Day three- Tuesday
Another beautiful day ahead. Started with pastries, mortadello, cheese and cappucino---ahhhh, I am soooo missing all this. Took a taxi back to St.Peters for our scavi tour. I was so excited, I didn't even notice the taxi drive----now THAT is excited!!! I knew that I was going to meet Cinzia, a.k.a. Stettola after the tour so I was really looking forward to the day. We had just talked on the phone the day before and she had informed me that she would not be able to go on the tour. So, off we went to the side of the church and went right in to wait for our allotted time. That was a piece of cake. While waiting a lady approached me and asked if I was Donna--I thought she was the guide, but to my surprise, it was Cinzia!!! They let her come on the tour with us!! I was as excited for her as I was for me, because I knew she had her heart set on seeing this too. It was a wonderful tour---well worth every cent and every bit of nervousness that I hadd previously felt. Our guide was stupendous--Magdelina------she never rushed us and gave us so much information along with a few chuckles. It was truly amazing and I hope that everyone of you who go to Rome get the opportunity to see it. The time went too fast and I wish that I could have lingered longer alone with my thoughts, but otherwise---awesome. After the tour we all walked up to Janiculum hill (although poor Cinzia had been hoping for a bus ride!!-I said ,"Cinzia, we don't use busses; we walk." The look on her face was priceless as she gazed off in the direction of the hill. But she took it in stride and proceeded to give us a good description of all we were about to see. Mi dispiache Cinzia!!!!! You are a very good person!). After the walk , we ended up in Trastevere and stopped at a little place for pizza--I don't remember the name but I think that Cinzia can chime in with that. The pizza was very good--I had some potato pizza which I had never tried--mmmmmmm-- then we walked to the church of Santa Maria de Trastevere. Again--beautiful. We continued to walk through Trastevere, making our way through the Ghetto, Piazza Argentina, Piazza Navonna, Trevi and Spanish Steps, where we had coffe at Tazzo De Oro. Cinzia actually joined me for a cup of cappucino even though it was late in the day--not a very Italian thing to do, but hey--I love cappucino !!! My husband had his best American coffe there. Thank you again Cinzia. Afterwards we walked a bit more and Cinzia had to leave us to make her bus ride home. My hubby and I honestly enjoyed her company so much. She is a remarkable lady--very warm and caring and intelligent and beautiful. She was even kind enough to buy a gift for my new little grandson. Wow. Un abbraccio, Cinzia.
Afterwards, hubby and I continued our walk and had dinner at Fior Fiore. We split an antipasto of buffalo mozarello and prosciutto--hubby had a pizza with braceola,funghi and mozarella and I had spaghetti alla carbonara with water and wine---many toasts to Cinzia and all the forum members. The food was good but not totally a memorable place. Afterwards, we headed back towards the hotel and had gelato at Dagnino near the Piazza Republicca---Soloroma had suggested the cannoli there, but I had to have gelato. It was actually good but not the best value that we found. Hubby again had his predictable chocolate and I had Canoli Siciliana(see--I did kind of have canoli!!) and some kind of nut flavor. Afterwards back to the hotel to call home and get some sleep. Another perfect day in Rome---good food--great company -and many cherished memories to bring home. Allora, buona notte.
Day 4- Wednesday
Ohhhh, to wake up in Rome and throw the doors open to the terrace, the views, the sounds, the sunshine !!!! Then down to breakfast for more pastry and capucino. Heaven. Today we headed towards Campo di Fiore and Piazza Farnese looking through the market and relaxing. No plans, just to wander aimlessly until we found something that caught our eyes. Up to the the Spanish Steps and the church above the steps-Trinita del Monte-a French church. Inside there was a service in progress so we stood to the back and listened to the beautiful singing. Bellissima !!! Out the door, grabbed some water and headed for the Castel St. Angelo. I was very surprised that I enjoyed this so very much. It is a very interesting place and the views from the top will make you whistle. i highly recommend that more people put this on their list. The bridge of course is also very beautiful. Afterwards, continuing our walk, we headed for the area around Ara Pacis and the Augusto Mausoleum. We were 15 minutes too late to get inside !! story of my life!!! But it was interesting just to be there and see it from the outside. We wandered into a church across the street that was very interesting--San Rocco, I think was the name. A very different look from many of the churches but again very beautiful.
