Saturday, 9 July 2016

Roman Holiday


b u o n g i o r n o !

I have been willing to write a blog post on my trip to Rome for a couple of weeks but I lived so many experiences and visited so many places there that strangely, I can't seem to manage to break them down into different posts. So grab yourself a ristretto or a squisito macchiato and be ready to peruse what's coming below - I hope you'll enjoy reliving my journey as I set my words down on this page.

I had the chance to hop on a plane from north-east Scotland to the Eternal City to meet my friends Alexia, currently living there, and Fred, who was arriving directly from Budapest (encourage your friends to do their internship in more exotic places than yours, it's always a good idea). We decided to spend a small week together in June to make the most of our lives alongside pizza, gelato and pasta. I was feeling a bit down before leaving and desperately in need of some sun, so all I wanted was to have fun and laugh as much as I could; and it obviously panned out. As soon as I got down the train at Roma Tuscolana from Fiumicino airport, the closest railway station to Alexia's, I knew la dolce vita would be mine for the following days.

t h u r s d a y

Off to a good start then: without Google Maps to help, I first got lost between the station and the flat. I had screenshots of the trail I was supposed to follow but you know, my legendary sense of direction... Anyhow, I couldn't care less and started to dwell on details that I knew I was already in love with - flowers shops, greengrocers, the heady smell of fresh fruits drifting in the street - and finally got there. Alexia's kitchen balcony overlooks a typical Italian courtyard, where I chilled the following morning in the sun - probably my favourite place of the flat. That evening, she cooked us some pasta with passata and certosa cheese, a tasty introduction to the medley of food delights which were to follow the rest of the week.

F r i d a y

After I had stood in the morning sun on the balcony nibbling at a significant amount of abbracci (delicious breakfast biscuits), Alexia and I decided to go for a stroll around the Roman Forum and Piazza del Campidoglio; she promised to take me to the Giardino degli Aranci (Orange Garden) on the Aventine Hill, where an amazing view of the city was awaiting. I would recommend going there as it is not very touristy, and also quite romantic. We crossed the Tevere (Tiber) to arrive in the Trastevere neighbourhood, which is so quaint and typical of Rome and Italy that you really need to pinch yourself to be convinced this place is real. At night, this neighbourhood is really animated and is the perfect place to go out if you fancy a few drinks. 

Back home for lunch at 2.30pm, we passed by a dairy shop and indulged ourselves with Parma ham and a kilo of fresh Mozzarella di Bufala (which came all the way from Naples). I finally discovered that mozzarella actually had a taste. You normally shouldn't put it in the fridge - ever - because that's what provokes the loss of taste; therefore the only place where you can actually enjoy real mozzarella is in Naples and its surroundings! (for your information, we obviously couldn't eat the whole thing in one day). 

Soon, Fred arrived at the flat and whilst Alexia went to attend an afternoon class at uni, Fred and I were off to the Colosseum. We wandered around Piazza Venezia, where the dazzling white Altare della Patria overhangs the whole square. We had a laugh at a street musician which instrument sounded very funny and caught a bus driving us back home. We popped by a greengrocer to treat ourselves with fresh cherries and peaches.

When the evening came, we couldn't wait to try the Roman food specialty: pasta cacio e pepe at one of the best restaurants in town, Da Felice. My dish was artistically jumbled by a very proud chef - that was part of the show I suppose! I normally don't like pepper at all, but I loved the way the cacio e pepe pasta was prepared. The restaurant is always full, so if you'd like to have dinner there, make sure to book a table beforehand!

s a t u r d a y 

On Saturday, Fred and I went up town to visit the Roman Forum in the morning till early afternoon. We were literally mesmerized by this historical place - don't miss it if you visit the city, it is not overrated. Then, we met Alexia for her to be our guide in the historical centre right in the middle of the crowd which gathered near the Fontana di Trevi and by miracle, it didn't even take that long to find each other. L'Antico Forno is the perfect traditional shop to grab a delicious roman bread sandwich with Parma ham and mozzarella (Fred had a different cheese in hers but I have no idea how it was called) for 2,50€. Although it is located right on the piazza, tourists seem hesitant to go in - a good reason to give it a try!

We had a stroll around from the Pantheon to Piazza Navona, one of my favourite places in Rome to enjoy a fior di latte gelato (before it starts melting down quick as flash. I literally had to run to take a single instagramable shot of the cone with a shallow Piazza Navona in the background). We started to feel a bit shattered by all the walking, so we quickly headed towards a café lost in a quaint back alley, and fuel myself up with a macchiato. Although Alexia and Fred couldn't care less, I loved wandering around Piazza de Spagna and its luxury neighbourhood (I couldn't even explain why). Shame that the steps were closed for refurbishment. At night, we went back to Trastevere to enjoy the night and sip a few cocktails; and you know what they say, what happens in Rome stays in Rome, doesn't it?

s u n d a y

After a chilled morning, we took the tube to Vatican City and its Piazza San Pietro. This part of the city is not very large and is easily visited in a couple of hours, although obviously if you wish to stop and enter the main attractions like the Vatican museums, it can take up to hours and hours. This time, the outside view of the basilica was enough to leave us speechless and soon we headed east to admire Castel Sant’Angelo, coming across gelato-eating nuns on the way. 

