Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Some of my Favorites from Rome

During my four weeks in Rome our group visited the top tourist sights, but it was nearly impossible to see everything in such a large, culturally and historically rich city. Whenever we had free time, my classmates and I would wonder around the city. We would return to streets we had passed by in class or find places we read about. Sometimes our best adventures where when we had no plan at all. One night my roommates discovered an evening market along Tiber River, so the next night I went back with them to do some shopping and watch the sunset. For one month each summer the market is set up and runs down a few miles of the river. Outdoor restaurants with live music are places between shops selling jewelry, hand made trinkets, and antiques. It was a great place to spend the evening.
            Another one of my favorite places to walk around at night was the Camp di Fiori and Piazza Navona neighborhoods. These two neighborhoods sit next to each other just across the river from the Vatican, so they were in walking distance from our apartment. The actual square of Piazza Navona is filled with artists and musicians at night. It gets very crowded when the weather is nice (which is almost every night) but it is definitely worth visiting at least once. The surroundings neighborhoods became my favorite due to the narrow winding cobble stone streets filled with small boutiques, restaurants, and cafes. Everything is filled with tourists in Rome in the summer, but these neighborhoods felt authentic and had a charm that I missed in some other neighborhoods. This area is the best place to go if you want to find a great restaurant without doing a lot of research. One night while walking down Via del Governo Vecchio my roommate and I stumbled into a restaurant solely because there was no line and we were starving. The restaurant is called Da Tonino. It was very plain with minimal décor. At first I was expecting another tourist trap meal that I could find back in America but as soon as I saw the menu my expectations increased. I have found that when a restaurant has a small menu it usually means that every dish is great so there is no need for endless choices. This was exactly the case and Da Tonino turned out to be one of my favorite restaurants. The food was simple, authentic, and inexpensive! I got pasta carbonara, my roommate got pasta with pesto, and we shared their specialty, which was a plate with two meatballs. Everything was delicious! Even though we were full from dinner we could not resist returning to our favorite Gelato place in Rome, which I later found to be my favorite Gelato place in all of Italy. For two euro you can choose up to three flavors of gelato and top if off with the best homemade whipped cream. Old Bridge Gelateria is located right off of Piazza del Risorgimento across from the Vatican wall. My roommates and I went there too many times to say. We were lucky that it was only a five-minute walk from our apartment, but I would travel all the way across Rome to go there. It is a must for any dessert lover!
Amazing Gelato from Old Bridge

Authentic Italian meal at Da Tonino

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