While we were going around the colosseum, we were fortunate to witness a newly wed couple taking their picture at the colosseum.
The couple are Asians and are surrounded by their families and friends. There were loud popping that caught my attention and when I looked at where the people were going, there were this bride in her white wedding gown taking picture with her new husband in tuxedo. They were actually popping confettis and the tiny rainbow-colored confettis flew on the air and dropped slowly on the cobbled stones.
The view at the colosseum was awe
When in Rome,or anywhere in Italy for that matter, one must partake of the Gelato the city is known for. It comes in a wide variety of flavors and can be found throughout the city in anyone of numerous shops selling the frozen treats. Its a perfect snack for a hot day or a refreshing treat to eat in the afternoon or evening.
As the saying goes: When in Rome do as the Romans.... This is a good way to think when visiting Rome. Eating the local cuisine from local restaurants and drinking the fabulous Italian wine can only enhance the viit. We found some great little restuarants tucked into side streets with delicious food and wonderful wine. We also found some heavenly desserts and creamy gelatto while strolling the streets. Rome is definitely a cuilinary delight.
The lift in my block of flats was very intimate. It was necessary to make conversation as one stood breast to breast.
The young lad from the flat downstairs got in with his friend and because they had a little English and perfect manners - and because Italia was about to play Australia in the World Cup - we have a perfect conversation topic.
He pointed at me and said - Australiana!
His friend was very interested.
So I did a round or two of Aussie Aussie Aussie Oy Oy Oy!
Which amused (and embarrassed) them mightily.
And I managed to intimate that they might be shouting - Forza Italia!
But no. They clouded over. And managed to convey to me that a political party had used Forza Italia as a slogan (batardi!) and the young people no longer used it. It had been appropriated and tainted.
The pizza joint downstairs had a tv and showed soccer matches so whenever there was a match on the joint was crowded with fans, munching on pizza and supping beer or wine - people stopping in the street to check it all out through the open doors.
And one would hear the chanting.
Roma Roma Roma
Roma in the night.
As far as I can gather there are two local teams. Roma and Lazio. But where I lived in Trastevere they all seemed to be Roma fans.
Francesco Totti comes from Testaccio - just across the river - and he is huge in Rome too. But he doesn't play for Roma. I am almost sure he plays for Juventus. But I know someone will correct me if I am wrong.
If you want some excellent local fun - just turn up to any bar or cafe that has a tv on match day - and I can guarantee excellent local fun.
Italians are happy people. They laugh a lot and sing even more! Don't be surprised if you stop by to have dinner and you hear the cook and the waiters singing.
One of the fondest memories we made in Rome was when we heard the cook singing while preparing the dishes we ordered. He even stopped by at our table at one point during dinner to ask us if we liked the food. We told him the food was delicious (and it was indeed!). He left happy from our table, went back to the kitchen and continued singing. What a great dinner we had! I hope you will have and will enjoy the same experience at least once while visiting Rome.
You do not need to dress up for dinner, but you need to keep your eyes open for places where locals eat. These are the places where the food is superb and the memories you take back with you will last forever! Italians usually go to dinner from 8pm to 11pm (sometimes even later), so try to plan your day in such a way that you eat dinner after 8pm.
Small Tratorias are the best places to taste local food, enjoy a glass of a nice local wine and hang around with the locals. The service may be slow (much slower than the one in the US restaurants for sure!) and the meal will easily and quickly transform into a somehow lengthy social occasion.
The owner may not speak too good of an English (sometimes he may not speak English at all), but you can be sure that you will not leave his/her place hungry or unsatisfied.
I’ve always liked artichokes so I was quite happy to try the carciofi alla guida at one of the many kosher restaurants in Rome’s Jewish ghetto. As we perused the menu, we overheard this dish being offered to practically everyone who walked in. It is touted in guidebooks and cookbooks as a special Roman Jewish delicacy. So although the price seemed a bit steep, I said sure. After trying it, my advice to you is: Skip it.
Carciofi alla guida, also called “Jewish artichoke,” is basically an artichoke that has been smacked on the table to flatten it, and then deep-fried. The leaves lose their fleshiness and become brown and papery with a slightly burned taste.
Artichokes are the bud of a flower. They have grown in the Roman countryside for centuries, and like most flowers, they are in season in the spring. But carciofi alla guida is one of those dishes that the tourists ask for. So restaurants store half-cooked artichokes in the freezer to keep them on hand all year round, and toss them into hot oil when you order them.
