Saturday, October 30, 2021

A Foodie's 24 Hours in Rome

Rome offers a plethora of fabulous foodie experiences outside of fine dining

A gastronomic tour of Rome in only one day?  Some may say impossible, but I’m proof it can be done.   Why only one day?  I have visited Rome 30-40 times, but I had a WineKnows’ group in Sicily and the only tolerable routing back home was one that required an overnight in Rome.  Senza probelma!

Here’s my schedule:

9 am:  Depart Palermo, Sicily

10 am:  Arrive airport Rome

                      Hotel Campo di Fiori is located in the historic epicenter of Rome

11:30-12:30:  Check-in to my beloved Campo di Fiori hotel, where I had a glass of fresh squeezed OJ & a cappuccino on my terrace to prepare for the remainder of the Herculean day.

                                  Campo di Fiori's magical setting market attacks locals & tourists  

12:30-1:15:  Then, a quick tour of the Campo Fiori daily market located just out my front door.  The market was brimming with luscious autumn produce such as fresh funghi porcini (Italy’s premier wild mushroom), glorious eggplants in several shapes and sizes, as well as a wide assortment of persimmons and pomegranates.

                     Think of Eataly as a football stadium full of items for food-lovers

1:15-2:30 pm:  Next, I took a cab to EATALY.    A foodies’ one–stop shopping emporium, EATALY is located a 10-15 minute cab ride from the heart of downtown Rome. The huge complex, once a train station, is now three stories of pure unadulterated pleasure for food-lovers.

I bought a basket full of goodies such as dried funghi porchini mushrooms, white truffle oil, and truffle-flavored balsamico (perfect for travelers, it came in a small plastic bottle).  I also purchased several kitchen towels for my foodie friends back home.  I wandered through their outstanding wine area, however, as tempting as it was my bags were already packed to the brim after nearly two months of travel.   

                              Eatlay's smoky wood-fired pizzas are some of the best I have ever had 

As the small glass of orange juice was the only food I had eaten, I dropped by Eataly’s wood-fired bakery and bought a small piece of fresh-out of the oven buffalo di mozzarella & fresh funghi porcini pizza.

2:45-3pm:  Returned by cab & dropped off purchases at my hotel.

                            Sant'Eustachio is crowded at all times of day or night

3-3:30pm:  One of my favorite coffee places in all of Italy is located near the Pantheon, just a short 5-7 minute walk from my hotel.   Sant’ Eustachio Caffè has been on my coveted list for >40 years.  I would consider it sacrosanct to visit Roma without one of their coffees.   The bar area offers some of the best people watching in Rome.  Local businessmen in Brioni suits jockey for space with tourists in t-shirts.   

                   Piazza Margana is only a few minutes from the Forum, but a world away

3:45-5:30:  Revived now after my coffee I decided to enjoy a long walk through some of my favorite spots:  the Roman Forum & Colisseum, the wedding cake monument (AKA Victorio Emmanuelle), the Theatre of Marcello, and the tiny but charming Piazza Margana (where I rented an apartment for a week some years ago). 

                                           A tartufo is an insanely rich deep chocolate ice-cream

5:30-6:15pm:  The restaurant in which I had reserved didn’t open until 7:30 and my orange juice & small piece of pizza had long ago faded for sustainment.  I decided to splurge (hey, it’s my last night after being gone nearly 2 months!), so I made my way to Piazza Navona (just a few minutes walk from my hotel).   Although the square is one of the most iconic in all of Rome, I was here for a tartufo at Caffe Tre Scalini.  Their tartufo is akin to a religious experience for chocolate lovers.  Pure decadence, I can think of no better way for a foodie to say “Arrivederci, Roma.”  

6:30-7:30:   A yummy bath to prepare for the long journey home tomorrow.

                               Counstanza is a hidden culinary gem well worth seeking-out

7:30-9pm:   Located just off the Piazza di Campo Fiori (hence, only a few minute’s walk from my hotel), is one of my favorite restaurants for Roman cuisine, Coustanaza Hostaria.   Located in a cave (yes, a cave!), Coustanza knocks it out of the park with an enchanting setting, superb service, and amazing classical Roman cooking.  My first course was Roman-styled artichokes (first prepared by the Jews of Rome >1,500 years ago), then a small plate of funghi porcini pasta. 

                                    Campo di Fiori's rooftop is splendido day or night

9:30pm:   I had been in Rome less than 12 hours and I wasn’t quite ready to say buona notte.  Hotel Campo di Fiori’s rooftop garden offers a wonderful respite from the fury of Rome's nightlife,  and is the perfect quiet spot to detox from a long journey through Croatia, Greece, Spain & Italy in the midst of a pandemic.  Plus, it was a full moon so I couldn’t resist.

8 am:  My taxi swept me away through a tangle of Roman rush hour traffic.  I loved the slow ride as it gave me time for one last look at Rome.   I’ve been here less than 24 hours but with so many memories of my >30 trips to this wonderful town, it felt like a week….or two.

Viva Roma!