Love-ly Rome, Roman sights and food at Carlo Menta
It is true what they say.
Rome has coined the word romance. Or something like it. I might have just made it up. Because right now it seems very fitting.
The warm weather and Italy’s mild climate by the end of October, our authentic Italian flat, the ancient Roman sights and mesmerizing monuments, our delicious breakfasts in the morning and in a way, the shabbiness of the city…
… the right place to fall in love. Today felt just like it. We were butterflies in the city.
Our surroundings are pretty. Old and new melt together in Rome. Our neighbourhood in Trastevere.
That day, we just took tram 8 straight to Venezia Station (I am sure we chose it because the name is so romantic) and walked around.
The tall trees with their flat crowns are so pretty in Rome. I just wanted to swirl away. At Piazza Venezia.
It felt like spring despite autumn and we were full of energy. (Ignore whatever got into the upper border of the picture.)
Delicate paper hearts were decorating the streets.
Our shadows mirrored the mood. However, we are not Siamese twins.
The birds were chirping. And we had a bit of a Hitchcock moment.
The views are breathtaking in Rome.
It feels like walking through a picture book of the Romans.
Julius Caesar. Wavy tunic, pretty sandals and the torso… muscular. A real man. Not afraid to wear a skirt.
This monument tells the story of Romulus and Remus, the twin sons of Mars, who, due to an unfortunate turn of legends, were saved by a female wolf. Rather than to embrace the gift of life, they started to quarrel over a city, which led to the dead of one and gave power to the other after whom the city was named (take an educated guess).
Ruthless warriors they were, I got excited for Romans early on, as I grew up in Cologne, formerly called Colonia Claudia Ara Agrippinensium. Cologne, located in Germania Inferior, was named after Agrippina, the Roman emperor’s wife.
The need of car parks brought to light some spectacular ruins in Cologne. Roman relics such as mosaics, the impressive tomb of Publicius, the Praetorium (governor’s palace) underneath the City Hall, as well as a section of the Roman sewer are just cool. Kids dig that.
I still remember my teacher’s mnemonic to remember Rome’s year of birth. 753 BC. “Sieben, funf, drei, Rom kroch aus dem Ei!”
They say, Rome is the eternal city. Sadly, nothing is forever, but the ruins are spectacular.
(What is left of ) The Forum Romanum.
View past the Forum Augustus to the new Rome, which is still pretty ancient.
The Colosseum. Great to look at but essentially the place of mass murder. Inaugurated in the year 80 AD by the emperor Titus with grandiose festivities which lasted over three months and killed about 20 000 people and 9 000 animals. Christian martyrs were also murdered in merciless games here. Which made Christianity even more popular. But not animal rights activists.
The Colosseum has close connections to the Roman Catholic Church. Not surprisingly, there was Papa the Pope sitting on a red clothed chair on the street.
I also did a quick aerial of the Colosseum which shows its vastness.
Rome features many amazing churches with amazing miracles. Like the Basilica di Santa Maria in Trastevere where pure oil flowed from the earth on the site of the church, on the day Christ was born. A column next to the altar marks the spot.
Amazing is the creative way through which the church makes money. For 20 cents the lights over the altar go on. That solved the light miracle for me. “Bummer, Rome has another power outage” – I initially thought while taking pictures (in the dark).
Even the sewer system is pleasant to look at in Rome. The Cloaka Maxima. We spotted a duck which had just caught his dinner in the river – a small wiggling fish. I love watching ducks.
Other sights we came across, were endless stands of souvenirs and mass produced Chinese imports.
Everyone will find something for themselves in Rome.
This street is only funny when you speak Polish.
You may walk for hours through the city but there will be no convenient stores or groceries to buy some kind of refreshment.
There are only those vans, which are pretty to look at but hurt your wallet, if you choose to interact. They rip off tourists with drinks for 3-4 Euros or mini water bottles for 2-3 Euros.
This tiny bottle of pear juice (great taste) for 1,50 Euro at a small convenience grocer shop created much happiness. It was like we had found water in the desert.
Also by chance, we found the most charming of streets in Rome. Via Lungaretta. At number 101, we met Carlo Menta. The restaurant is usually packed, also with locals. And that means it is very good.
Conversing in secret couple language, we immediately knew that this was going to be our place for dinner.
Actually, this restaurant serves good food at reasonable prices with no rip off tactics. Well, there is a 1,50 Euro servizio charge per person but it includes fresh bread. And you get a proper bill. Our expenditure for dinner here came to exactly 20 Euros. Only.
Tomek’s pizza had rinsed and crisp rucola (washing lettuce is not common in restaurants hence the positive surprise).
I liked my gnocchis with clams and mussels a lot. Delish dish.
We were sitting outside – so much for the weather we currently enjoy!
There is little that could spoil that. Except smokers. Who don’t give a crap. I remember a friend coming up with a counter attack of deodorant spray. Or worse scents a body could create. (Neither was tested on smokers.)
For desert, we went back to Trastevere for some sweet treats at our already favourite counter restaurant/paticceria/bistro/bar – this mixture works incredibly well here.
You can sip a quick coffee or take away a pizza or point to the food at the counter which they will prepare for you. Or you can sit down and wait for a menu and go for a proper restaurant visit.
It didn’t take long to pick from the lush array of sweets and pastries. Just 1,90 Euros for those sweeties.
Ciao Roma! What a perfect day.