At around 3pm, we strolled all the way to a Neapolitan restaurant Alexia kept praising, the Splendor Parthenopes, to treat ourselves with a really nice pizza but unfortunately that specific day, the restaurant was closed in the afternoon. We waited hours for the right bus to pick us up and by 5pm, we were home and enjoying Alexia’s pasta alla norma to make up for lunch – when temperatures are high and you find yourself in one of the most beautiful cities in the world, you can’t hear your stomach rumble anyway.

By 6pm, we were downstairs at a local terrace enjoying a crema di caffe, and by 6.30pm at Piazza del Poppolo and the Pincho, which also offers a great view of the city and the piazza before your eyes. After a while (I had no idea what time it was), we decided to get back to the restaurant. We were slightly full but wanted to try it so badly! And in the end, we were so right to go: I loved the atmosphere inside as well as the classy old school decoration, and the food was just one of the best culinary experiences of my life. I first went for a cocktail named Profumo di Sorrento on recommendation of the waiter. Although I can’t remember what was in it, it was the perfect combination to my taste (which I’ve got to say, rarely happens when it comes to cocktails), plus they came with an assortment of delicacies we loved nibbling at! We ordered two pizzas which we shared: margherita and mulignana. The latter is without any exaggeration the best I have ever tried, so make sure you have some if you have to chance to visit Rome. I think the special recipe with aubergine made the case for something I had never tried before but still, I could tell how perfect it was.

m o n d a y 

We woke up early to have breakfast at the local caffè. I eventually had my beloved café macchiato (by the way, the only macchiato that tends to be more or less similar to what you can find in Italy in the UK is Caffè Nero’s) and a specialty from Turin called Gianduia, an Italian version of the French patisserie chausson aux pommes (apple turnover) with no apple but hazelnut cream inside (which possibly makes it ten times better). Fred left for the airport and Alexia for work; as for me, I went back to Alexia’s to chill out for a couple of hours and then decided to visit the basilica San Pietro (Vatican City). I didn’t queue as much as I expected, so the view was worth the short wait!

As it was my last afternoon in Roma, I decided to make the most of it and walk my way to Piazza de Spagna (the Spanish steps where Audrey Hepburn famously licks an ice-cream in Roman Holiday) for the following hour. I treated myself with another Roman bread sandwich from the Foro near the Trevi Fountain, and wandered freely through the narrow Italian streets of the capital with a touristic map in hand as I aimed to reach the church of Santa Maria de Maggiore.


I left Rome the following morning in a wistful and grateful mood; still, not sad, as my getaway in the Eternal City turned out to be a way of making me feel alive again. I find myself feeling this way after every trip I undertake, however this one was truly unique. Only one other city in the world has had this effect on me; I can’t wait to fly away to Rome again, and I really hope you do too.
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12 comments

  1. Loved reading this Margaux <3 now all I want is to watch Roman Holiday hahaha! Sounded like you had a fab time eating all the super great food - when I went it was a bit of a hassle finding somewhere good to dine because it was so crowded and they never had any tables! Loved the Roman forums and ruins though, best ever!

    Cherie | sinonym

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    1. Thanks Cherie ❤️ I really had the best food ever, plus Italian cuisine has always been my favourite so! And unfortunately for tourists, the best restaurants tourists are not aware of are usually full. You'll know these next time you go :)

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  2. First off, I absolutely love all of these photos- you've really captured Rome perfectly and every image makes me want to go back so badly!

    Sounds like you had an amazing time and now I'm really craving some mozarella from Naples.

    www.thesundaymode.blogspot.com.au

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    1. Thank you so much :) if you're visiting Europe one day, you have to pop by Rome. And I'm sure you will!

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  3. Rome is on my must go list! The pictures are all gorgeous! Thanks for sharing.

    http://www.nourishyourglow.com

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    1. Thanks Hayley :) it really is a gorgeous city!

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  4. What an absolutely beautiful recap of the trip, I would love to visit as well. I love the clean, bright style of your photography & your writing is lovely too! xx Adaleta Avdic

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    1. Thank you so much Adaleta, it means a lot ♡ I'm glad people actually take some time to read my adventures, and feel like visiting Rome afterwards! x

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  5. Your trip sounded amazing. Your photos and vivid descriptions are incredible. I cannot wait to go on my own Roman Holiday one day. xx

    www.travellingtabletales.com

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    1. Thank you so much Elizabeth :)!! I hope you book a trip there asap x

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  6. ahhh reading your post made me want to visit Rome even more! You took such beautiful pictures there!!! (insert heart eyes emoji) oh and I have a no sense of direction as well - so I feel you girl haha! x

    Flora
    http://www.mademoiselleworld.com

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    1. Thank you so much Flora, that's the point you need to go there asap (and take me with you if possible, I want to go back there so badly) ! x

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