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Report 1924: Another Attempt at La Dolce Vita!

By Podie from Florida, Spring 2011

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Page 2 of 13: We Can't Get Enough of Rome

photo by Celeste Rubanick

Castel D'Angelo

We broke through the clouds over France to a beautiful sunny day. Our breakfast sandwich and cold banana were edible. My mouth watered at the thought of a cafe macchiato and gelato.

Our plane landed 20 minutes late, at 10:20 am, and pulled up to the gate. It was deserted.

"Well," our pilot said, "apparently no one expected us. Just sit tight and we'll see if we can get someone to hook up the bridge."

Welcome to Italy!

We finally escaped the plane, were waved through Customs, and raced up to the first ATM for 600. Then, before our fellow passengers' luggage even started to arrive, we were out the door. Love those carry-ons!

The driver arranged by our landlady was waiting for us and we stepped out to his Mercedes. After 95 degrees in Florida, the sunny 75 in Rome felt wonderful. We were at our apartment overlooking Campo dei Fiori in less than an hour.

In August 2010 we had rented a two bedroom, two bathroom penthouse apartment overlooking Campo dei Fiori from its owner, Fiora. It was not available this time - nor did we need a place that large - so Fiora rented us her neighbor's apartment in the same building. Since she was managing his rentals, I knew it would be fine.

This one bedroom, one bath apartment was on the second floor overlooking the Campo and had a sitting room which could be converted into a second bedroom. In fact, two twin beds were made up and waiting in that room because our daughter and son-in-law who lived north of Venice were going to spend two nights with us.

We paid the remainder of the rent in cash, placed our complimentary water and wine in the refrigerator, put our clothes away, and headed about 50 yards to Aristocampo for porchetta!

Two porchetta sandwiches, two Peroni beers, and only 17 later, we people watched and grinned at each other. We tore ourselves away to buy a few necessities at the Punto supermarket and then stopped at Bar Farnese for cafe macchiato and cafe americano.

The owner doesn't speak much English, but he applauds my clumsy Italian and we love this place just off the Campo. But it was time for our next Italian staple - gelato!

We walked to Gelateria di Teatro for 9 of heaven. Rich got his customary strawberry and coconut, while I experimented with chocolate d'Avolo wine and Sicilian almond. It was a great combination worth waiting for.

To start working off the calories, we wandered toward Castel D'Angelo, and once we arrived there, we started wandering toward the Vatican. Suddenly Rich, who never forgets a face, was telling a man he looked very familiar, and where could he know him from?

Then I saw a cameraman and heard the man explaining to Rich he had a show on PBS. His name was Ray Suarez. They spoke for a minute on how much they loved Rome, and we moved on. We drank from the fountains and watched tourists buy bottled water. We were all happy.

After wandering past the Vatican we found ourselves back in the Campo and decided to return to the apartment. Rich started watching TV and I fell asleep to the noises on the Campo below.

An hour later we were both ready to eat. Hosteria Farnese, our first choice, was not opening that day. We ended up at Da Baffetto 2, which I had read about many times but never tried. We had a vegetable plate, water, wine, margherita pizza, and penne alla arabbiatta for 35. It was good but not great and I didn't understand what all the hoopla was about.

We strolled through PIazza Navona and enjoyed the wonderful weather. The we headed back to the Campo and watched the magicians, musicians, and mimes from our apartment window. People were pouring into the Campo and it was noisy and full of life.

Sometime around midnight we shut the windows and hoped we would be insulated against the noise and the air conditioning would be cool.

Both our wishes came true.

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