Time for dinner!!!! Finally !!! Back to Da Francesco with visions of pasta and prosciutto and melon dancing in my head. Oh, delectable Rome!!! A really nice waiter led us to our table, we of course ordered the prosciutto and melon--one for each of us--hubby followed with spaghetti alla matriciana, veal and potatoes; I followed with spaghetti cacio e pepe(egads what a treat!!!!!!) and of course, water and wine. Toasted all my friends and family again--how does the wine carafe become empty so quickly? Our waiter was absolutely wonderful and I complimented the trattoria highly(and by that point I hope not too loudly!!). Our waiter gave us a gift of two glasses of limoncello. Oh me oh my oh. That is a wonderful product. I didn't NEED it by this point but what could I do?? I sure didn't want to offend him !! So, down the hatch and like magic he re-appeared with a whole container of it!!! Well, we thanked him profusely, finished it off and my husband ALMOST had to carry me home. I am afraid that I don't have any more memories of that night! Buona notte.
Day 5- Thursday
Pastries and cappucino again-yummy. Went looking for churches. We found Santa Maria della Vittoria--well, everyone loves this church and the St. Theresa in Ecstacy is an experience in and of itself. Lordy, how could it be so painfully beautiful !! Next, we went to Santa Susannah, which was much more beautiful than I had thought; then to San Bernardo, and to St. Elisabetta. Walked to the Spanish steps again and peeked in the church again--planned to go to Piazza Poppolo but just not enough time, as we had the Borghese reservations this day. So, onward and upward--a little more upward than I had thought !!! Made it in plenty of time and sat and enjoyed the wonderful park. It is really amazing. Went into the Galleria at our appointed time and again, I was just awestruck. It is beyond my imagination how so many people created so many beautiful pieces of art for us to be able to enjoy. This is definitely worth your time. Afterwards we grabbed some pizza and cokes in the snackbar-and off we went. Our last night in Rome, before heading to Florence. After reading all of this, I bet you are glad to hear that!!!!!LOL !! O.K., where to go for dinner tonight? Well, SPQR knew what he was talking about so, without any hesitation, we traipsed all the way back to Da Francesco !! I could not get enough of this place!!! The same waiter from the previous night met us at the door and suggested that we sit outside near a heater. I wanted to sit inside but he said we would get better service outside. That puzzled me until I figured out that his tables were outside that night . How funny of him !! Oh well, the heater kept me warm-I was in my new favorite restaurant in Rome and it was a starry night. And who said you have to die first before you go to heaven??Wrong!!
O.k., the food was wonderful again. I was informed that this was gnocchi night--!!!!! HOW DID I FORGET THAT IT WAS THURSDAY?? GNOCCHI NIGHT IN ROME!! Well, bring it on, I said but first-prosciutto and melon for me and brascaelo and melon for hubby. Hubby ordered a pizza with tomatoes and ham, but after tasting my gnocchi, well, enough said. Gnocchi is just one of those perfect foods. Our waiter brought us free shiaccatta which I was really grateful for. Delicious! I informed him that I wanted nothing to do with limoncello tonight !!!! So more wine and water and a gloriously divine meal. Regrettably, we walked away from there, knowing that would be our last meal there. Wonderful food and wonderful people. Started walkig and found another church-Santa Maria Maddalena. Another gem. Found a gelateria across the street, Pasqualetti--oh, heavenly stars!!!!, I had fior di latte all'amarena and confetto--to die for. Hubby had tiramisu and cuba rum. Egads-delicious!!! Walked back to hotel. Contented. Satiated. Euphoric. Buona Notte.
Day 6- Friday----
Same for breakfast, nothing could be better. Walked to San Pietro in Vincoli and Santa Prassede--- more than wonderful--more than beautiful--more than awesome. Big demonstration going on around Santa Maria maggiore---HUGE anti-labor rally. Very interesting!!!! Watched for a while and headed back to hotel to catch train to Florence. Arrivederci Roma--that is amore. Always and forever.