Thursday, November 17, 2011

Arrivederci to Rome...


Rome, the Eternal City... somehow we became a part of it, or maybe it became a part of us.  What started as different and unfamiliar quickly became comfortable and hard to leave.  Not at all like my home in San Diego, California, Rome is a mix of old and new, modern and ancient.  No where in California do you turn a corner and run smack into a structure over a thousand years old.  No where in San Diego do you walk narrow cobblestoned streets bathed in the glow of golden lamps after sunset.  No where in San Diego do you get food like you do in Rome.

Making the most of our last day in Rome my husband and I rose early, grabbed our "usual" (Italian pastry and cappuccino), and hit the road.  Walking for miles we took in a few remaining tourist attractions that we had missed in our first few days.

Rome is amazingly walkable, though sometimes difficult to navigate.  Street signs are not always posted and alleys turn into roads which change names every so often.  Big enough to get lost in, yet small enough to never really not know where you are, Rome is best seen on foot.

Having checked off the "must sees" on our list, the Colosseum, Roman Forum and the Vatican, we laid out our plan for the day, first stop... the Trevi Fountain to throw the obligatory coin over our shoulders and into the water.  Legend says throwing a coin into the fountain will assure your return to Rome and I wasn't taking any chances.

Inside the Pantheon
Next up, the Pantheon.  Built more than 1800 years ago, the Pantheon, with its thick brick walls and large marble columns is impressive upon sight.  Originally a temple for pagan gods, the structure was converted to a church in 609.  Currently, the Pantheon contains the tomb of my new favorite artist, the amazing Raphael, along with several Italian Kings.

In front of the Pantheon
Open at the top of the large dome (the largest in Italy until 1436 when the larger dome was built in Florence), the oculus provided the only source of light.  Beautiful beyond words, the Pantheon is a sight to behold.

Campo de Fiori
Stopping briefly at the Campo de Fiori, the abundant and brilliant fruits and vegetables had me wishing I was home, or at least in a position to prepare a meal. Fragrant tomatoes and crisp greens lined the tables of the farmer's  market-like event with additional tables laden with spices, pasta and oils, mainly for tourists.

On to the Piazza Navona, a beautiful piazza now filled with peddlers selling all sorts of things.  From paintings to caricature artists to photographers and other items, the square is bustling yet still appealing.  Lined with cafes under pleasant umbrellas, we felt quite a draw to sit and have lunch, however warnings from tour books as well as locals told us that we would be better off choosing an area off of the piazza where we would find better food and at more reasonable prices. 

The Spanish Steps were next on our docket as we made our way back to the hotel.  The direction had us walking through a wonderful shopping district where I could have spent hours leisurely filling an entire extra suitcase should I have had the time.

Spanish Steps
With the day drawing to a close we had time for one more Roman dinner before we bid the city goodbye.  Choosing one of Rich Steves newest recommendations, I Colori del Vino Enoteca, we took one last walk through the street light lit cobblestoned streets.  Mr. Steves summed it up perfectly: 

"I Colori del Vino Enoteca: This modern wine bar – without a tourist in sight – feels like a laboratory of wine appreciation, with woody walls of bottles, a creative menu of cold cuts (meats and cheeses with different regional themes), and a great list of fine wines by the glass. Helpful and English-speaking Marco carries on a long family tradition of celebrating what we know to be the fundamentals of good nutrition: fine wine, cheese, meat, and bread." 

I wholeheartedly concur with Mr. Steves summation and will make I Colori del Vino a must visit whenever I am in Rome.  Marco was indeed inviting as he recommended phenomenal wines from Italian regions, my favorite being the Amarone.  Smooth, silky and full of flavor, Marco made me feel like he picked it specially for me.

Marco pouring my wine!
My salad, simple with spinach, pears, nuts and cheese, was dressed with a delicate olive oil and topped with a sprinkle of salt and pepper while my husbands pasta with shrimp had us both salivating simply from the aroma.


Content from our evening, we made our way back to our hotel by way of the Colosseum, brilliantly lit for the night, and took our final photos of the structure.  Beautiful at night with its golden cast, we stood and simply gazed for our last few moments out in the city.

Rome did indeed become a part of us and leaves one yearning to return.  From the chaotic espresso-like buzz of the bustling city to the relaxing wine with every meal way of life, I get it.  I love it.  I can't wait to return...




13 comments:

  1. My whole ancestory is from Rome, havent made it there yet ... you have just made me want to book a flight, its so gorgeous, your photos made me feel like I need to go soon.. Thanks for sharing glad you had a seemingly marvelous time!

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  2. I love this posting. It reminds me so much of our last trip there...2002...can't believe it was so long ago. I tossed my coin right there also. Must be about time..

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  3. Looks like you had a wonderful time and carried beautiful memories back home

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  4. Your pictures and post are making me have wanderlust! Have a safe trip back!

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  5. These photos are wonderful--and the Italians really do know how to do wine bars, don't they? The food is always light and simple, and complements the wines perfectly.

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  6. I love Rome! Looks like you guys had a great time. I hope to go back one day again soon too!

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  7. What gorgeous pics! Looks like you had a great time! :)

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  8. wow awesome photos, and the foods looks delicious...my husband and I were planning to take a trip this feb 2012 to Rome, as I can see the place is really fantastic

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  9. Hi! I found your blog while looking for interesting ways to package baked goods which is what I searched on google. Then I liked what I saw so much on your blog I decided to save it under favourites and went to the start page of your blog and VOILA...your post about Rome...a city I visited with my family for the first time in October of this year and as you, fell madly in love with. We stayed a week and I wanted to stay for months. Someday maybe I will! Reading your post about the eternal city just made me miss it even more!
    Looking forward to checking out the rest of your blog!
    All the best from an American living in Norway :-)
    Amy :-)

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  10. I have loved all of these posts and your pictures are so wonderful. Thank you for sharing this trip with me.
    Ciao!

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  11. Wow Kim, what a fantastic trip, thank you so much for sharing. We plan to go to Italy in two years for my husbands 50's birthday so I am gathering as much info as I can!

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  12. Oh, what a fabulous recount of your visit! Our hotel was just to the left of the Spanish steps...and we walked nearly everywhere from there! The Pantheon was definitely a favorite spot. Gosh, why didn't I try harder to smuggle myself in your suitcase????

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  13. What does a girl have to do to get invited next time? Looks amazing.
    -GIna-

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