Greetings Dear Readers: I am very grateful to have visited Rome, where Robin and I enjoyed four days last week. But, have you ever read the Boston Globe's blind date feature, "Dinner with Cupid?" It seems the contestants often conclude: "I did not feel any chemistry." I felt the same way about Rome: it was a pleasant visit, but will there be a second date? Probably not.
Rome has the nickname City of Fountains and has over 2,000 within its boundaries. We enjoyed them in our walks around the central city, including the most famous Trevi Fountain both by day and at night. Rome also impressed me with: the many ancient ruins and their modern-day preservation and access; the character of an ancient city with no modern skyscrapers; a superb AirBnB; the ease for an English speaker to enjoy the city; the place with 150 flavors of delicious gelato! (More on this one below.)
I was disappointed in:
-- how difficult it was to walk around the city - the narrow, cobbled streets often lack sidewalks, and the auto/motorcycle traffic is constant and fast!
-- the repetitive, limited and "just OK" restaurant cuisine;
-- getting physically pushed around.
Re: the pushing: this was a repeated occurrence for me. One morning, I was standing at a bakery counter preparing to order breakfast when a man came up behind me, placed both his hands on my shoulders and shoved me aside so he could get in front of me! At least the proprietors refused to help him. But I got pushed with hands or body shoving on the street multiple times. Clearly I move too slowly for the Romans ☹️.
It's no surprise that Rome is very crowded with tourists, but that was an expected part of the visit. On the plus side, most everyone we encountered in the tourist industry spoke English, and helped us out in the friendliest of manners while appreciating Robin's Italian and accepting my lack thereof. We did a lot of walking to see the sights.
You want to hear about food next, right? Sorry to say that after reading and hearing so many rave reviews of Italy's cuisine, this was a letdown. Don't get me wrong - our meals were all fine and I'm not complaining about a lack of decent food. But it didn't live up to the HYPE! Exception: gelato on every corner and several delicious samples - see below.
We had an E-bike adventure on our 4th day, when we booked a tour to see the Via Appia (aka the ancient "Appian Way" from Rome to Capua) and the remains of centuries-old Aqueducts. Our guide was excellent (and so was the one at the Colosseum - we're definitely discovering the joys of a guided tour.) The engineering in ancient Rome was astounding and I loved seeing a surviving aqueduct, which transported water to the City for the people and all those fountains!
Robin and I always enjoy the chance to ride Electric bikes, which afford the opportunity to pedal, but allow us to go further with an electric "boost" as needed. However the Appian Way was mostly uneven cobblestones, Rome has that crazy traffic, I fell after missing a sharp turn, and Robin's bike got a flat tire! We think next time, we'll look for a more bike-friendly place to pursue this mode of sight-seeing.
And now regarding that gelato! As major ice-cream fans we were excited to try several samples in Italy. Some were better than others, but both Robin and I were repeat customers of frutti di bosco - mixed berry. When I stumbled upon the place with 150 flavors, Gelato Della Palma, I had to go in. I really enjoyed my amazing Mora (blackberry) and dark chocolate combo! I leave you with this little video. Ciao and Grazie mille for reading!