Ask anyone who knows me and they’ll agree on one thing – when it comes to Italy and all things Italian, I don’t know when to shut up. Whilst at university I was lucky enough to spend a year studying in Genoa, and so in early December it was with great anticipation that I returned to Italy for the first time in three years, this time heading further south to la città eterna: Rome.
Rome is renowned for the amount it has to offer and this was certainly the case, the three days we spent exploring seemed to disappear in a whirlwind of fountains, churches and ruins. But in between pounding the streets of the old city, dodging mopeds and saying a quick prayer at the Vatican, we managed to find some time to do what the Italians do best: eat.
After our first busy day sightseeing, we headed to Trastevere, a district known for its traditional trattorias and Roman specialties, to seek out ‘Dar Poeta’, a pizzeria recommended by our lovely Air BnB host, Rita. After walking round in circles for what felt like hours we eventually found it tucked away down a tiny side street and it was definitely worth the perseverance. Huge Italian pizzas and a large glass of vino bianco were a wonderfully guilt-free reward after the amount of walking we’d done! I had been thinking about gelato ever since we’d arrived and since it is never too cold or too late for an ice-cream in Italy, for dessert we set off to find a gelateria. Faced with an amazing choice of flavours and a difficult decision I went for an old favourite – caffè e nocciola (coffee and hazelnut) which definitely didn’t disappoint.
Pizza and ice-cream was just the beginning of three days’ indulgence and over the course of the weekend I managed to sample spaghetti alle vongole (spaghetti with clams), freshly baked focaccia, roasted chestnuts sold by street vendors and at the market at Campo di Fiori, Rome’s speciality, supplì, – deep fried rice balls with mozzarella.
Unfortunately it all came to an end far too quickly, and leaving Rome I promised myself it wouldn’t be another three years before I returned to Italy again.