Sunday, 8 June 2014

Amici Tours

Today we are welcoming our friends to Rome and looking forward to showing them the sights  for the next three days. We need to shop for lunch and, thanks to Gina, we know exactly where to go. First stop the Esquiline Market where we spend all of €3 & come away with a couple of bags full of beautifully fresh produce.
We hop on the metro all the way over to Ottaviano where we get our coffee fix at Sciascia (my absolute favourite place for coffee).

Next stop is  Bonci for bread. Gina has told us that the porchetta here is THE best so obviously we just have to sample some - breakfast!! We also pick up bread for lunch.
Shopping is not a chore when you have views like this between stores.


Finally to Tradizione - the most amazing deli with fantastic cheeses. They also have Paoli Parisi eggs which I have always wanted to try.

Laden down with goodies we take the metro back to Repubblica then walk back to the apartment to begin preparing the salads for lunch - panzanella, caprese and bresola with rocket & pecorino. We also put together a board of salami.

Our treat for all this hard work is café shakerato at our local bar from which we have a good vantage point to watch our friends arrive.
After a leisurely lunch we begin our 'Amici Tour' by walking to the Trevi fountain, taking in the view of St Peters from Piazza Quirinale on the way.
The fountain is surrounded by a wire fence as the restoration is about to commence. However you can still get a good view even if it means that the coins need to be thrown a bit further!
On to the Pantheon. This is the first time we have been inside this trip. The emotional impact of the oculus is still as strong as the first time that we saw it and I'm glad to say that our friends feel the same.
We slowly strolled back, ending up at Fatamorgana for gelato.
Aperitivo on the terrace tonight as dinner is at Carbonara which is very close by.
The atmosphere in the restaurant is very 'buzzy' as it is most nights - the rear of the restaurant is opposite our apartment. From the happy sounds that we hear you just know that it is a place where you want to eat .

We start by sharing plates of pasta - carbonara, of course , and cacao e pepe. This is followed by straccheti ruccola for the ladies and steak for the men. The meat is beautifully tender.

We drink Cesanese wine and then  retire to the terrace to crack open another bottle of the same to mull over day one of Amici tours.
Day Two
We are up early as we are heading to St Peters and hope to avoid the worst of the crowds and also the heat of the day.
From the metro we head back again to Sciascia for coffee and cornetti. On the way we notice a huge amount of Carabiniari on the streets. The reason why is revealed once we reach St Peters - there is a huge service to be held in the square to celebrate Bicentenario Carabiniari .

 Obviously the basilica is closed so we stay awhile to observe the comings and goings then have a leisurely stroll up the Janiculum. It is very quiet today so we sit and watch the paraqueets fly amongst the flat topped pine trees and enjoy the view.

We walk down in to Trastevere and stop at Santa Maria Trastevere. The mosaics in here are amazing and we note the mismatched columns that were recycled from ancient Roman buildings.

We have coffee at Cajo e Gajo in Piazza Cosimata. The café shakerato here is very pretty to look at!

We say hello to Roberto at Antica Carciere and buy ricotta & honey then back along Via Lungeretto to Ponte Sisto and Campo di Fiori.
Our friends sample  fresh juice from a stall where four pomegranites are squeezed in to one drink - such good value.
Next stop Forno Roscioli for pizza slices which we take to Il Vinaietto where we ask for a wine recommendation to go with them.

We walk past the turtle fountain back to the apartment for a well earned rest.
Today is my birthday and what better way to celebrate than with good friends and champagne (provided by the aforesaid friends!) on the Spanish Steps.

On our walk here our friends prove that they have taken in some information on the way as they point out the eagle & griffin papal symbols on top of the gate in to the Villa Borghese - we had never noticed these before!!

We take a passeggiata along Via Margutta as we are eating at Osteria Margutta ,  another favourite restaurant. I love the décor here as well as the food.

The Fillet Margutta deserves a special mention as does the calamari.

There is a huge concert in Piazza del Popolo for the Bicentenario Carabiniari which means the 117 is not running.
A taxi wins over walking and very soon we are enjoying one last glass of wine on the terrace. Entertainment is provided by the lizards on the wall opposite the apartment!

Day Three
We meet up after breakfast and take the 170 bus to Bocca della Verita to take a peek at the Mouth of Truth before walking up to the Rose Garden. The perfume hits you as you walk in even though some of the roses are slightly past their best.

On to the Orange Garden where we take in the view. This is a popular place for wedding photographs and a couple of brides are here today.

Next to the Keyhole where our friends are happily surprised by the view!
Who should we meet here but Giovanni, who introduces us to his wife, Annie. I am beyond pleased to have met Scooter Mavin at last!!
We walk down to Testaccio for lunch at Flavia Velavevodetto.
It is really  hot today so, even though we have booked a table on the terrace, we decide to eat inside. A good move as we get to see Monte Testaccio through the glass walls - layer upon layer of broken amphorae that were once used to carry olive oil - a man made mountain.

After lunch we head back on the metro from Piramide.

Aperitivo tonight is suppli & champagne on the terrace before taking in the artists on Piazza Navona. Music is provided by a talented quintet of musicians.
To the Campidoglio for an overview of the Forum which is bathed in late evening sun then down to the Colosseum. Via di Fori Imperiale is one huge river of rubbish after the Gay Parade that has taken place here today. Not really the last impression  of Rome that we would have wanted our friends to take away with them.

However all is redeemed by take out pizza from Alle Carette, once last meal together on our terrace.

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