Saturday, 14 October 2017

Piatto Romano

Piatto Romano has fast become our 'go to' trattoria in Testaccio, not least because of the seasonal vegetable dishes prepared by Andrea.

As you enter the restaurant the raw materials are displayed on a table. On our recent autumn visit funghi & squashes played a leading roll.
Beyond that is the wood burning oven from which emerges the thin crust pizza, slices of which appear as you peruse the menu.

A little further in is the cart on which the finished vegetables are presented.

Andrea's menu has all the Roman classics but we think the trick is to turn the page to the seasonal specials.

On our most recent visit these included Crema di Zucca Mantovani.

Mantovani are the 'King of the Pumpkins', according to Alice Adams, who is somewhat of a pumpkin guru!

Cucuzella are a type of zucchini or courgette that are grown in Southern Italy and are often curious shapes.

Here they are grilled and served with a salsa di Senape, a salsa verde.

The leaves and tender shoots of the cucuzza are known as tenerumi and they are sauteed with olive oil and served as a contorni or side dish.

The funghi made an appearance both as fritti, which went so well with the crema di zucca.....

..... and with pasta

I am admitting to funghi overload but 'tis the season'.

Quite a lot of Andrea's dishes have Southern Italy/Sicilian influences such as Alici Arraganate, a spicy anchovy dish.

Also Filetti di Pesce Spatola Fritti, a long flat silver fish that is filleted then deep fried.

Rachel Roddy serves up a variation on this dish with an almond & breadcrumb crust for Guardian Cook 

Dessert could be home made biscotti to be dunked in vin santo

As an extra treat you may be offered guiggiole with your espresso. These are little fruits that taste of apple and dates.

Even better is the digestif, made by Andrea, maybe from artichokes but my memory is very hazy on that having sampled rather too much of the aforementioned digestif.

The dining room itself is decorated in a sunny yellow and appears popular with local residents. We often see Laura from the spice shop in here.

Do go - you won't be disappointed

Oops! Almost forgot to mention the Olives Ascolane which I have to order here every time.

These crunchy orbs of meat filled olives are excellent here, far superior (and yes I know this is controversial) to those at Trattoria Monti which specialises in dishes from Le Marche region where the recipe originates.

Thursday, 12 October 2017

Arrivederci Roma

Before we leave we can't resist one last sunrise walk through the city.

Today we start at Piazza Barberini......

.... then on to the Trevi Fountain where we throw coins in once again to increase our chances of returning to the Eternal City.

We watch the sun illuminate the towers of Trinita di Monti...

......and also the domes all around the city.

One last look at a practically empty Spanish Steps before we head back to the apartment to pick up luggage and take the train to the airport.

Wednesday, 11 October 2017

Tram ride to Villa Borghese

Another day, another sunrise. This time over Circus Maximus

Then it is off to the Mercato for breakfast pizzette from Artenio and a wander around the stalls that are piled high with autumn produce.

We didn't have to walk far to the Museo della Via Ostiense which is free to enter and is housed within the Porto San Paolo, a gateway in the Aurelian Walls.

Although we didn't see the models of Ostia & Portus that we thought were in this tiny museum we did get great views of the Pyramid & Protestant Cemetery.

Tram number 3 will took us all the way to the Villa Borghese with a close up of the Colosseum on the way. The tram also passes by Parco Celio, the remains of the gladiator training school on Via Labicana, Santa Croce in Gerusaleme,  the aqueduct & Bakers Tomb at Porta Maggiore, Verano Cemetery and then along Via Regina Margherita with impressive turn of the century architecture before skirting the edge of Villa Borghese.
We got off the tram outside the Museum of Modern Art.....

...and made our way to their cafe for our mid morning coffee.

We then enjoyed a stroll around the lovely Borghese Gardens, once the playground of Cardinal Scipione Borghese, whose family emblems of an eagle and a dragon can be seen dotted around the park.

It was a perfect day weatherwise for exploring this lovely park.

We ended our visit at the Museo Carlo Bilotti where thanks to a post from Rome for the Second Time we learned of the exhibition 'Autobiography of the Mother'  a series of works by Silvia Codignola.

After admiring the view from the Pincio.....

 .....we walked down to Piazza del Popolo.

Lunch today was at Retrobottega where we ate last year and, again, we weren't disappointed.

Our passeggiata this evening took us no furher than Piazza Testaccio where we sat by the fountain to watch life go by.

We returned to Nuovo Mondi for a last pizza in Rome then ended the evening with a nightcap at L'Oasi della Birra

Tuesday, 10 October 2017

Two Breakfasts

Another early start this morning, this time to avoid the crowds at St Peter's Basilica.

Exiting Ottavianio metro station we head to Dolce Maniera, the 24 hour bakery, for our first breakfast of espresso & cornetti.

Our getting up so early is rewarded by witnessing the rays of the sun lighting up the facade of St Peters.
Each time we visit we return to the main sights (see here) but we also like to concentrate on the many different monuments inside this magnificent building.
Today we planned on seeing the various tombs of the popes but a lot of areas are roped off so we have to view from a distance.

The Tomb of Clement XIII was designed by Canova

The Tomb of Alexander VII is a late work by Bernini that includes magnificent marble drapery enveloping a skeleton with an hourglass.

The bronze Tomb of Innocent VIII is the only tomb to have been transferred from the original basilica, possibly because the seated effigy of the pope is shown holding in his hand the relic of the sacred lance, given to him by the Sultan Bajazet II

However my favourite monument is that designed by Canova to mark the spot in the grottos below where the three last members of the House of Stuart lie buried.

On the wall opposite, a mosaic portrait of Maria Clementina watches over her husband James Francis Edward Stuart, claimant to the British throne and her sons, Charles Edward (Bonnie Prince Charlie) and Cardinal Henry Stuart.

After leaving the basilica we plan to try a new walking route up to the top of the Janiculum Hill. This starts at Via delle Fornaci, named after the furnaces where the bricks were made for the construction of St Peter's. The walk then continues through the Belvedere Fornaci, a public park maintained by a local group. Unfortunately the gate to this park was locked, resulting in a very hairy uphill climb on a road with no footpath.
However at the top we were rewarded with a view of the facade of Michelangelo's house which we had tried & failed to locate on our last visit.

We continued our walk past Garibaldi.....

.....his wife, Anita

....the lighthouse

and the dome of St Peters peeping through the trees

We paused a while in the tranquil surroundings of the cloisters of Sant'Onofrio....

...before heading down to Piazza della Rovere to pick up the bus back to Testaccio and our second breakfast at Caffe Barberini

After a little wine shopping at Les Vignerons we meet up with Rachel and Vincenzo for lunch at Piatto Romano.

We start our meal with fried funghi and olives Ascolane which go down well with creamed pumpkin.

Followed by three different pasta dishes.

An absolute treat with our after lunch espressos were guiggiole, small fruits that tasted of apple and dates.

These fruits were first imported by the ancient Romans from where they originated in North Africa.

Later in the afternoon we venture out to the Quirinale Hill and the Picasso exhibition at the Scuderie

Time for drinks at The American Bar at the Hotel Forum, a favourite of ours.

The bartender (who seems to have been there forever) mixes a mean negroni

It is a great spot to watch the sunset over the Forum

Before heading back on the metro we can't resist a photo of the iconic Colosseum.

Then it is back to the apartment for a simple supper of breseola, rocket and parmigiano, washed down with a rather nice Sicilian red.