My appetizer, consisting of one artichoke, cost EUR 5. The pizza was much better.
Rome has great sights, great restaurants, and great outdoor markets. PIAZZA CAMPO DE' FIORI has a fantastic market every morning except Sunday and the fruits and vegetables are a sight to behold and also to buy.
Nothing like a fresh fruit in the morning to awaken the palate to all the culinary delites that await you the rest of the day and night in romantic Roma. The market at the piazza is located between the Piazza Navona and Ponte Sisto, the bridge over to Trastevere.
Make sure you return in the evening to this piazza to see the transformation of the outdoor market to a glorious palate of sight and sound as the lights bounce off the walls and the music fills the night.
Addiction begins when you stare into the rainbow of colors in the display case and say to the person on the other side of the glass partition, "Un gelato, per favore.
Ah ha, the flavor?What flavor to choose from the myriad of selections. It's never easy to choose a flavor. They all look yummy and after having several, which you will, you're still not sure that the one next to the one you have chosen, may not be better.
There must be a gelato store in Rome like coffee shops are in Seattle, on every corner. Italians don't have a monopoly on loving gelato and once you have tasted one, you're hooked. Gelato lovers may claim one store over another, but to me any gelato store will do. "Un nuovo gelato, per favore."
I cannot say or emphasize it enough if you are going to Italy please please PLEASE learn at least enough of the language to communicate! I studied for 6 months before our trip so I was not fluent but it made for a wonderful experience to be able to communicate. Some of the worst behavior I have ever seen was from frustrated American tourists who fully arrogantly expected the Italians to speak flawless English while they themselves did not bother to learn a word of Italian. I have found that if you show the respect of at least trying to speak the language, no matter how badly mangled you will receive a warmer reception than those red in the face who think that yelling is going to get their point across. Remember we're visiting their country, why not learn a little bit before you go? That said, in the cities English is more prevalent but where we liked to eat in the family run trattorias the only English you would hear was, "No speak English!"
Italy is a wine country and they don't brew good beer. Local beers are quite similar, all too malty and sweet. Birra Peroni, Nastro Azzurro and Moretti are some examples of mainstream beers. Beers in supermarkets are qute reosanably priced, you can get a 0,66 litre bottle for around 1 euro. Expect to pay ~20 cents more for cold beer. The main import beer is Beck's, a bad example of German lager. Danish so-called pilsner Tuborg is also widely available.
The tap water in Rome is excellent because it comes straight from the mountains. Even the residents fill bottles from the "nasone", meaning "the big nose" - look at the picture and you'll understand. These little fountains are everywhere, and once you check the price of bottled water, you'll be very happy to see one. Close the hole with your finger to make the water spout.
As you probably have heard, Italians have only sweet stuff for breakfast. In the B&B we stayed in Rome, we had bisquits, cookies, pies, sweet bread, jam, muesli and so on. Different kinds of yoghurt juice and latte were also available. And of course there was a nice Pininfarina-designed coffee maker, brewing a great cup of caffè (known as espresso in other parts of the world, where coffee is made also by less authentic methods). If you happen to be English, you can also make yourself a cup of Earl Grey :) But as they say - when in Rome, do as the Romans do!
Opera is at the heart of Rome. It is what fills the air.
My first major in college was Opera Performance. It is such a challenging art form that takes so much work (and that's an understatement).
Rome appreciates it. Opera is her baby. And therefore, respect it please.
Yes, in America we laugh at it. It's the grunt of the jokes from American male tv shows. They also make fun of it and talk about how boring it is.
But, this is Rome. You're gonna have to change your attitude and take a step back and realize that power and training that one must have to perform such a pure musical ability. That's right...there are no added machines funneling their voices. This isn't a CD that has been digitally mastered like recording artists.
This is an Italian custom in general, rather than just Roman, but because I have not created Italy page yet I will write about it under my Rome page.
In Italy when you go to a wedding or baptism ceremony you will receive a gift from newlyweds or during baptism from parents of the child.
Usually it is something made from silver, for instance I received a silver spoon and a silver tea pot. It can be also a crystal vase or a typical, hand-made Sicilian vase.
Plus you will receive confetti: sweet almonds wrap in a small, cute bag.
I was very surprised at first when we receive "la bomboniera" at the wedding of my husband's brother, but later on I discovered that Italians like a lot to give small souvenirs during different occasions just to remember them.
All around Italy there are thousand of shops which sell only le bomboniere.