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Rome/Naples Dec 2003 Archives

December 23, 2003

Rome Fashion Notes - How to Tie Your Winter Scarf

Some people say that I never notice fashion. And that is true. But this time I am noticing how Italians tie their winter scarves. From my week of observing, in Rome and Naples, I would say 50% of the population tie their scarf as follows.

1. Take one long rectangular scarf and fold in half so the length is half what it was to start.
2. Wrap this half scarf around your neck so both ends hang down in front.
3. In front put the two loose ends through the loop of the folded end.
4. Tighten up to your neck.

This produces a very neat looking scarf that does not have long ends that blow in the wind and has two layers at the neck to keep you warm.

I am wearing my scarf like this - but I will not be wearing those very pointy shoes.

Cane Travel - This is recommended

The bad news: I hurt my back before this trip and it got worse on the trip (but is getting better now).

The good news: I have learned about traveling with a cane (bastone in Italian).

We left Santa Fe on Monday, December 15. The flight went well and I made sure to walk on the plane during the flight from Albuquerque to Atlanta. On the Atlanta to Rome flight I thought I would just recline the Business Elite seat and that would be good enough. It wasn't.

The plane hit bad turbulance over the Atlantic (which I think is typical this time of year) and neither of us slept much. It was really bouncing around. We both have those BOSE headphones which make flying much easier - they cut out that loud rumbling background noise. On other flights, these headphones have enabled us to sleep more than usual. Not this flight.

Got into Rome and my back was hurting. Took a taxi to the Hotel Del Senato. I had booked one night, but paid 50% for the night before so we would be able to go to our room immediately. My reward for this extra payment was one of the best rooms in the hotel - a double on the sixth floor, the one at the end of the hall (603), with big french doors to a small balcony and a perfect view of the Pantheon. You could almost touch it.

All the rooms on the sixth floor have small balconies and look out to the Pantheon, but this room is furthest away and gives you the best view. The room was very small (especially after out very large room in September at Hotel Farnese) but after an hour you were used to it. Wood floors, fabric covered walls, nice bathroom, comfortable bedroom. As everyone on SlowTrav says, it is a 3 star price with 4 star quality and a great location.

As we always do, we slept most of the day from 11am to 4pm. I have never met anyone except Steve who agrees with this approach to jetlag, but it works for us. It had been a nice sunny day, but was turning cold and dark when we got up. Went for a walk - my back was hurting.

Met our friends who are giving us their apartment, took most of our luggage and left it there, got our instructions, went out for a lovely dinner (Ditarambo near Campo dei Fiori - we were there once before in September - excellent). Back to the hotel and slept through the night.

Up the next morning and to the breakfast room, out for a walk, coffee at Tazzo d'Oro, checked out and took a train and one suitcase to the train station. We met Stephanie and Cesare (our friends who live in Rome - I met Stephanie through the message board) to take the 12:45 Eurostar to Naples. It was delayed until 1:15. We had second class seats - comfortable - 44 Euro each return. About a two hour ride. I spent part of the ride standing the bar car to give my back a rest from sitting (sitting is the worst thing for it).

Arrived in Naples!! Taxi to Stephanie and Cesare's hotel and then to ours (we booked at different times, so were not able to coordinate to stay in the same hotel, but theirs was only a 10 minute walk from ours). The taxi driver must have figured we got rid of the Italians and now he just had the Americans to deal with and even though the meter said 8 Euro and the charge is 50 cents per bag (there were 3), he told Steve the fare was 15 and when Steve gave him a 20 Euro note, would not give change. He was furious with Steve for asking for change - but did give it eventually. Welcome to Naples!! This was our only bad experience (except for my back).

I had booked the Grand Hotel Parkers (5 stars!! only our second 5 star hotel in Europe). I got a very good rate of 205 Euro per night. It is not listed on Venere (I always use the SlowTrav clickthru for Venere to book hotels :) ), so I looked it up on Orbitx and Expedia, then wrote to the hotel quoting the price I could get that way (the hotel web site had much higher prices) and they offered me the same price booking with them. I faxed them my credit card number and was booked.

The hotel sits on a busy street, half way up the hill from the sea to the Vomare neighborhood. The lobby is all marble and fabulous. The breakfast room is on the sixth floor with huge windows and sweeping views over the Bay of Naples to Capri, the Sorrento Penninsula, Vesuvius and to the main part of Naples. Our room was on the second floor with a small balcony and a beautiful view.

