At the Farmers market in LA with my sweet niece Lucy 2015
Always love when friends report that they’re using tips from this blog while they’re on their trip. That’s why I bother to write this darned thing!
Here’s the latest reports:
- Yesterday a postcard from L.A. arrived from my pal Polly in Michigan, who wrote “We took Betsy with us and had a tasty lunch at the farmer’s market.”(Click here for details on the LA Farmers Market)
- Today, a Facebook message from Rome arrived from my Iowa pal Anne: “Just bought a purse and a belt at ibiz. However did you find this place? Thanks for telling me about it!” (Click here for Ibiz details!)
With my Ibiz shopping bag, Roma 2014
When we were here two weeks ago, I walked until my feet were blistered. This time my feet are battle hardened but my calves ache so badly they feel bruised. but I do not regret walking myself silly today, all over this city. And we will probably walk some more tonight because who can resist? The beauty of this city is irresistible.
We returned to an area we visited last week, in the central Storico and this time went to the less formal bakery of the salumeria we ate at last week — Roscioli il Forno where we had superb pizza slices served over the counter by a guy who hacks away at the pizzas with an exuberant chop. We had some pizza slathered with pesto and anchovies and tomato sauce; and another piece with ricotta, grilled eggplant, basil, tomato sauce. The place was packed for good reason! Up the street, I splurged on an amazing handmade leather purse, sold to me by a young woman who makes the purses with her father at a shop called Ibiz (via dei chiavari 39 ) I thought she might know a good tie maker and so she did, a nice craftsman in a little shop in Trastevere called La Cravatta (via di s. cecilia 12) near our first hotel (that we never noticed). Dirck got a beautiful tie. His splurge.
my new friend, the purse maker, also told us how to get to the neighborhood of Monti, which was a lovely walk that began in the former Jewish ghetto which still has kosher restaurants and a gorgeous synagogue which was packed (and this is how I learned it was Yom Kippur, my bad.) We had fun rambling around Monti, looking at the smattering of small boutiques and design shops around via Urbana, stopping for a fruit smoothy at a place called The Full Monti (get it?) and at an organic gelato shop. We are staying tonight at Villa della fonte near the Santa Maria Transtevere church. More expensive and may be noisier tonight but the place we stayed at last week was booked.tonight we had a totally new Roman dining experience featuring food that seemed more English than Italian but the battered cod fillets served at Dar Filettaro, a little hole in the wall, were selling like hot cakes all night, primarily to large Italian families who ordered plates of the fish piled high along with plates of fried zucchini and white beans. The cod was too salty for me but the batter was hot and crispy and the scene itself was delicious. We finished the night with some granita and wandered through centro Storico and Trastevere on a perfect Saturday night, the sky bright and clear, light breeze, amazed by all the people everywhere and the street performers and the great circus of Rome. We will be back!
No surprise that I have my first major blister on my foot. we walked that much and no regrets. We crossed the bridge from Trastevere to Centro Storico, feeling like we crossed the the left bank to the right bank in Paris or from the Village to the upper east side in NYC. Definitely more posh although not too. and absolutely gorgeous streets to walk down like Via Giulia, apparently one of the most photographed streets in Rome – straight road lined with beautiful buildings and grand churches.
We walked down several popular shopping streets to campo del fiori, which had a big fruit and food market then onto what turned out to be our favorite shopping street, via del giubbonari, where Dirck bought a leather belt and I resisted the temptation to buy a soft leather purse.
We had an amazing lunch at Rosciola, a famous salumeria where the sliced meats and cheeses come from the old world counter at the front of the shop. I had the creamiest ricotta cheese I will probably ever taste, just spread on bread or even better without anything else.
After walking to various tourist hotspots I haven’t been to in 30 years (pantheon, trevi fountain…under construction ) we ended up splitting a Tartuffo, the famous ice cream treat served at tre scalini, overlooking Piazza Navronne. Thought about my mother who loved rome and insisted my sister and I have a Tartuffo at tre scalini when we first came here in 1978.
Dinner was unexpectedly at taverna trilussa in Trastevere, a very popular spot packed with big Italian families. When I called in advance I was told we couldn’t get in until 10:15 but when we happened upon the place at 8 pm they ushered us to a table in the warm cozy taverna. I may have to cut back on the pasta…but it sure was good.
The ancient but hip Rome neighborhood of Trastevere is just what I hoped it would be, full of narrow streets paved with small square black stones, lined by gorgeous brick, stone and stuccoed buildings decorated with the old frieze or fresco or mosaic, with vines spilling over with flowers. The streets inevitably lead to wide open piazzas that have a stunning church (Santa Maria De Trestevere) or imposing building.
We ate very well just happening upon local places, a great deli called Giselda (on the main frag (52 viale di trastevere) where we just went up to various counters and pointed to what we wanted (fresh ricotta, sliced ham, a slice of pizza, some eggplant parm, beer); tonight we had pasta (bucatini with bacon and tomato sauce) and pizza with cheese and anchovies at a lovely little outdoor table around the block at Sette Oche in Altalena (via dei salumi 36). We finished with drinks across the street (alley really) from our hotel. It’s a tiny well place with quirky decorations called Niji.Our hotel is perfect and remarkably affordable 129 euro (about 150$) and full of character (it is a former convent that still has lots of catholic decor. it’s called Casa di Santa Francesca Romano — also great location on a relatively quiet street in this happening neighborhood.
It seemed unlikely when I first stumbled upon it but as we sit in the bustling Charlotte airport awaiting our flight to Rome, I can confirm that the flight, on us air, does indeed exist. So far so good. We left Des Moines on time, despite threatening skies, and arrived here 1.5 hours later. Now awaiting an overpriced pulled pork sandwich at Carolina beer co., a restaurant/pub that shares space with a bagel store. Italy and Italian food here we come!