When in Rome…

On our last full day in Paris, we woke up to a text message from the airline letting us know that our flight to Rome the following morning had been canceled and rescheduled for another day. $*%#! After a few phone calls, Evan finally got ahold of the airline and got us on a new flight on the correct day. Phew!

Upon arrival, we dropped our bags at the hotel and hit the streets to explore the amazing city of Rome. Highlights of our visit included the Pantheon, Spanish Steps, Trevi Fountain, Altare della Patria and Piazza Navona. For me, the real highlights were guided tours of the Vatican, Colosseum, Palatine Hill and the Forum. The guide of our Vatican tour noted that if you stopped and looked at every piece of art within the Vatican Museum for five seconds, it would take you twelve years to see everything.

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Gallery of Maps at the Vatican. The long room had large painted maps on the walls and a gorgeous painted ceiling.

Between all the site seeing, we worked up an appetite for pasta and pizza. Carbs, carbs, carbs! Our first stop was at a restaurant just around the corner from our hotel. Yelp had described it as a sandwich shop, but it wasn’t at all. Pianostrada was a beautiful restaurant with a charming covered outdoor patio. The food was as pretty as the setting. I had focaccia topped with rosemary, oil, fresh buffalo mozzarella, squash blossoms and arugula. YUM!

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Yelp has been a great, reliable source for finding restaurants while traveling, even abroad. It’s easy to search what’s available around you based on cost, cuisine, outdoor seating and a variety additional filters. The app helps take some of the guess work out of trying somewhere new. What is the dress code? Do they accept credit cards? If you don’t have the Yelp app on your phone, I highly recommend it!

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Fruit stand on the streets of Rome.
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Speaking of the streets of Rome, the city was full of tiny twisting cobblestone roads filled with pedestrians, cars and scooters. We didn’t see many women sporting high heels on these streets!

Back to the food… Our first night out, we dined at Osteria Da Fortunata after reading rave reviews on Yelp. In the front window, over-looking the crowded patio, two women sat hand-making fresh pasta. We had a short wait, but were able to snag a seat outside. I wanted something simple, so I got the fresh made gnocchi with ragú sauce. It was delicious!

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The next day, after working up an appetite touring the Vatican, we hit up a small sandwich shop called The Angry Pig. It seated maybe 8 people, a few along a counter facing one wall and a few more at a long community table. It was obvious that the jolly fellow behind the counter taking orders and making sandwiches was the owner. While they are best known for their porchetta, I got a simple spicy salami sandwich with fresh buffalo mozzarella and marinated tomatoes.

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Customers from around the world express their love for The Angry Pig on the walls of the small eatery.

Our final night in Rome, we dined at a lovely restaurant tucked away on a quiet street. La Vecchia Locanda had a very welcoming, friendly staff. The food was amazing. Evan wanted some seafood for an appetizer, so I got the caprese salad not imagining I’d be able to eat it all. I did. For dinner, I ordered cheese filled ravioli with mushrooms. Everything was so good! It was a perfect way to end our vacation.

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The English translation for arugula in Italy is “rocket”.

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We fell in love with Rome. If you get the chance to go and have never been, GO! We will definitely return someday. If you have already been and have restaurant recommendations, let me know!

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