Wednesday, July 30, 2014

The clouds cleared!

The clouds cleared and the sun came out, so we headed to Villa Borghese to run around and explore! We spent a couple hours before heading back as the clouds began to grow dark. We Made it home just as it started to sprinkle. 

I love this wonderful space and will miss it. 

'Till next time!


Our Last Day

Today is our last day in Rome. It's pouring rain right now, thunder cracking and bouncing off the century-old buildings, and it's incredible! We are a bit disappointed to not spend the day filling our cups with more of what Rome has to offer, but it's been a wonderful, exciting month and we are so grateful for our time here. So, instead of biking through Villa Borghese, or soaking in the enormity of the Colosseo one last time, we will sit snuggled on our couch, watching Peppa Pig and molding dinosaurs with Play-doh, and enjoying the sound of the cool rain as it falls and cleanses the city, preparing it for a new day.


Saturday, July 26, 2014

The Great Pizza Hunt

This week Matteo and I ventured out to hunt down some of the best pizza in Rome. Since Rome has a pizzeria on just about every corner, our friend sent us some suggestions to help us narrow down the options to the most highly recommended spots from people who know their shiz.

Welcome to Forno Campo de' Fiori. While the location is impressive, sitting on the periphery of the highly visited Campo de' Fiori market, his little pizza al taglio spot is not much to look at from the front. Yet you can tell that something special is happening inside when you see crowds of Italians on their lunch break standing around outside, eating squares of pizza straight from the signature brown parchment paper. 

the front room where handsome Italian boys cut you a slice
Once inside you are transported to pizza heaven. There are not an overwhelming number of choices, but the options you are presented with are the best and they are done right. I opted to try a slice of both the funghi with red sauce and mushrooms and olive oil galore, and the patate with thin, delicate potato slices and rosemary. Matteo, of course, was handed a piece of pizza bianco to enjoy while he hung out in the boba on my back (I actually no longer have to feed Matteo... people hand him food and treats everywhere we go... he's quite the attention hog!)

rear of the house with a few more pizza options and lots of biscotti and pane to choose from
an open side door reveals the master at work, prepping the dough for the oven
my beautiful little parcel of pizza
potato and rosemary
I couldn't resist trying their amaretti biscotti. These little nuggets are a favorite of ours: almond flavored cookies topped with pine nuts. These were not disappointing (and also make a lovely breakfast the next morning...) :)

amaretti with pinoli
So, ladies and gentlemen, when in Rome, this jewel of a joint is a must! And bring along a cute toddler... I am sure your experience will be that much better :)

happy eating,

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

"Damn it, Rome!"

This ancient city is no doubt a beautiful, amazing place, full of history, life, and adventure at every turn. Cobblestone streets, unearthed ruins, and natural water spring fountains are part of the picturesque beauty that is Rome. There are, however, other realities that come with living in a big, ancient, foreign city that drive me nucking futs! Here are my top three things that I won't miss about Rome:

1. Dog Shit, as far as the eye can see: well, not really, but in the neighborhoods, there really are bombs everywhere that you have to look out for. I find myself looking down more than I admire the crazy beautiful buildings all around me. I have never seen anyone picking up after their dog; it just doesn't happen here. "Damn it, Rome!"

2. Mosquitoes will eat you alive: sure, we have mosquitoes back in the states, obviously, but remember those large, gorgeous windows we have here, with the quintessential Italian shutters? Well, they don't come with screens. This means that if you want to let in some fresh air, you will also be opening the windows wide for those blood-sucking bastards. Nothing worse then trying to get some rest after a long day of eating gelato and pizza and "bbzzzz" goes right past your ear... you know you are going to wake up with big, red, itchy bumps in the morning. Plus, there's that pesky business of West Nile Virus, just sayin'."Damn it, Rome!"

3. Cigarette Smoke- "Come to Italy, we'll give you emphysema.": sound too harsh?! Well I especially hate cigarette smoke, and you cannot walk down the street without finding yourself behind a lit cigarette. It's a beautiful evening, want to eat outside? How about some smoke with that Carbonara (because you can totally smoke at restaurants still)? Now that I have Matteo with me, I find I am especially sensitive and alert to this deadly (YES! Second-hand smoke KILLS!) by-product of someone else's decision to poison their lungs. But you know what really chaps my hide? As much as I love our apartment, when I am inside and allowing some fresh air (and mosquitoes, no doubt) to fill this lovely space, and I am suddenly assaulted with the with filthy exhale of smoke from a passerby below... I could really cause an international incident. "Damn it, Rome!"

