How strange it was. It took almost two days of touring the ancient city to finally feel like we have arrived! It may be that there is not a singular site that defines Roma for us. Finally today after eating at a small restaurant where everyone spoke Italian did we finally feel like we are in Rome.
We had a lazy day in our apartment in Voorshoten. We did a bit of cleaning before the owner Nina arrive to inspect the apartment and finalize the bill. I had an 18 € phone bill. All the surfing. :) She gave us a ride to Schiphol. It was an easy check in and we had a chance to pickup some chocolate (Leonidas of course) before leaving. The flight was fine although it was filled with Dutch high school kids on a trip to Rome. They were so loud!
We were picked up by Maximillian for a quick trip into Rome. We were introduced to the type of driving done in Rome; often he flashed his headlights to get the slower cars to pull over and often straddled the white line.
About 35 minutes later, we arrived at our apartment. Natalia met us at the door and showed us up to the first floor. Our new home for a week; Colosseum View 1 from Dolce Roma. It was much larger than we expected and very tastefully decorated. She even had painted the walls. We also met her husband Walter. She took time to tell us what to see and recommend several places for dinner. What is best about the apartment is how well stocked it is with items to make the stay more comfortable. Amble plush large towels, everything you need for breakfast including coffee and milk and other little touches like hairdryer.
It was time for dinner so we make a short walk down the street to Trattoria Luzzo. They had a section setup outside under cover and heated and we decided to spend our first dinner outside. It was enjoyable and not too expensive. We split an antipasto mixta. I had spaghetti all'amatriciana and E had roasted veal. We split a insalada mixta. Of course, we also had a bottle of Chianti red wine. At the table next to us were another American couple. They had tiramisu and I couldn't resist and order it also. Total bill was 29 €
A good night sleep and up for our first chore. After coffee, we made a trip to the local supermarket Dia a Dia for eggs, snacks, and water. Back to the apartment and the hunt for a cash machine. The first one did not work but I finally found one. It was noon and time for lunch. We made a quick trip around the outside of the Colosseum before going to Cafe Cafe, a wine bar. We each had a salad and a glass of wine. My salad was a mixture of Breaola, arugula, buffalo mozzerella and pear. E's salad was Prosciutto, arugula, cheese, mushrooms and walnuts.
We headed out to tour the Colosseum. Such an amazing building. I really wanted the sound track to Gladiator to walk along the aisles. It wasn't too crowded. Next we headed out to the Palatine. It was sunny but the wind was very cold and strong. Neither of us had bundled up expecting it to be warmer. But it was almost as cold as Amsterdam. We later saw on the TV that the temperatures were 6 degrees below normal and on Sunday the temperature had dropped 7 degrees in one day. Just our luck. From here we headed to the forum. We struggled to read sections from the guide book with our numb hands in the wind. We left to see a view point and the forum closed so we did not get to finish our visit. Oh well another day.
We went back to the apartment after making a quick stop at the grocery store for a bottle of wine and a couple more cheeses. We warmed up with some Scilian wine and cheese. About 8:30 we mosied out for dinner. We choose a restaurant closer by, Hosteria Isidoro. This was not as good as the night before and was geared at tourists. It was a disapointment. We split an antipasti. E had chicken gorgonzola and I had lamb spedini. We both had mixed salads with walnuts. And a liter of the house wine. It was 37€. They tried to charge us for a tiramisu that we didn't eat. Fortunately, we noticed it.
Today was church day. We walked to Santa Maria Maggiori. It was an interesting church with some facinating mosaics. Several inlaid with gold. We completely forgot to bring binoculars so we couldn't see the details. We did get to see a relic - A holy crib.
From here we walked up by Termini to find the wine store Il Trimani. It had a wonderful selection of wines. The prices did not look extremely good. Several wines that I recognized were priced similar to Seattle once I took the 30% euro conversion into factor. But there were several nice Chianti. E picked up a price list of the Barolos.
It was time for lunch so we walked back down Via Cavour and turned on a side street to locate La Carbonara. It was mentioned on a list given to us by Natalia. It has been in existence since 1906 and made fresh pasta. We split a carciofi alla giudia (deep fried artichoke) which was really yummy. A great mixture of nutty flavor with salt. I had to have pasta and ordered Spaghetti alla carbonara. What else could I order! E had a plate of straccetti (thin sliced beef) sauted with onions, herbs and carciofi (artichokes).
We wanted to go back and finish the forum so we headed to Piazza Venezia. We got distracted by Trajans forum and column. I think it is finally starting to hit me that I am looking at 2000 year old works. The column is in wonderful condition for the age and has some stellar carvings. We also meandered through the forum and Augustus's Foro. By now, it had started to sprinkle. I didn't have a raincoat or umbrella this time so we started back around the Colosseum and back to the apartment. By time we got to our street, we remembered that St Clement church was along the way and we dropped in to warm up and dry off.
There are the remains of three places of worship on the site. One pagan from the 1st century, built on top of this in the 4th century is a church to St. Clements with some interesting frescos. Above that built around the 12th century (?) is the most recent. I loved the frescos and painting in the alter. This was the most interesting church this far. It was very cool in the lowest level where the pagan worship was done and the 1st century roman condos. We kept thinking that 2000 years ago people walked the same paths and lived there.
Now we feel like we are in Rome!