We rested (to allow my back to recover), then met S and C and walked along very crowded streets to the city center. Everyone was out Christmas shopping. On Via Toledo the crowds were shoulder to shoulder. We walked around, Cesare asked some local guy for a restaurant recommendation, we check it out and then a couple from the guidebook (Eyewitness) but settled on the one the local guy recommended. Had a simple dinner of pasta and contorni (vegetable sidedish). I was going to take a taxi back to the hotel, but we decided to walk. Mistake number 235 in this whole back thing.

We knew we had to cut back our Naples plans because of my back (no trip to Sorrento for the webcam) but the main thing I wanted to see was the Archeological Museum so we went there Thursday. We met S and C at their hotel then took the subway to the museum. Spent two hours doing the museum shuffle (mistake number 236). The Ancient Rome things were wonderful - statues, mosaics, frescoes from Pompei and Herculeneum. Okay, the frescoes have not been available for two years (being restored) but should be available for viewing in 6 more months. But the mosaics were worth the trip. Incredible color and detail. Astonishing that we humans were creating this type of art over 2000 years ago. It seems like we lost something and did not recover it again until the 1500s.

The museum holds things found in the Pompei and Herculeneum ruins - frozen in time because of being covered in volcanic ash after the eruption of Vesuvius. It is too bad all these things could not be displayed in the actual places - but I guess that would not work.

C asked the people working at the museum about a place for lunch and we went to it (this is a great way of finding restaurants). It was a small place in a basement. We all had gnocchi and contorni. After lunch, C left us to visit a friend and Stephanie, Steve and I went out to explore the old neighborhood, see some churches and find the street where they make all the Christmas things. Mistake number 236 - and this was the big one - I tripped. Tripped on the uneven street and felt something really pull in my back.

The streets in Naples, in the old section, are narrow and the cars whiz by. There is a lot of garbage on the streets and piled along the curbs. The buildings are not renovated and look like chunks could fall off at any time. The streets are so narrow that it feels like sunshine has never hit them - you can feel the cold coming off the stone buildings. There are people everywhere. Not the beautiful well-to-do people that you see in Rome, but more "regular" folks. I loved Naples. I pronounced myself ready for Sicily. They say if you do not like Rome, then do not go south because you will really not like it. I say, if you like Naples, you will like Sicily, but this might not be true because I have not been to Sicily.

We walked along the street where they sell the Christmas stuff - packed with people and all junk for sale!! Looked like that cheap stuff you get from China (you know, the stuff no one needs). Little figures for your Christmas Crib or some Christmas scene - each shop selling the exact same stuff. Shop after shop. Ugh!

I have heard all about the pickpockets and theives in Naples, but we did not have any problems. I tried not to look like I had mobility problems - if they sensed weakness I thought they might strip me clean and leave me standing there naked. As it was, Stephanie pointed out how she could take my change purse without me noticing :) .

Back started seizing up. Really hurting. We headed for a taxi to get back to the hotel, leaving Stephanie on her own with the guidebook (she had a good time exploring). First we found a farmacia (pharmacy) and bought Celebrex - prescription in the US but over the counter in Italy. I am not really sure what it is for (need to look at their website) but our friend in Rome said I should take it for my back. Normally we take no drugs (legal or illegal) except maybe an aspirin in times of dire need (I had been taking Motrin for my back) and Steve was not happy that I was doing this, but he was not living with this pain. So we got them.

The traffic in Naples was very thick. The taxi driver said it was all the Christmas shoppers. We got back to the hotel and rested. Went for a lovely dinner with S and C at a place just a block from the hotel. One block and 80 steps down. Steps were starting to be something I noticed.

After dinner, I stood up but couldn't. I had to walk across the room sort of hunched over. I figured all the people were watching thinking "look at that fat American". They were probably thinking, "that poor woman has hurt her back." My smile was starting to feel forced. We cancelled all plans with S and C for Friday and decided to have a day off.

On Friday we had breakfast in the room (one of the great thing about 5 star hotels - room service) so I could stay lying down. We finally went out at about 1pm and took a taxi up to the top of the hill, to the neighborhood Vomare. I had big plans - churches, museums, the funicular back to town, walking. We got out of the cab, walked two blocks at a snails pace, had a fabulous pizza and barely made it back to a cab and the hotel. The rest of the day was one of the worst days I have had in a long time. Worse than any from my year of back pain when I first really screwed up my back when I was 25.

