Monuments and monumental jet lag...
Rome Travel Blog› entry 1 of 16 › view all entries
January 2nd, 2012 – by: puttyland
We only have 4 days here, so I wanted to push through the sleepiness for as long as possible. We took the Leonardo Express train to Roma Termini Station, and found our way to the metro to get to our hotel, Re di Roma.
We came upon the old city walls, walked through the arches and saw this gorgeous cathedral, so we headed towards it. But then we saw a bunch of tents for what looked like the remnants of a Christmas market, so we went in searching for a food.
The rest of the market had dried sausages to taste (boar, venison...) and cheese (fantastic pecorino and other sheep's and goat's milk cheeses), and some delicious black and white truffle spreads. Now THAT's how to start out a trip.
After our snack, we went into the church, learning that it's the Basilica of St. John Lateran, or "The Pope's Cathedral"--sort of the Vatican before there was a Vatican.
We headed back to the hotel, checked in, took showers and then grabbed the metro to Piazza Barberini to go check out the Trevi Fountain and grab some lunch. The fountain was jammed with people, almost all of them in puffy coats, like pretty much everyone in Rome. Seriously, Morgan and I are probably the only 2 people in Rome without a puffy coat. The Roman women under 50 all have the same outfit on: skinny jeans, winter boots (Uggs or the like), and a puffy coat.
We asked several shopkeepers where the restaurant was, they all cheerfully gave us directions, and they were all way wrong. We were getting hungry and frustrated. Morgan finally found the tiny street on the map, and we made it just before lunch service ended at 3pm. Not a cheap meal, but an excellent locals place (no English menu, although the waiters jumped into English after hearing my very rusty Italian). We had the specialties of the house: Spaghetti Al Moro (a perfect Spaghetti Carbonara, which they say they invented here), the fried artichokes (which are really done confit style - cooked slowly until tender in oil, but not crispy-fried) and the milk-fed lamb cacciatore, which had a delicious gravy with the perfect amount of heat, and a huge bread basket to sop up all the gravy.
We felt a bit restored after that and wandered through the Centro Storico (the historical center). It had been gray and drizzly all day, but just then, the sun came out and all the ochre-colored buildings turned this bright gorgeous yellow and we ran up the steps of the Vittorio Emmanual Monument (Romans call it the "Typewriter" or the "Wedding Cake" because of its shape - it's a huge white columned confection in the middle of the city), and took some pix from the birds' eye view. Coming around the back of the moument, we wandered by the Forum and then --ta-da!-- the Colosseum, just as the sun was going down for a gorgeous sunset. We bought some roasted chestnuts from a street vendor and wandered around the ruins.
We attempted to walk back to our hotel, but got lost, and said screw it, let's take the metro back.
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