We woke up on Saturday well rested and to glorious sunshine. After a hearty breakfast (the Nutella croissants at the cafe down the road were ah-mazing) and a few cups of the strongest and smoothest coffee I’ve ever drank, we were ready to go.
The Colosseum is by far more relaxing and pleasant than the Vatican. There was a much shorter queue (unless you hadn’t pre-booked your tickets) and because it’s outdoors it doesn’t feel claustrophobic at all, despite being surrounded by what feels like hundreds of different languages.
As we had planned a large dinner for the evening we didn’t want to make the error of filling up at lunchtime. On the Torre Argentina is a small sandwich shop that I’d sourced out on Trip Advisor.
The fact that there was a queue of Italians out the door would have also been a good clue. Fresh, tasty ingredients and home-baked bread made for a quick, tasty lunch on the go.
The Torre Argentina is rumoured to be where Julius Caesar was assassinated and has been made into one of the many protected historical sites in Rome. Over time the square has been overrun by stray cats. I hate seeing stray cats on holiday – we Swans are big cat people – and I feel so sorry for them! Chris has to stop me feeding them and sneaking them back into the hotel room. On the Torre Argentina, however, two wonderful volunteers have built a sanctuary where the cats now live.
Many of them are injured from car accidents, and are blind or deaf but they have a warm bed, a healthy diet and as much attention as they want from the visitors they get every day. The sanctuary was under threat a few years ago but, thankfully, the political climate changed and they were allowed to stay.
This place completely stole my heart; it’s such a wonderful thing to do and they only run off donations from the public. You can donate to them here.
This little guy is my new best friend…
Eventually, I was dragged away from Torre Argentina and we spent the rest of the afternoon meandering around the Jewish Ghetto and lapping up the sunshine.
For dinner, we decided to check out the Trastevere neighbourhood. This area came highly recommended from a friends mum who’s very familiar with Rome so we couldn’t leave without paying a visit. Far away from the hustle and bustle of the squares and tourists is a winding, cobbled maze of restaurants, bars and markets. The whole area looked like it was from a film set; high buildings, beautiful architecture and tiny wine bars made it such a beautiful and tranquil place to end the day.
We started with a glass of Pinot at Allegro…
For €4 a glass, it was doubly delicious!
The menu here is buffet style and all looked so colourful and delicious however, we wanted a more typical ‘sit down’ meal.
If you don’t know where you’re heading to in Trastevere you could easily get lost and wander around for hours, there is always another restaurant to look at down the road or another side street to explore.
We eventually settled on La Scaletta.
Ordered a(nother) bottle of Pinot…
And read over the extensive menu.
We ordered some appetisers to share:
Tomato & rocket bruschetta
Fried courgette flowers
Hand cut Norcia ham.
The ham absolutely stole the show and we could have both happily just feasted on this all night. It was smokey, tasty and thickly cut. YUUUM!!
Sadly (or not depending on how you look at it) we had already ordered mains.
Pizza Bombetta (tomato, mozzarella, salami, ham and red pepper) for Chris
Spaghetti alla Carbonara for me
The spaghetti was a liiiittle bit too ‘al dente’ for me but apparently that’s how it’s supposed to be done and who am I to argue!?
After lingering over the rest of the wine and watching the waiters rush frantically to seat the never ending queue of people coming through the door, we smugly ordered pudding.
+ limoncello (when in Rome…)
The chocolate mousse was VERY rich and my tiramisu was perfectly creamy.
The limoncello went down a treat – smoothy smooth.
By this time the wine plus the effect of walking about 10miles that day meant that we were practically falling asleep at the table so we got the bill, found the main road and cabbed it back to the hotel – did you know they have Uber in Rome? How handy!
Rome has rocketed it’s way up to my #2 European destination – topped only by London itself, of course – and I can’t wait to come back.