At the peak I was lying in bed, going into pain spasms if I even moved, and planning my evacuation by military helicopter. Here I was in horrible pain, not at home, but in Naples - oh yes. Steve was a saint, almost carrying me to the bathtub so I could soak in hot water, going tou to the pharmacy to try to get stronger pain killers and a heating pad (unsuccessful on both - they gave him these medicated strips for my back which started a rythemical intense spasm every 60 seconds). My backup plan was a car a driver to get us back to Rome.

The next morning I was still really bad but S and C appeared with a heating pad, a cane and appples (I had not been eating). Between them and Steve we got me into a cab (horrible - all the cabs in Naples are falling apart and have no suspension and the roads have many potholes), to the train station and onto the train. I stood for about half the ride. We got to Rome. C said "aren't you happy to be in Rome". "Yes" I said, but I whispered to Stephanie, "but I wish I were in Santa Fe."

We took at taxi to our lovely apartment, Steve went out for groceries and some deli food and we commenced the real resting to get my back better.

So now it is Tuesday. We have been in Italy for a week. I am walking, but with a cane. The pain is subsiding. I feel like the vacation is just starting.

Pauline's New Year's Resolutions:
1. Lose that 20 pounds that I gained in the mid-90s during our Seattle disaster.
2. Stretching exercises EVERY DAY!!
3. No more 16 hour days at the computer - speaking of which, I have been sitting too long and must sign off. But I am so happy that I am able to sit and use the computer and walk and put on my socks myself!!

I guess I will write about Cane Travel later - but just let me say - having a cane in Rome is excellent!!

December 27, 2003

A Week in Rome

Today we have been here a week! I got a book yesterday about the main piazzas in Rome.

From the book "Views of Rome Piazzas Across the Centuries" by Alberto Lombardo, 2002.

Piazza di San Pietro: In front of St. Peters in Vatican City.
Piazza di San Marco:
Piazza del Campidoglio: In front of the Capitoline museum, designed by Michealangelo.
Piazza della Rotunda: In front of the Pantheon.
Piazza della Minerva: In front of Santa Maria Sopra Minerva. Contains an obelisk on top of a statue accredited to Bernini.
Piazza Collana:
Piazza di Montecitorio:
Piazza del Popolo: At the start of the shopping steet Via del Corso. Contains an obelisk.
Piazza Navona: In the heart of Rome, contains a fountain by Bernini among other things.
Piazza di Pasquino: One block from Piazza Navona, contains the famous "talking" statue (where people post political notes).
Piazza Farnese:
Piazza Campo de'Fiori:
Piazza di Spagna: Also called Piazza della Trinita dei Monte. The Spanish Steps.
Piazza del Quirinale:
Piazza Barberini: Fountain by Bernini.
Piazza di Santa Maria Maggiore: Also called Piazza Esquilino. In front of the church Santa Maria Maggiore.
Piazza San Giovani in Laterano:
Piazza Mattei:
Piazza di Santa Maria in Trastevere: In front of the church Santa Maria in Trastevere.
Piazza di San Bartolomeo all'Isola:
Piazza della Pace

I was thinking it would be fun to visit them all in one day and take photos of each one.

RESTAURANT REVIEW: Rome - Trastevere - Checco er Carettiere

Something strange is going on with SlowTalk these days and I cannot login to submit my restaurant review, so I will post it here and copy it over later.

Checco er Carettiere, Via Benedetta, 10, just off Piazza Trilussa in Trastevere
This restaurant is at the edge of Trastevere, just across the river from the Campo dei Fiori area. It was recommended by Dean (message board moderator), in Maureen Fant's book "Trattorias in Rome, Florence and Venice" and in Time Out Rome Eating and Drinking. Steve, Pauline and Colleen also recommend it!

Today was cold but bright and sunny. We explored Trastevere and stopped for lunch at Checco er Carettiere. The restaurant was easy to find. You go in through a couple of rooms to a large, bright room at the back. There were lots of people having lunch. The ceilings were covered with hanging braids of garlic and the walls covered in photos of people from the 60s (one book said this was a popular Roman restaurant with the movie set at that time). It reminded me of a traditional Jewish restaurant - with many great standards on the menu and good service and a bit old-fashioned.

There were no vegetarian primo selections (nor secondo), but they offered to make me either noodles in tomato sauce or with artichokes.