Just a little dose of everyday to intermingle with the beautiful pictures, pizza outings, and gelato galore. "But seriously, Rome, I do love you. You just have a smoking problem."


Monday, July 21, 2014

Adventures in Villa Torlonia

Matteo and I have visited Villa Torlonia three times now, and really enjoy it. This was once Mussolini's vacation home and garden. It is located in the opposite direction of the old city (about 20 minutes from our home), so there are few tourists and no crowds; we mostly see other mothers and children enjoying some outdoor play. The grounds are enormous, and completely surrounded by high walls. There are multiple buildings that have been turned into a museum, a "Swiss cabin", a Technotown for kids, and a small playground for the babies, plus a little pond, walking paths, and plenty of grassy areas to kick around a soccer ball.

Brian was able to join us on Saturday for an afternoon of play and exploration. 

Matteo loves, LOVES, this fountain. Actually, all the kids seem to like it. There are always toddlers playing in the water, cooling off. This is a little video of Matteo on our first visit; it makes me laugh :)

We were both MELTING in the sun, but he refused to leave this elephant... so mama just went and sat in the shade while he played. He finally gave in and joined me on the shady bench.

This is such a great place to play! We will be making a few more trips before our time is over.


Sunday, July 20, 2014

Our Home in Rome

2nd bedroom/study
When we found out we were going to Rome, we had a month to plan for our trip. I immediately went to Airbnb to search for apartments. For a month stay, an apartment is necessary, but I was surprised how much cheaper it is to rent a whole apartment than a hotel room, even for shorter trips.

I had a few criteria in mind when searching. We needed to have: a washer, WiFi, single level (no stairs to worry about), a decent kitchen, and be in a good neighborhood. We found our pick with all these things and more! First, the location is perfect. We are within the old city, on the periphery, near the large Villa Borghese park, in a nice neighborhood. I wanted to be close to the park so that Matteo and I would have an accessible place to run and play.  I am a 5 minute walk to a wonderful covered market, Mercato di Piazza Alessandria, where we do most of our food shopping. The best part may be that we are far from the concentration of tourists, so outings within our neighborhood feel authentic. Our building is over 200 years old, but pretty new by Roman standards... it even has a lift! We are only on the 2nd floor (third, counting floor zero), but it's really nice to not have to climb the stairs after a long outing with Matteo on my back and both hands full of groceries, sweating like a monster (do monsters sweat...?!).  Plus, Matteo calls himself "boy" (meaning "big boy") because he knows how to close the lift doors and push the button (we hold him up to reach the numbers); taking the lift is like a fun little ride everyday.

The apartment is divided into five main spaces: the entryway, two bedrooms, kitchen/living room, and bathroom/laundry. This space actually used to be offices, so the division of rooms is different, but I really like the layout. We had a guest with us for a couple of days, and it was great to be able to offer him a room of his own. The kitchen is lined against one wall with a table near the window, TV in the corner, and a couch opposite the kitchen. It is where we spend most of our time.

The windows are so tall, with the typical Italian shutters on the exterior. We look out to a the tree lined street below with a beautiful building adjacent to us.

looking into the kitchen/living room
We are lucky to have a washer... and a dryer! ;)

bathroom w/ bidet
Tree lined street
Tree lined street
Building across the way
There are a few downsides, one being the cigarette smoke that occasionally wafts through the windows form passersby below, but all in all, it is a nice place to hang our hats while we are here.

Ci vediamo!

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Eating Gelato at the Pantheon

This was an outing we took on one of the first evenings in Rome. A favorite gelateria of ours in Rome is Giolitti, and it is just a few side-streets away from the beautiful Pantheon. 

This was Matteo's first introduction to gelato... he, of course, loved it.

Afterwards, he ran through the ancient columns of the Pantheon, hiding and laughing. It was an evening to remember.