, 2007, 05:20 PM
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Just a tad different. Ha! Istead of being woken up by roosters, it was the Vespas.

Have a great trip vivi.

iamq is offline  
Apr 22nd, 2007, 05:21 PM
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I thought I was the only one who craved "Riso" gelato at Giolitti! Just curious, has anyone ever seen this cheerful scooper?

richardab is offline  
Apr 22nd, 2007, 05:23 PM
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Fantastic! Talk amongst yourselves! I've just read myself into a food hangover!
Apr 22nd, 2007, 05:29 PM
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Love your report, the details are just what I need.
ljc4creb is offline  
Apr 22nd, 2007, 05:50 PM
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I forgot to mention that Martin's favorite flavors at Giolitti were crema and zabione. The guy in the picture doesn't look familiar. Our frequent scooper was a big, stern looking fellow, who I suspect was a softy at heart.

Great story about Giolitti. One night I was standing at the counter where the sweets are and a woman walked right into me with her gelato and smushed it all over the sleeve of my shirt. She apologized and then proceded to get a dry napkin and rub it further into my shirt making it worse. I got her to stop and she moved on, but little did I know that woman behind the sweets counter had seen the whole thing happen. Our eyes met and I pointed to the shirt and shrugged. She came from around the counter and dragged me over to a faucet and proceded dab the spot for me with a wet napkin until much of the stain had been lifted. It was so nice of her to do that! I really got to practice my "Grazie" that night on her. I waved to her every other time we were in there and she was working. I love it when stuff like that happens!

iamq is offline  
Apr 22nd, 2007, 06:18 PM
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We, too, loved Blue Ice, especially the one on the west side of Campo dei Fiori (there are 2 just off the Campo).
My favorite flavor was chocolate with nuts, and I still think about it everyday. And I don't even care for ice cream!

Hagan is offline  
Apr 22nd, 2007, 07:32 PM
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Cassata Siciliana

richardab is offline  
Apr 22nd, 2007, 07:36 PM
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Bill, just one overwhelming emotion: ENVY! Seething with envy! I just love love love reading trip reports like this (you should see Hawaiiantraveler's recent report on the Asia board) and at the same time hate it because I so wish I were there!

You know I'd eat all the animal parts. Yum yum. BTW, did the "suppli per telefono" create long cheese strands like telephone wires???
MelissaHI is offline  

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