Sometimes you just have to have one of those days.
We have been to Rome several times, but this is the first without the crowds we usually encounter. I was up at 4, my jetlag thing, and so we actually set off for a walk well before 9 am, we seemed to be walking with Romans on their way to work. I am always amused by the young women in skirt suits and high heels on Vespas.
So we encountered no hordes of people at both the Spanish Steps and in the Pantheon, it was amazing. We decided to try and find a restaurant, Il Bacaro,in mid-morning, with the idea of returning for lunch. It is tucked away off a small square between the Pantheon and Piazza Navona; my map was of no use, but David's GPS got us there. It was still only 10ish, so we walked back to our place and had a Prosecco at the wine bar next door, by then it was 11. Prosecco in the morning, well, it is vacation.
Lunch at Il Bacaro was memorable - we each had a pasta dish, David's was orrechiette with pumpking, sage and guanciale, I had one with zucchini, eggplant and ricotta salata. The server brought us each a small tasting plate of the other's pasta, very sweet. We also had salads, one with pear and gorgonzola, another a carpaccio of artichokes and a very nice bottle of pinot grigio from Alto Adige. We finished with Gelato #1 from Giolitti, a place I had not been before. Ah, the summer flavors - peach, blueberry, blackberry.
After all that wine, I was wiped so we went back to our place, where I napped and David went back out for a walk, across the Tiber, just walking. We went out later for dinner, looking for a place on Stella's Rome Restaurant list: Osteria del Galle, which is, as she says, tucked away on a quiet street near Piazza Navona. It was fine, not as good as our lunch at Il Bacaro, maybe in part because I had one of those experiences where what you think you order is not what comes from the kitchen. In my case, what was described as "homemade pasta with tomato sauce and calamari" came in a soup bowl, looking and tasting like an Italian top ramen. David's cacio e pepe was much better, and we had shared a very good caprese and tomato bruschetta. I then ordered a plate of pecorino w/ honey, and it was all fine.
Walking home we passed a bar which was showing a EuroCup game, so we went in, and watched with a glass of wine. When it was over, we realized we were just a block from P. Navona, so we took a stroll around the night life, and yes, that is where we had Gelato #2 - somehow, when the sun is down, I prefer the chocolate and coffee tastes. Gelato really does not taste this good anywhere at home.
Tomorrow we are taking a train to Naples, then having a car take us to Sorrento. We will have one more evening in Rome at the end of our trip, I'm thinking dinner in Trastevere.
Here's a shot from the top of the Spanish Steps - we went up to look at the church.