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Report 1176: September Song: High Notes of a Few Precious Days in Italy

By Roz from Massachusetts, Fall 2006

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Page 13 of 16: To Rome, via L'Ombricolo: On the Road Again

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Letizia, our hostess, flanked by the fidanzati, at the Villa Ortensia

As we packed up the car on our last morning at the villa, Letizia, who is quite a talented artist, stopped by to give us farewell hugs and a beautiful parting gift of one of her little framed paintings. We were heading to Rome for a few days, and planned to stop off en route for lunch with our friend Dawne, who runs our favorite B&B, L'Ombricolo (see Resources).

A long "coda" on the A1 at Firenze stopped us dead, so we opted to take the scenic route south through Greve and Chianti country. I don't think it really saved us any time, but at least we enjoyed some beautiful views. We had a lovely luxurious lunch with Dawne on her patio, and promised to return for a longer visit next year.

In Rome we had booked an apartment for the four of us at Via Merulana, 215 (#239 from the Roman Reference agency). We had been surprised, when we started looking for accommodations in April, to find that so many places were booked solid already for October. So we thought ourselves pretty lucky to find a short-term rental in a good location for a reasonable price -- €800 for five nights. The apartment was spacious, albeit a bit spartan. After Villa Ortensia, it was sort of like coming from a palace to a dormitory. The apartment had three bedrooms but no living room, and two bathrooms but only one bathtub/shower. The other bathroom had a toilet plus washing machine. It was perfectly livable, but the only place we could all sit down was around the kitchen table. Still, of course there is so much to do in Rome that you don't spend a lot of time sitting around your apartment, and it worked out fine for us. And we really did like the neighborhood, on a shady street between Santa Maria Maggiore and the Colosseum. Within easy walking distance along via Merulana we had three of the essentials of life:

  • Panella, an out-of-this-world bakery for morning coffee enhanced with a scrumptious dollop of sweetened cream (sort of a zabaglione), along with deliciously artistic pastries.
  • Pizzeria Tempio di Mecenate, where we could relax on a terrace off the main street and enjoy a huge variety of reasonably priced pizzas.
  • Ornelli, an excellent gelateria with three of my favorite flavors -- dark chocolate, pear, and coconut.

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