Tuesday, 2 February 2010

My mini Roman holiday.

Thank you for your lovely comments about my Rome trip. It was a fantastic long weekend. Three of us went to visit our friend Alex who now lives in a stone cottage on a hillside outside Rome with her man, their tiny daughter, and the bump that is her second daughter coming along.

I've never been to Rome before and I loved it. I didn't see any men quite as hot as the ones below, and nowhere near as hot as the firemen Alex found for us last time I visited her there. (That's a whole 'nother post, and a photograph that I have to find for your enjoyment.)

We were stunned by the dome of the Pantheon. It's 2000 years old but looks completely modern. It reminded me of Sir Norman Foster's Reichstag dome. Except he built that 10 years ago.

We had breakfast in the square overlooking the Pantheon on the last morning. A very nice view to admire over your cappuccino. And great views of passing Romans in their heavy camel wool coats and furs.

There were so many lush rooftop gardens peeking down at us. They made me think of the scene at the beginning of La Dolce Vita, with the sunbathing beauties on the roof being catcalled by Paparazzo and Marcello.

And of course, the Trevi Fountain. It was hard trying to imagine Sylvia and Marcello splashing around in the fountain with the rain, cold and HORDES of tourists. I dread to think what it is like in summer if it's so busy in January!

There were green parrots in the trees over the Tiber.

And a more traditional view of the river.

The clouded blue skies mirrored the frescoed basilicas.

I loved Circus Maximus. It's where the chariot races took place and is now an eerie, unused space right in the centre of town, the shape of the track still marked out with the pines and cypress trees. We walked along it, with a few lone joggers, imagining the racket of the ancient races.

The Colosseum was a marvel. It was very easy to imagine the games, gladiators and the noise.

Trastavere was a charming district, home to Santa Maria, one of the oldest churches in Rome and winding medieval streets of trattorias, perfumeries, cats on cars and shopkeepers brushing the rain at your feet.

We had some fantastic meals (Saltimbocca alla Romana followed by pistachio gelato with a caramel and grappa sauce anyone?) but my favourite place was Sant'Eustachio Il Caffè, a typical bustling Roman coffee shop that we found. We found it by accident, but it is apparently rated as one of Rome's two best coffee shops. More about that tomorrow.

(Psst: Alice at Quaint Living happened to be in Rome at the same time as me! Check out her blog over the next few days if you'd like to see more photographs of Rome, she is a brilliant photographer.)


  1. there's only one pic for me... xx

  2. What fabulous pictures. I liked the dark river one and the cat on the car best of all. Must get to Rome this year. X

  3. These are beautiful! Sounds like a glorious trip!

  4. What a nice weekend away. No surprise to see we share a love of the Circus Maximus & the Pantheon - I would expect nothing less.

    Great spot on the parrot front btw! Nx

  5. Jealous? Me? Oh that gelato!
    So many years sinceI was in Rome. Back packing my way around Italy. Wonderful memories of sitting by the Trevi Fountain - and you're right it was packed solid in the middle of summer. Still sitting on the Spanish Steps on a hot summer night was wonderful. Your weekend sounds FAB.

  6. January is probably a really good time for Rome. We wanted to go in summer, but it was soooo hot. Spent a day in Florence instead (which I hadn't been to for many years) and it was absolutely beautiful. Thanks also for the Sant'Eustachio Il Caffe tip - nothing like Italian coffee!

  7. pretty photos! i like the first one


  8. Lovely pictures! I really like the one with the cat on top of the car.

    I loved Rome when I was there. I'd love to go back to Italy sometime soon.


  9. Ohhh how envious I am. I studied in Florence for a year in college and visited Rome 3 times--adored it. Looking through these snaps brought the memories rushing back--the gelato, the fountains, the cappuccino,the architecture. Bravissima!

  10. I was so excited to see a cat that it was ridiculous. He was loving the attention, as well!

    My friend Alex lived in Florence for a while and I had tickets to go and visit her there but I missed my flight! The train to the airport broke down (Stansted Express I HATE YOU!)

    It was my birthday weekend too. Gutted. I've still not made it to Florence, I need to go soon.

    And yeah - I'm thinking December/January is a good time to visit these places, but it was still SO FULL of tourists! Even compared to London!

  11. I saw the birds too!!! Thank you for the mention :D I enjoyed hearing about your trip. I hope you didn't get too wet on the Saturday, it got pretty sunny after that. So funny we were there at the same time :)