I started with an excellent vegetable antipasto - one of the best I have ever had. Warm vegetables, not the usual cold. Colleen had Tortolini in Brodo and Steve had Egg Soup (called Stracciatelle). Both liked their soup. Next, I had the vegetarian pasta with artichoke - excellent. Steve and Colleen both had fish (sole) which is delivered to the table and boned before being served. We shared a Roman style artichoke (boiled) and a Jewish style artichoke (fried). Both were good, but the Jewish style was rich because of the oil. We finished with one piece of rich cake (huge portion) and coffee. A small carafe of house wine and water. Total 116.50 Euro. The pasta was 12 Euro, vegetable antipasto 12 Euro.

We really enjoyed our meal and the lively atmosphere.

See our photos of this meal.

December 29, 2003

Guardian Unlimited | Special reports | The best of British blogging

Guardian Unlimited | Special reports | The best of British blogging

December 31, 2003

End of Year Posting

December 31 2003 - New Years Eve in Rome!

It is just after 6pm and we have heard several bangs already (gunshots or fireworks!). Rebecca and Maureen spent the night here last night, so we all got together in the morning for coffee and panetone. Stephanie came over too. Rebecca left at 11, Stephanie too, so the remaining four of us walked in the rain exploring Campo dei Fiori, Via Giulia and then had coffee on Piazza Navona.

Maureen headed off for the train and we had a wonderful lunch out at Armando del Pantheon right beside the Pantheon - bruschetta, perfect vegetable soup, spaghetti with cheese and pepper (not expensive), then found the Rome webcam and stood in front of it for awhile, walked around the Spanish Steps (counted them - 132), went to the Anglo-American Bookstore and then to Lion Bookstore (Lion was closed), made it up to Piazza del Popolo when my back started to hurt and we were all really tired. Colleen, Steve and I hopped into a taxi, Stephanie walked home.

Tonight Stephanie and Cesare are going to an outdoor concert then will come over to our apartment so we can watch the fireworks from the balcony.

We are being slowed down by my back pain but are having a lovely time. BUT I would not recommend spending Christmas in Rome. It is unbelievably crowded! More people on the streets and in the restaurants than when we have been here in September. I think lots of Italians come into Rome for the holidays - it does not seem full of tourists, be we do see other tourists.

Many restaurants are closed for the whole Christmas/New Years time. Nearly all restaurants were closed December 25 and 26. New Years Eve is mostly set (expensive) menus. You have to reserve restaurants even for lunch.

And the weather has alternated between very cold and constant rain.

There are lots of Christmas events, but we have been too tired in the evening to go to them. Many are concerts in churches and you would end up standing because of the crowds. Piazza Navona is crowded with people and a Christmas Market has been set up - but is just booth after booth of junk and some fun looking carnival games things. I did manage to purchase a Roma football scarf.

My point is that I had romanticized "Christmas in Rome". I had pictured bright sunny, but cold, days. Empty piazzas, empty galleries. But it isn't like that. Colleen left early one morning to see the Vatican Galleries but even at 9am the line was huge, so she gave up.

We love traveling with Colleen - she travels just like us (but is a big more organized, which is good) - and she does start her day before us (but who doesn't?) I think this may be the first of many trips together. We are all sitting in our living room wondering, can you phone out for gelato?

Happy New Year!!

Trip is extended to January 6

We were scheduled to go home on New Years Day - tomorrow!! But Colleen doesn't leave until the 5th and our friends who have this apartment are coming back later than originally planned, so we changed our flight back. Now we fly home Tuesday, January 6th. We tried to fly back on the same day as Colleen, but there were no business elite upgrades available - but there were for the next day. This gives us five extra days.

January 2, 2004

Does the Tartufo Bianco wear no clothes?

As in the emporer is wearing no clothes?

We just had lunch out at Da Fortunato - an excellent restaurant near the Pantheon (recommended by Martin of www.villasitalia.com and we have eaten there before) - and I spent 35 Euro (what is that now, $200?) on pasta with white truffles - and they really had no taste! I have had black truffles on pasta before (this is what I end up eating every meal out in Umbria) and know that taste. I thought the white truffle was supposed to be even more strong of a taste.

The noodles were with butter and then they grated the white truffle onto the pasta - they did this in front of us.

Also, it isn't white - but light brown!

Here is the photo showing the fresh truffle being grated on the pasta.

For dessert, we had "Gelato affogato al caffe" (gelato drowned in coffee - you can also get it drowned in whiskey).

