We started off our day visiting the bar. Yep, we hit the bar first thing in the morning! In Rome, the bar is a coffee shop, where Romans get an espresso and a pastry before heading to work. We got to the bar and they had no menu. So we just did our best to place an order. I ordered hot chocolate and a pastry. Cliff is not really a pastry guy. I noticed that there was a bowl full of oranges on the counter so I suggested he get an espresso and an orange. So he asked the guy for an orange. Instead of just giving Cliff the orange, he threw them in the juicer and Cliff had fresh squeezed oranges for breakfast. It was a nice surprise, and Cliff ordered it everyday after that.
The week before we left for our trip I called the Colosseo and booked a tour. For the first time, (I believe ever) a limited number of people per day were allowed on the lower level of the Colosseo, and to the third level. I had been to the Colosseo previously, but not on a guided tour. I am so glad we decided on this tour. It was a little pricey at 27 Euros each but it was definitely worth it. I believe they began offering the tour in November 2010 and ended it 1 month later. So, we were very lucky to be able to see the lower level and the third level. I also recommend taking a guided tour of the Colosseo. We had a very knowledgeable guide who spoke excellent English.
Next we headed towards the Pantheon for lunch. We stopped at another little outdoor café and enjoyed lunch under the heaters. We loved that we were able to eat nearly every meal outside. Most restaurants had heat lamps. We were pretty hungry so we ordered a garlic and oil bruschetta to split and we each ordered an individual pizza. What can I say, we had walked a long way! We enjoyed our pizza but it wasn’t the best pizza we would have on our trip.
Next, we headed to the Pantheon. I don’t know exactly what was going on, but I think it was closed for Mass or something, so we could not get in. One of the gelato places on my list, Della Palma, was near the Pantheon so we went there next. Wow! This place had sooooooo many choices. I think at least 100 different flavors. We chose lemon (of course), strawberry, and chocolate strawberry. This was the best lemon I have ever had. It was amazing! The strawberry was also very good. I liked the chocolate strawberry at first but it soon got to be too much. It tasted just like chocolate covered strawberries though. So far I definitely liked Della Palma better than San Crispino.
After gelato we went back to the apartment for our afternoon nap!
After our nap we took the metro to Piazza Barberini. I remembered there being a cool fountain there , and I thought Cliff might like to take some pictures. The fountain was not as great as I remembered, but Cliff still got some great shots.
We walked from Piazza Barberini to the Pantheon area and then to Piazza Navona. We took some pictures of the Piazza and then went to dinner. Dinners in Rome are much more of an event than what we are used to. I think dinner typically lasts 2 or more hours. We actually really enjoyed this. There were tons of people dining outside drinking wine and talking for hours. For dinner we ordered the garlic and oil bruschetta (again), and a tomato-basil one. Both were excellent. Cliff ordered a gnocchi ragu and I ordered penne with vodka sauce. Cliff’s gnocchi were unlike any gnocchi I had ever had. They really just melted in your mouth. My penne with vodka sauce was also good, but just not what I am used to. We enjoyed both, but Cliff”s was much more memorable!
After dinner I wanted to go to the third gelato place on my list, Giolitti. It is one of the oldest and most famous gelato places in Rome. According to my guidebook it was right in Piazza Navona. So we walked around for awhile but we never found it, so we just headed home. We would just have to try again the next day!!