Thursday, 30 October 2014

Marvellous Margutta

Between 30th October - 2nd November the festival of 100 Painters takes place on Via Margutta. The paintings of over 100 artists are displayed at this open air event. Even without the art works this street is an absolute delight.

Via Margutta is an antique lovers paradise but my favourite shop can be found at 53B - La Bottega di Marmoraro. For an unusual souvenir of Rome you can have any sentiment of your choice engraved on a marble slab for around €15. Another memento to take home could be a piece of marble fruit from Maurizio Grossi at number 109

Our favourite restaurant on Via Margutta is Osteria Margutta at number 82. The interior is decorated in rich jewel colours with small paned windows that open up on to the street. There are also tables  on a small terrace outside. Seafood is a speciality on Tuesdays, Fridays and Saturdays but the steaks served here are delicious too.

My choice of where to stay would have to be the Hotel Art at number 56. The entrance sets the standard of what is to come - a minimalist marble lined corridor with lighting designed by Enzo Catellani.

The hotel is housed in a former college and each of the four floors has its own colour scheme.

The Fountain
Designed by Pietro Lombardi, the Fontana degli Artisti is surmounted by a bucket of paintbrushes , representing the artists studios in the street.

Famous Residents
Artists,  composers and writers have all had studios on Via Margutta - Debussy, Liszt, Wagner, Stravinsky, Picasso and Truman Capote. Perhaps the most famous recent resident was  the film director, Federico Fellini, who lived at number 110 with his wife Giuletta Masina.

Via Margutta and the Movies
Woody Allen  used this picturesque street in 'To Rome with Love'

I like to think that he did this in homage to perhaps the most famous film associated with the street  -  'Roman Holiday'. Joe Bradley (Gregory Peck) had his apartment here at number 51 - almost opposite Osteria Margutta, which is another reason for our love of this restaurant!
Incidently, Roman Holiday was shot in 1953 - the same year that the Festival of 100 painters was inaugurated.


Thursday, 9 October 2014

Chocs Away

If you love chocolate (and lets face it most people do!) then the Chocolate Festival taking place in Lazio this weekend  (10th - 12th October) could be the place to go. Castelli di Cioccolato is dedicated to all things chocolate and is held in the town of Marino. However, if you don't wish to venture that far, then your cravings can be well satisfied in Rome itself.

Where better to start than with gelato. There are so many contenders for my favourite chocolate gelato - the dark chocolate with bitter sweet orange from Il Gelato Bistro (pictured above) and the dark chocolate with red wine from Gelateria del Teatro are just two to mention. However my outright winner has to be 'Kentucky' from Fatamorgana - dark chocolate and tobacco! Sensational.

If you would prefer a chocolate cake then head to Valzani in Trastevere where you can buy Sachertorte, a traditional Viennese dessert which harks back to the days of the Austrian domination of Italy.

This quaint old fashioned store also sells a bitter chocolate  and chilli praline called Diavoletti. At Easter time their milk and dark chocolate eggs are beautifully wrapped and each one contains a 'surprise'

Whilst coffee is the predominant flavour in a Pompi Tiramisu, the topping certainly is a chocolate 'hit'.

It is hard to make a choice from the exquisite pastries on display at Cristalli di Zucchero - all miniature delights. Chocolate options include Pear William which contains a white chocolate mousse , chocolate and passion fruit macaroons or tiny profiteroles.

Finally, what better way to end a meal than with a cheeky take on a Ferrero Rocher chocolate as served at Marzapane.

Where do you go for your chocolate fix in Rome?
Fatamorgana - Piazza degli Zingari 5
Il Gelato Bistro, Circonvallazione Trionfale 11/13
Gelateria del Teatro, Via dei Coronari 65
Valzani, Via del Moro 37
Pompi, Via della Croce 82
Cristalli di Zucchero, Via San Teodoro 88
Marzapane, Via Velletri 39