Weather, weather, weather

Am I in Rome or has my life reverted and I am living in Vancouver again? We arrived on December 16 and had about five wonderful days of cold and sun. Unfortunately that was when my back was at its worst and we did not get out that much. Then in turned really cold and windy!! The wind was so strong that, in the night, it blew open many of the windows in this huge apartment we are in and we had to run around at 2am closing windows. The apartment was freezing. It stayed cold and windy for several days.

Then it warmed up and started to rain. I think it was nice on Christmas, the day Colleen arrived, but since then it has rained most days. Usually a grey drizzle, like I remember from our years in Vancouver. Overcast days where you always feel sleepy - noon feels like dusk. Sometimes heavy rain.

New Year's day was lovely - not so cold and sunny!! I thought I should take back what I blogged about this not being a good time of year in Rome. But today, rain.

Colleen went to Florence for the day. She got to the train station at 9am and all the trains to Florence were sold out until 1pm!! We figured she did not need to reserve ahead because the Eurostar runs every hour, even every half hour in the morning.

We set out to finally walk the seven hills, but then the rain started and we went for lunch instead. We could have done the walk, but it would not have been fun. Instead we are in the apartment (which really is beautiful) and having an afternoon off.

My back is much better, but I am reluctant to give up the cane. I love this cane! People keep their distance and do not crowd you. They open doors for me and step aside. At crosswalks, I stand there with the cane and glare at the cars and they stop!! They I make sure to limp a little, so they know it was justified. I used it once to push away a very agressive flower seller. I use it to point at things. I use it to tap Steve on the shoulder or in the butt. When I get tired out from all the walking (at that horrible shopper's shuffle pace because nearly every street and piazza are packed with people) I use it to help me walk or to lean against while standing. I use it to help me get up after sitting through a long meal.

Can you take a cane on the airplane with you? We will find out on Tuesday.

A good way of judging restaurant prices and some vegetarian notes

R.G.Diamond taught me this - compare the basic pasta prices. In Rome, a well priced restaurant will have spaghetti al pomodoro for 6 Euro. An expensive restaurant will have it for over 10 Euro. This is a quick way to judge what the price of a meal at a restaurant will be.

Some begetarian pasta dishes in Rome:
- Spaghetti aglio, olio e peperoncino - pasta with garlic, oil and hot peppers. A good simple dish. Steve frequently orders this. It is not very hot. Served with cheese on the side, so good if you want to avoid dairy.
- Spaghetti cacio e pepe - pasta with grated cheese and pepper. This seems to be a classic Roman dish and is very good, but rich if you are not used to eating much cheese.
- Spaghetti al pomodoro - pasta with tomato sauce. The standard simple pasta dish. Served with cheese on the side, so good if you want to avoid dairy.

We always find zuppa di verdura (vegetable soup) on the menus. Sometimes there are several other vegetarian soups - chickpea soup, farro soup, etc.

We have not seen many vegetarian secondo (unless it is grilled cheese), but you can make a good meal with two primi.

January 4, 2004

Pizza last night and an overdose of cigarette smoke

Da Francesco, Piazza del Fico, 29 (just past Caffe della Pace), open for lunch and dinner (closed Tuesday lunch), get there at 7pm for dinner, no reservations taken (expect to wait)

This is another famous pizza place in the historic center. We have been to Da Baffetto several times and love it, but thought we would try this other one (not listed in the DK guide but higly recommended in the TimeOut guide - "accept no imitations: Da Francesco is the original Centro Storico pizzeria"). We arrived on a Saturday night at 8pm. There was a moderate sized group of people waiting. We tracked down the main guy and got our name on a list. He said "20 minutes to half an hour". It turned out to be 1 hour and 20 minutes standing outside in an increasing crowd in the freezing cold. There were five of us.

We finally got inside. Our waiter was perhaps Sylvester Stallone's son - he was the spitting image of Stallone from the first Rocky movie. The restaurant is one room packed with tables and one very small room off to the side. We were in the main room. Steve's generously took the seat out in the aisle so was constantly being bumped against by waiters and people walking around. I got the self serve antipasto and it was excellent. You go over to an antipasto bar, get a plate and select from about 15 cooked vegetables and another 15 pickled ones. The potatoes, zuchinni, radicchio, porcini, and baked onions were wonderful. Everyone else at the table got bruschetta which was also good.

