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Posted by on Jul 4, 2015 in Cultural Exploration, Food and Drink, Italy, Rome | 18 comments

Bucatini All’ Amatriciana: When In Rome Eat Like A Roman

Bucatini All’ Amatriciana: When In Rome Eat Like A Roman

I had asked my companion, who lived in Rome, to take me somewhere that only the locals go, because one thing you can be sure of: local residents eat the best food in the city. They do not hang out in the crowded, over-priced, and not very authentic restaurants where many tourists unwittingly end up. One night in Rome, we ate dinner at a trattoria (restaurant) that was full of locals dining…and nary a tourist in sight. And that’s another tip for finding good food when traveling: if possible, get off the tourist path. I said I wanted to try something traditional, a typical Roman dish. “Do you like pasta?” the owner asked. “Of course,” I replied, with a look that said what kind of question is that? “With cream sauce or a red sauce?” “Definitely red.” Any pasta with red sauce is fine with me. “Pefetto you should try the bucatini all’amatriciana, one of the most typical Roman dishes.” The owner spoke in Italian and my dinner companion,...

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Posted by on Nov 18, 2014 in Cultural Exploration, Italy, Memoirs, Rome | 20 comments

6 Favorite Moments in Rome

6 Favorite Moments in Rome

It’s been almost seven years now since my first trip to Rome. Seven years and I’m just as in love with Rome as I was at first sight…though perhaps my love has mellowed. When I think of Rome now, it’s more like an old friend with whom I have created some really great memories. However, when I talk to strangers about Rome or people who’ve never been, I still feel the same passion and enthusiasm, and I want them to feel it too. I want everyone to love Rome as much as I do. I think the reason I fell so hard was because I didn’t expect to. It didn’t happen like a lightning bolt, but more like a strong steady rain that that catches you a little off guard and even though you take cover, you still end up drenched. Good memories, and good trips, are made up of moments in time. A collection of great moments is like a photo album. You turn the page and another...

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Posted by on Jul 7, 2014 in Italy, Memoirs, Rome | 40 comments

Is Rome Really All That?

Is Rome Really All That?

“One sidewalk cafe coming right up!” and off they go, bumping over the cobblestone streets of Rome. Imagine them: she choosing to experience a life she has, up to now, only dreamed of, temporarily abandoning her responsibilities. And he playing the role of modern day knight, on a Vespa. She sits in front, laughing and smiling broadly, the wind in her face, as he points out the ancient monuments and tourist attractions. He takes her to the Colosseum and then Rocca’s, a cafe near the Pantheon, the first stop in fulfilling her fantasies of having an adventure. Cliche? Of course. Wishful thinking? Obviously. And we all know how that film goes. But I’ve done it. It happened. Well, sort of. The first time I went to Rome, a lovely Italian man I’d met arranged for a friend of his to show me around on his scooter. “Penny, I hope you don’t mind, I have arranged a surprise for you. I’d like to take you myself, but this is wrong....

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Posted by on Apr 11, 2014 in Churches, Cultural Exploration, Rome | 25 comments

When Travel Isn’t What You Expect

When Travel Isn’t What You Expect

As much as I love travel and the thrill of discovering new cultures and meeting new people, I also enjoy familiarity. I think I’m not alone in this. I like getting to know an area and feeling at home there, seeing familiar faces, having a chat with the neighborhood shop owners, and establishing my favorite bar and bartender. I don’t think I’m unique; it’s human nature. It’s normal to desire feelings of security, belonging, and comfort. When I first began traveling regularly to Rome, I unconsciously began to cultivate this feeling of belonging. It wasn’t difficult – Rome had me from the first Buongiorno. Since 2009, I’ve made Trastevere my home away from home, in Rome. I always return to the same internet cafe, shop at the organic and gluten-free market Canestro, and buy fruits and vegetables at the open air produce market in Piazza San Cosimato. In this way, I get a tiny taste of what life would be like if I lived in this neighborhood in Rome....

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Posted by on Apr 1, 2014 in Architectural Travel, Postcards, Rome | 21 comments

Postcard: Ponte Sant Angelo, Rome

Postcard: Ponte Sant Angelo, Rome

Last spring, the Kimbell Art Museum in Ft. Worth, Texas hosted the exhibition Bernini: Sculpting in Clay. It was at that exhibition, I realized that even after multiple trips to Rome, I’d never actually walked across the Ponte Sant Angelo. The original bridge, called Pons Aelius, was constructed in 136 A.D., during the time of Hadrian. Hadrian wanted to connect the city of Rome with his tomb, now known as Castello Sant Angelo. In 590 A.D., rumour has it that an archangel appeared atop the Castello and the bridge was renamed Ponte Sant Angelo, or bridge of the angel. Later, the bridge was part of the walking route used by pilgrims visiting St. Peter’s Cathedral in the city of Rome. When you walk across the Ponte Sant Angelo, you’ll be accompanied by ten stunning sculptures of angels. The ten angels were not always there, of course. They were added in 1668 by order of Pope Clements IX. He engaged the fabulous Bernini to sculpt ten angels, each holding something...

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