I’m an EasyJet member because the planes are new (Airbus), there’s lots of leg room, and I like their efficient service. For short-haul flights within Europe, I recommend EasyJet. The flight to Rome was about two hours, sunny all the way. During my entire time in Italy I had perfect weather: cool and sunny with a light breeze.
I loved Rome. Three days were not enough, I’ll have to go back and stay longer. I had been to Rome before, but a long time ago. I met up with an office colleague and her friend, so we were three women. They were in another hotel in the Trastevere district. I was more central in a small, family-run hotel called the Hotel Fontanella Borghese. I recommend it and will go back because of its central location, the nice rooms and the helpful staff. (more about the seagulls later …)
We had wanted to avoid this site because we had heard it was overwhelmed with tourists. By mistake we ended up here. This is where Federico Fellini, back in the 60s, filmed La Dolca Vita in which Marcello Mastroianni cavorted with Anita Ekberg in the fountain.
Looking to buy a handbag? You’re in the right place. Italy is handbag heaven. I bought two inexpensive ones. But not an Orciani … too expensive!
This is the post office. It looks like a museum.
So late one afternoon I was strolling down the Via Della Scrofa on my own (a few minutes away from my hotel), when I passed a restaurant called Alfredo. A simple enough name. I kept on walking. But then I saw a plaque on the wall that stopped me dead in my tracks: see below.
I felt an overwhelming sense of déjà vu and I shuddered. Suddenly I was a child again, sitting in this exact restaurant with my mother, my father and my sister eating fettuccine. I recalled the scene perfectly: smiling, platter-carrying waiters; white-clothed tables in a long line; noise and bustle and a party-like atmosphere, and my father speaking Italian with the waiters. I had sat and eaten in this restaurant when I was 12 years old.
My parents took me to Italy when I was a kid. It was magical. We visited Milan, Florence, Rome and Santa Margherita, a small town on the Ligurian coast. I learned how to make fettuccine Alfredo. When we returned to Toronto, I’d make it at home using lots of cream, butter, pepper and grated parmesan. It was the oddest sensation to find myself standing on that sidewalk in front of that place which was entirely unchanged.
I approached the restaurant and saw that it was closed (it was around 5 pm), but there were a few staff members smoking on the sidewalk. I had to see inside. I told them that I had been a girl – una ragazza – when I ate there, twelve years old – dodici anni – and could I please see the inside. They let me in, it’s completely unchanged. I remember so well those long rows of clothed tables. It was a moving experience. After taking a few photos I walked away feeling exalted, but kind of sad at the same time.
Oh, my. Never have I seen so many people eating so much ice cream. But this isn’t ordinary ice cream, this is Italian gelato and in some select emporiums they’ve taken the choice, flavors and quality to new heights. In the evening everyone eats gelato, all ages, sitting or strolling.
Pastries are also sold in the gelato shops.
A few random photos taken in Rome:
Now about those gulls: my hotel room was high up and overlooking the rooftops of the city. As I lay in bed with the window open, I heard the oddest sound: a piercing, screeching, chuckling, gurgling noise (all at the same time.) What the heck? It turned out to be huge gulls that have invaded the city in search of food. They are apparently quite aggressive. Capable of stealing food right out of your hand, they circle the city and swoop down onto garbage bags, street litter, and have even been known to fly into people’s homes and eat food straight from their kitchens. When I mentioned their strange sound to the woman at the reception desk, she said it sounds like they’re killing babies.
Lovely, lovely travel dispatch.
Recalling your childhood restaurant experience is precious.
Leaning waiter and parked scooters – two urban utilities pausing for a moment.
I like your observation, CB. Thanks so much for commenting.
We just love your blog, Juliet, and your endless curiosity and enthusiasm (love your photos too.) Thank you for inspiring us to embark on a train trip around Italy. Keep up the good work!
Thanks for your compliments, Dick and Dan. I’ve always loved Italy … since I was 12 years old! Do make that train trip, you won’t be disappointed.
Love this Rome write up. Italy is so magical and definitely love these gelato 🍧
Yum! Missing it already 🙂
How great that you found that restaurant where you ate with your parents when you were twelve years old.
I know, isn’t that amazing? And I wasn’t looking for it. And it was completely unchanged!