I got a pizza with cheese, mushrooms, one small artichoke and half a hard boiled egg on it. It had a special name and Steph said that it is a common type. The menu had the name of the pizza, but the ingredients were listed in English and German. I asked Steph why they were not listed in Italian and she said everyone would know what was on that type of pizza. Three of us had pizza; Steve and Cesare had pasta. The food was great. Colleen and I shared a half bottle of red wine which was called "Montepulciano" but turned out to be from Abruzzo! I guess Montepulciano is now a type of wine.

So, too long of a wait but a good meal. BUT the smoke and the noise!! The table of four young guys beside us never stopped smoking. Clouds of smoke drifted from them to our table. It wasn't just them - everyone seemed to be smoking. We all woke up the next day with sore throats and clothes that stunk. Because of this, I can only recommend this restaurant if you are a smoker and even then be sure to get there early.

Interesting menu translation Italian to English

On the Da Francesco menu:
Gnocchi fatti a mano (solo il giovedi) translates to Dumpling facts by hand (Thursday).

(Several menus offer gnocchi on Thursdays only.)

The Bruschetta was Rossa o Bianca (with tomatoes or plain).

Rome Shops List

This will go on the web site, but for now I will make my notes here.

BOOKSHOPS
The Lion Bookshop & Cafe, Via dei Greci 33/36 (near Piazza dei Spagna)
www.thelionbookshop.com
Excellent bookshop with books in English - novels, books about Italy, travel books, big picture books for Italy, magazines.

Anglo American Book Co., Via della Vite, 102 (near Piazza dei Spagna)
www.aab.it
Good selection of books in English, some books on Italy. I like the Lion Bookshop better.

...to be continued

Rome Restaurant Notes

These will be submitted as reviews or put on the web site.

Renato e Luisa, Via dei Barbieri, 25, tel:06-6869-660, dinner only, closed Monday, reservations recommended
Located just off Largo Argentina.
Small restaurant with an interesting menu. R.G. recommends it and we are going for dinner tonight. They said they have fish every night and there are a few vegetarian offerings for secondo. Full report to come!!

Ditirambo, Piazza della Cancelleria, 74 (near Campo dei Fiori), tel:06-687-1626
Small restaurant with innovative dishes. We have eaten here twice - September 2003 and December 2003. Both times the meals were very good. Many vegetarian selections, organic ingrediants, but also good meat dishes. We had a wonderful dessert that was fruit gelato inside the frozen version of the fruit. Looks like it is open for lunch and dinner Tuesday - Sunday, dinner only Monday.

Steve had chick pea and mullet soup, I had pumpkin ravioli (both were very good). Steve had fish (which he thought was dry), I had sformato (baked vegetable dish - great).

Il Gonfalone, Via del Gonfalone 7 (off Via Giulia), tel:06-6880-1269
We had our small GTG dinner here and were the only table in the restaurant the day after Christmas. The restaurant is cosy with a big fireplace and the fire was going. The food was good, but in my mind it was more "fancy restaurant" than Roman food. It felt like a good restaurant in any city - the US or Europe. When in Rome, I like places that are less innovative and more regular Italian (but that is just me).

Ristorante S. Eustachio, Piazza dei Caprettari, 63 (beside Piazza Sant'Eustachio), tel:06-686-1616
Excellent restaurant in the historic center near the Pantheon. We have eaten here twice before (recommended by Bill Sutherland) and ate here twice over Christmas 2003. Expensive. Good pasta selection, fish dishes, soups. One of our meals was 72 Euro for two for lunch. (Pasta dish was 8 Euro, fish dish 28 Euro.)

Pizzeria Da Baffetto, Via del Governo Vecchio, 114, closed Sunday, tel:06-6861617, but don't bother calling, get there early to line up
Still my favorite pizza in Rome. We had our larger GTG here (Carmel actually managed to reserve us a table!). Excellent selection of simple and perfect pizzas. Good antipasto to start. I love the zuchinni pizza, Steve the onion.

Buon Sapore, Chinese Restaurant, Via della Palombella 34-35 (behind the Pantheon)
Not recommended. The rice was cold and mushy. Other dishes were okay. It was inexpensive. There are better Chinese restaurants in Rome.

Naples Restaurant Notes

These will be submitted as reviews or put on the web site.

