Wednesday, April 20, 2016

To Rome, with Love (pt. 2)

All roads lead to Rome they say (and when you are in Rome it's impossible to not think of all of the Rome quotes) but somehow, in our family journey, all roads have led back to Rome time and time again. Even when I say goodbye for what I feel might be the last time...I am suddenly back and enveloped by the familiar cobblestone streets, the Stone Pines, the cactus growing out of the side of a building. And then you turn a corner to the Pantheon - one of the oldest buildings from Ancient Rome built just after Christ's birth. Being in Rome makes me feel insignificant. It takes the ego out of me which is oddly comforting and humbling for some reason. It is odd that we never really know when it will be the last time and I do not take for granted one moment I have to spend there. 

I first took Michael to Rome in 2007. This was technically our last big hurrah after leaving Brooklyn and moving to California (and then having Elodie a year later.) We had spent three weeks in Spain and then took a cheap flight to Rome. Michael fell in love with the city and the food. It's pretty amazing that we both ended up loving the same city so much. He could have been a die hard fan of Berlin or something (which is a great city but I don't really have an affinity for it the same way I do Rome.) I remember turning the corner and him seeing the Trevi fountain. I love seeing things as if for the first time through my loved one's eyes. 

At any rate, I found myself in Rome. I had almost no time to think or plan for this trip and, apart from a few restaurant recommendations, vowed to let myself be led by my nose. Even if you make no plans, you are bound to end up stumbling across The Palatine Hill or the Trevi fountain. It's impossible to not see a whole lot if you wander around Rome. 

The first day we found ourselves in one of my favorite areas in Central Rome near to Piazza Navona. There is so much to see and do in this area and I always like to duck off and wander the streets around Via dei Coronari. There are loads of great antique and vintage shops and restaurants off Via dei Banchi Nuovi (which turns into Via del Governo Vecchio) and then if you continue across the main Corso Vittorio Emanuele II to Via del Pellegrino and then on to the Campo de' Fiori. 

We came to Rome because Michael was hosting a fantastic photography conference called Way Up North which traditionally takes place in Stockholm, Sweden. They decided to host one in Southern Europe and chose Rome. I wanted to attend a few of the presentations but ended up sleeping in late and spending time walking around the city. We were able to have dinner with friends a few nights and I even had time to pop up to Florence to see my friend Jora (I'll try to post photos from that lovely day soon.) In the early evening I would head back to write and rest before joining Michael and our friends for dinner. 

Our first evening we arrived super late and were lucky enough to get a table at Da Armando al Pantheon. We were sitting next to some Italian officials who had brought a lucite pyramid with a piece of the moon in it. They were drinking wine and handling the pyramid with surgical gloves. It was so strange to be on the same square as the 129 AD Pantheon with a group of Italians that had a moon rock that was probably thousands of years older than even that building. 

Another favorite place we share is the Villa Borghese Gardens. On our last visit we visited the Villa and then hung around the park for a few hours. This time, we rented bikes and cruised around. It was Sunday so there were so many people just lazing about or playing soccer with their kids. I dream about this place. It has my favorite tree in the world (the Stone Pine) and is a place I meditate on often. I couldn't help but wish the girls were with me as there are so many fun things for children to do at this park. I told the girls all about the playground and the puppet show. I can't wait to take them.

The next day I walked from Sant' Eustachio where I had an espresso to Trastevere. Yes, I know that it is a bit touristy but it is on a stunning square and I always like to stop in. Heading towards Trastevere, I stopped for some amazing pizza to-go at Roscioli Forno near Campo de' Fiori. Normally you pay for your food/drink first and then give the ticket to the server but in this instance they have to weigh your pizza so choose it first and then pay. 

Speaking of Roscioli Forno, we also ate dinner at the Salumeria Roscioli which was wonderful and well worth making a reservation. The wine list is insane and the sommelier brought us a wine from Southern Italy that he described as from a salty beach. I fell in love instantly and was able to order some to bring home with me. In general, I loved Katie Parla's Rome food recommendations and found her blog to be quite helpful. 

If you aren't staying in the Trastevere area than I highly recommend that you at least visit it for lunch or dinner. All the really amazing, innovative food seems to be happening outside of the Centro Storico in Testaccio and Trastevere (and probably elsewhere to but I only had four days so forgive me.) I spent time with lunch and a book at Da Enzo al 29 and then headed back across the Tiber river and had gelato at Tiberino.

Nights were filled with walks to the Colosseum and aperitifs with friends. We wondered the streets into the wee hours and really tried to soak it all up. 

There are so many places in the world I want to visit but I secretly hope that I find myself back here, sooner than later, with the girls. I took a piece of amethyst that I have been carrying around these last few months and chucked it into a secret spot at the Roman Forum. I watched a mother and her teenage daughter pause for a moment to look at their map and orient themselves and I just can't help but hope that I get a chance to do that with Elodie and Francesca when they are older. Maybe, since things rarely change in Rome, my little amethyst will be there waiting for us. 

1 comment:

  1. j'aime Rome tout autant et je suis toujours impatiente d'y revenir. merci pour le voyage !