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Report 2013: Two Splendid Weeks in Northern Italy

By Engred from Oregon, Fall 2011

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Page 3 of 14: And More Rome

With another fantastic start to the day with breakfast on the terrace, we were off on a horse-carriage ride through the city on our way to our first stop, a tour of Palazzo Colonna. The Palazzo is so large, it faces Piazza Santi Apostoli on one side and the Quirinal Hill on the other (a little bridge over Via della Pilotta links the palace with the gardens on the hill). While some of the Colonna family lives here, the palace also holds the family picture gallery, open to the public one day a week. Luckily, Guido had arranged a private tour. The rooms were amazing - full of aristocratic grandeur. The Sala Grande is where Audrey Hepburn meets the press in Roman Holiday. It was a delight to see the palace and imagine generations of a family living there.

Leaving the Palazzo, we hopped back in our carriage and rode around the hill and neighborhood, through Piazza Monte Cavallo and past the Quirinale Palace. We stopped at Palazzo Pallavicini to look at the garden (the name makes me hungry for culatello), then traveled down the hill to the newly opened Trajan’s Market. Trajan's Market is a large complex of warehouses, shops and offices where the Romans would gather to purchase goods and conduct business. It was built between 107 and 110 AD by the Emperor Trajan's favorite architect. It is a very interesting archeological sight, with well-preserved buildings (two stories) and underground excavations. From the top floor of the market, you can walk across an ancient Roman road and out to a viewing platform which gives you great views over the complex and across the street to the Forum and Vittorio Emanuelle monument. There is also a great map identifying the different monuments and sites in view. You can really envision Roman life happening in and around the market. Really worth a visit.

Back in the carriage (such a fantastic way to see the city) we made our way to San Pietro in Vincoli to see Michelangelo’s Moses sculpture. The Moses sculpture is part of the tomb of Pope Julius II. It really is an impressive piece of art. On our way to lunch we rode past the Colosseum and Forum. It really is breathtaking to round a corner and up springs the Colosseum!

We bid the carriage arrivaderci when we arrived at our lunch spot, Obika (Piazza di Firenze - near Via dei Prefetti). Obika is a nice modern restaurant, one of a small chain, specializing in mozzarella. We luckily got a table outside and were able to enjoy a nice lunch (mostly) in the shade. We started with a great tasting of buratta, ricotta, buffalo mozzarella from Paestum and smoked mozzarella. Really interesting to taste them one after another. J had a wonderful chilled tomato soup, M had really good prosciutto and I had a huge salad of melon, apple, cheese and rucola (arugula).

Stuffed to the gills, we wandered back to the hotel for a little rest. However, on our way back to the hotel we stopped at the leather workshop of Federico Polidori, Via Pie di Marmo, 7. Really beautiful pieces and I was very lucky that Maryann bought both her and I a purse. Mr. Polidori explained where he gets his leather and how he makes his pieces. There was a gorgeous briefcase in the window that will be mine someday!

Later, Guido met Jules and I and we cabbed it over to Galleria Borghese for our 5:00 appointment. Wow, what a wonderful museum in a wonderful setting. It was really nice because they control the number of people in the museum – advanced reservations are required and you can only be in the museum for a maximum of two hours. This really gives you the room to see the fantastic works of art – both sculpture and paintings. The sculptures of Apollo and Daphne and of Pauline Bonaparte were especially amazing. The history of the Villa Borghese and the collection is an interesting one – much too long for this report but worth reading about. After the museum we strolled through the park and made our way back to the hotel to freshen up for dinner.

Boy we were looking forward to dinner, because we were going to our favorite restaurant in Rome, Roscioli! Loraine and George met us and we had a wonderful dinner at a table in the very back of the restaurant. We started with the caponata (so very good with little vinegar and no peppers), a salami plate that included mortadella with truffles, and the ultimate burrata with semi-dried tomatoes. It is such a fantastic dish that I literally have dreams about it. We followed the antipasti with carbonara, caccio e pepe, tagliatelle with shrimp, swordfish and a plate of smoked salmon. All were voted yummy, but the burrata is a hard act to follow!

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