The beautiful sights of Rome
Recently, I was fortunate to spend seven beautiful days in Rome when my husband and I decided to skip Thanksgiving and go to Rome instead. Rome is an amazing city, a feast for the eyes, the soul—and the stomach. Around every corner there is a piazza with old stucco buildings, churches, ruins that date back hundreds, possibly thousands of years. It is a city made for walking until you have to cross a busy street—then stop dreaming and watch out! You can spend an entire week rushing from any given church, museum or site to another. But be careful in trying to do it all, because if you do so you will never take in the essence and beauty that this town has to offer. Rome is made for walking, so take your most comfortable walking shoes for the cobblestones. When the walking is too much, just take a taxi or public transportation to your next destination, sit down for a cappuccino, have a gelato or an afternoon lunch. My husband and I would pick one tourist destination a day, and for the rest of the day just wander around with a general idea of where we wanted to go. We found some beautiful places when we got lost—and ate some fantastic food. Rome's center is relatively small and easy to navigate.
One day, we took a taxi to the piazza Campo de' Fiori. This place transports you back to a different time were it not for the cars and scooters. In the morning, there is a market where you can explore the sites by walking the small streets full of wonderful shops and buildings. Before Campo de' Fiori (across the Tiber River) is the Jewish ghetto with plenty to see and eat. This time of the year, fried artichokes were served at many of the restaurants. When it comes to local restaurants, I just follow my nose and look at what's going on. I also got some names from internet sites like "Rachel Eats" as well as guide books. However, it was difficult to follow the walks because there are few street signs which makes things are a bit confusing. By wandering around, we found some bakeries, gelato places and eateries. From the piazza de Fiori, we walked along small streets to the piazza Navona, a beautiful oblong square with the Four River Fountain built in Baroque style by Gian Lorenzo Bernini. We got to the piazza just as the last light of the day was shining through the open bell tower, a breath-taking scene. There is a small store selling beautiful decorated notebooks—and don't forget the ice cream! Continue walking and you arrive at the Pantheon, an astonishing building with huge columns and an indoor room with an open ceiling that will take your breath away. This room inspired later domes, including Michelangelo's St. Peter. Around the corner, you will find a restaurant called "Armando al Pantheon,” a family-run trattoria that serves fantastic seasonal Roman food in a warm atmosphere. We had lunch there and the food was outstanding. Another restaurant we liked was "Target.” This restaurant was near our hotel on the Via Torino. I loved their octopus soup, a rich tomato-base soup. In other places, we ate pasta with freshly picked porcini mushrooms. We found as delicatessen where we bought fresh bread, Parma ham and wonderful local cheeses, so we had a picnic. For dessert, we had sweets and gelato. All that walking, I felt that this caloric intake was fully justified.