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Report 1924: Another Attempt at La Dolce Vita!

By Podie from Florida, Spring 2011

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Page 4 of 13: Trajan's Market, Colosseum, and Great Food

photo by Celeste Rubanick

Looking Through a Colosseum Archway

I didn't sleep well but still heard Bar Farnese calling me at 7:20am. Or maybe that was Rich, who was dying for coffee but hadn't remembered to buy it at Punto the other day!

We went to Bar Farnese for coffee and cornetti and were then joined by the kids so we had more. It was a nice, relaxing time but eventually we got up and went over to watch the cats at Largo Argentina before heading to the Pantheon. Then, of course, it was time for gelato.

I wanted a granita from Tazza D'Oro but it was jammed, so I settled for coffee gelato at Giolitti. This was the second time I'd been there and it's good but I prefer Gelateria di Teatro or San Crispino.

Jean asked about the pizza from Roscioli Bakery that I'd raved about in 2006 so we walked over there, and didn't see a "pizza rosso" on the counter. My daughter asked about pizza margherita and they looked confused, then he realized what we wanted and took a three foot long pizza rosso out of the oven and slapped it down on the counter.

We all said, "Ahhhhhhhhhhh" at the same time and everyone laughed. Fortified with pizza and beer, we returned to the apartment to eat and take a short nap.

At 1:45 we left for the ruins of Trajan's Market, which were awesome! And it seemed we were just about the only people there! It was a high point of the trip, but then we went on to the next, heavily anticipated high point: The hypogeum and third level of the Coloseeum!

Thanks to SlowTrav, I'd read about the special tour and bought tickets as soon as they came available. We were scheduled for the 4:20 tour and arrived early so we sat outside for about 20 minutes.

At the Metro station in front of the Colosseum, a huge crowd of Italian teenage girls chanted, "Justin Bieber, Justin Bieber!" and screamed. I have no idea if Justin Bieber was there, but the girls were quite entertaining.

There were 25 people on our tour and we were the only tour at that time, so we had plenty of room to spread out and take pictures. It was absolutely amazing. We could just imagine the adrenaline rush of the gladiators as they waited to rush through the tunnel onto the floor of the Colosseum.

Then we worked our way up to the third level, which was an incredible view on yet another gorgeous day in Rome. A cool breeze blew and it was a great experience.

We took a taxi back to the apartment, and as we got out of the car, no one noticed our small Canon camera dropped on the ground. No one, that is, except the young Italian man who picked it up and ran after us to return the camera! What a delightful surprise to have a complete stranger go to that much trouble to return our camera!

At 7:30 we walked the 50 yards or so to Hosteria Farnese for our dinner at a table on the cobblestones out front. Son Luca waited on us and was charming. He and Jean discussed antipasti and our meal ended up being water and wine (of course!), salumi plate, caprese, brasaola with cheese and arugula, ravioli, gnocchi, roast chicken for Rich, a wonderful filet mignon for Jean, four tiramisu, and a most generous quartet of grappa for 160.

It was our special dinner in Rome, and it was worth every penny. What a wonderful meal!

The kids went back to the apartment while we walked around the Campo and Rich somehow ate gelato from Blue Ice, a chain that's decent. Many were wearing the pink and black colors of Palermo which had won a big soccer match (I assume) because they were all chanting and laughing.

As usual, the Police were there and I watched them have friendly little talks with the street performers who had no permits. Some got to stay and some didn't, but it's amazing how no one ever looks up to see who may be watching them!

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