Ciao, Roma! It’s been too long.
We had a perfect day to visit our favorite city – it was hot but not sweltering, and a cool breeze competed with the splendid sun, offering us reprieve from the heat.
Via Condotti e Antico Caffè Greco
We took the Metro to Piazza di Spagna, and then worked our way down Via Condotti and Via Borgognona, strade romane dotted with the flagship stores of Italy’s most famous designers. Window shopping for alta moda is hard work, so we took a break and ducked into Antico Caffè Greco, the oldest bar in Rome, for a coffee.
Il Pantheon, Caffe’ Sant’Eustachio ed Enoteca al Parlamento
A trip to Rome’s historical center must include our favorite monument, the Pantheon, a temple originally built in 27-25 B.C. and dedicated to the goddess Olympia. It was as magnificent as always today! A quick stop for pizza al taglio was really just an excuse for another coffee, this time a creamy Gran Caffè from Caffe’ Sant’ Eustachio, arguably the best coffee in Rome. We found Sant’Eustachio surprisingly calm, and were happy to not have to press up against the other Romans and tourists to work out way to the bar. Caffeinated and energized, we headed toward Piazza Navona and came upon Enoteca al Parlamento, a historical wine shop and bar filled from floor to ceiling with dusty bottles of Italian wine (some of it very high quality), along with preserves, spreads, candies and other delicacies.
Piazza Navona e Gelateria del Teatro
After browsing the artist stands and admiring Bernini’s famous fountains in Piazza Navona, we headed down Via dei Coronari toward one of Rome’s best gelaterie, Gelateria del Teatro. This is the epitome of gelato artiginale, hand-crafted, inventive gelato made from all natural ingredients. The Pistacchio and Ricotta, Fico e Mandorle Tostate (Ricotta, Fig and Toasted Almond) cone was spectacular, and we made a mental note to return for Pesca Bianca e Lavanda (White Peach and Lavender).
Il Tevere e la Grattachecca
It didn’t matter that we’d just had gelato. We were really craving a Roman grattachecca, hand-shaved ice drizzled with syrup and adorned with fruit. The grattachecche vendors are typically found along Lungotevere, the road that winds alongside il Tevere, or the Tiber river. As predicted, we came across one at Ponte Umberto I. We chose a black cherry and a mint one, and agreed to bits of fresh coconut on top.
The grattachecche gave us just enough energy to walk back to the Metro at Piazza Barberini and ride home in the cool and fast-travelling underground train…just in time for our nephew Davide’s 3rd birthday party, which lasted well into the night. Stay tuned for birthday parties, Italian style!