Vadinchenia, Via Pontano 21 (off Via Crispi), tel:081-660-265
www.vadinchenia.it
This restaurant is very close to the Grand Hotel Parker's - cross the main street then go down the 80 steps towards Via Crispi and the restaurant is at the bottom of the steps.
Recommended in the DK guide. It doesn't look like a restaurant from the outside and you have to buzz to get it, but the food was great. Steve had a tradional fish dish - branzino acqua pazza - fish from a lake cooked in the "crazy water" style. He thought the dish was great. I had a very good pasta and stuffed vegetables - also good. The restaurant is bright and spacious, modern looking, good service. Recommended.

Bellini, Via Costantinopoli, 79/80, tel:081-459774
Just behind Piazza Dante on Via Toledo. Restaurant and pizzeria.
We found this by asking a guy on the street for a recommendation, but later saw it was in our DK guide. We had excellent pasta dishes, but there was also fish and pizza.

A few restaurants recommended by a friend of Cesare's, but we did not get to try them:
La Bersagliera (Borgo Marinari Santa Lucia)
Dora (Vico Palasciano after the Grand Bar Riviera)
Ettore (Santa Lucia - pizza)
Rosiello (Capo Posillipo)
Da Tonino (Vicino Arfe)

Rome Tourist Notes

Pickup the small TV-Guide size magazine "Roma Ce" at any newstand (1 Euro) for a list of the weekly events (in Italian) - cinema, music, theater, local events.
www.romace.it

The magazine "Rome Where" is available in most hotels, but we only saw it in the Lion Bookshop (because we were not staying in a hotel). It is free and has current events listed.

Tourist offices are located in round green "booths" at most major sites. Pickup the excellent brochures - they have "art trails" for Michelangelo, Bernini, Raphael, Caravaggio, and Borromini in English. Also brochures about piazzas, fountains, monuments, gardens, palaces, and churches. Don't expect the people who work there to help you - they barely took a break in their conversation with each other to point at the brochures (located in an awkward corner behind the door) and tell me to take them (and were pretty put out when I asked for them to hand me one that I could not reach).

Roma Tour, a spiral bound map of Rome available at newsstands, is the best map.

I found a brochure on Taxis at the Borghese Museum - explains how all the charges work. I am going to make a page about Rome taxis.

Rome Shops List

Food Stores
Volpetti, Via Marmorata, 47 in Testacchio and Via della Scrofa, 31 (in historic center).
Deli and food shop with lots of cheese, olives, wine, olive oil, bread, etc. Also a Tavola Calda (prepared hot foods that you can take home). You can order a complete meal to take home. The one in Testaccio is the main shop and the largest. The Via Scrofa one is smaller, but still very good.

Chocolate/Candy Stores
Gelateria della Palma, Via della maddalena 20-23, two blocks from the Pantheon.
I don't like the gelato here, but they have the best candy store! Take a bag from the stack and fill it with candies that they weigh for you (I don't think you can mix the types of candies). My favorites were by Feletti (Bon Bon Pera Ricoperto di Cioccolato - hard candies that are a chewy chocolate around a fruit center) and the chocolate covered Rum truffle type thing.

Confetteria Moriondo & Gariglio, Via del Pie di Marmo, 21-22, tel:06-6990-856
Supposed to be an excellent chocolate store. I hope to report more later.

Natural Foods
Biofood, Via di S. Francesco a Ripa. Good selection of grains, food products, produce.

January 5, 2004

We leave Rome in the morning

It is Monday night and we are packing up to leave. Thanks to everyone who came to visit us - Maureen, Rebecca, Carmel, Tony - and Stephanie and Cesare who spent many days and evenings with us. The trouble with having friends in another country is that it makes you sad to leave.

Colleen went home this morning. We had a great time traveling with her - we have the same travel "attitude" and like to do the same kinds of things, so it worked well the three of us doing things together.

There were other people that I wanted to try getting together with while we were here, but I was really slowed down by this back thing and we were pretty busy all the time because there is just so much to see and do in Rome. Now we need a vacation from our vacation (good thing we are spending February in Hawaii).

BUT, I am happy to be heading home. I am always happy to be leaving for a trip and always happy at the end to be heading home - to the cats and my kitchen and my office and all the home things you miss when away (and straight to my chiropractor!!). And, now that this trip is over, I can really start planning our possible two months in England in August - October!!

Bye from Rome!!

About Rome/Naples Dec 2003

This page contains an archive of all entries posted to Pauline's Slow Travels in the Rome/Naples Dec 2003 category. They are listed from oldest to newest.

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