04 July 2017

2016 ITALY Rome 18 - Farmers' Co-op

We visited the Campo de'Fiori market on our first walking tour in Roma, but it was pretty much closed by the time we got there. That was an outdoor market in a piazza near our hotel.

Today we visited an indoor farmers' co-op market, the Mercato di Campagna Amica, in a huge warehouse near Circus Maximus. If you need it for cooking, you'll find it here, plus some. It is open on Saturdays and Sundays. All the products are produced and sold by farmers in the region.

Fresh veggies.

Spices and herbs.

Cured meats.
 More veggies.
Garden tools made of wood.

Plants and flowers.
Grapes, for home-made wine maybe?
Beans, cereals, legumes, and grains.

More meats. Need bacon?
Fish market.
Pestos, marinaras, honeys, preserves, and other condiments. And garlic.

Home-made pasta.

I didn't see any artichokes, so it must not have been the season. But Mike bought peaches and figs to share with the group.

This pup waited patiently outside the market on the foot plate of a scooter, watching intently for his owner. Not tied up or anything. So cute!

2016 ITALY Rome 17 - Winding Way to the Market

Another yummy breakfast at the hotel and a pick up at 09:00 to start the day's activities. We took the round about way to the market, seeing a few more sights.

This is the Palace of Justice, Italy's supreme court building. Built between 1888-1910. It is considered one of the grandest "new" buildings of Italy.

This is the Piazza della Repubblica. Each of these two buildings is a quarter circle surrounding half the square. There is also a big fountain in the middle of the square. Stunningly beautiful and a nod to the history of the wealth in Roma.
Another view of Altare della Patria (Alter of the Fatherland) or national monument to Vittorio Emanuele II, first king of unified Italy, through the streets of Roma.

Again, I just love this building. 
City buses are painted bright colors with graphics of wonderful Roma attractions. This one has the Forum, Saint Peter's, and more.Palatine is the center most of Roma's seven hills and is one of the most ancient parts of the city. It stands 131 feet (40m) above the Forum on one side and Circus Maximus (see below) on the other. Ruins include Flavian Palace and Temple of Apollo.

Circus Maximus. This isn't the best shot (taken from the van), but you can see the long field down right (parallel trails). This was the ancient Roman chariot racing stadium. It was the first and largest stadium in ancient and Empire Rome. It measures 2,037 feet (621m) in length and 387 feet (118m) wide. It accommodated 250,000 spectators. Later, at times, it was used as a dumping quarry for building materials. It is now a public park, concert area, and place for political demonstrations.

This building faces the Piazza Venezia, the central hub of Roma where several main roads intersect. It is the Palazzo Venezia built around 1460 by a Venetian cardinal (later Pope Paul II). It was owned by the church until 1916 when it was turned over to the Italian government. The window with the flags is where Benito Mussolini often gave "inspirational" speeches to the crowds below. It is now a museum.

Santa Maria degli Angeli e dei Martiri (or Basilica of Saint Mary of Angels and Martyrs). It was constructed in the 16th century following a design by Michelangelo. Part of this structure was originally the royal baths constructed in 298 AD. You can certainly tell the difference of which is which.

The whole of Roma is a giant living museum. Every which way you turn there are ruins. They can be rustic or artistic. New buildings can be built on top of or incorporating into old one. Bits and pieces are recycled into new architectural uses. You may not have any idea of their significance, but they are beautiful and interesting. Conjures up what might have been.

Also, along the way numerous aqueducts were pointed out. There were eleven in all. They supplied each resident in Roma with 400 gallons of fresh water per day.

Just so Italian, playing kissy face on the street at 09:00. Sooo romantic! As Michael Moore says, "Why does it always look like Italian couples just had sex!" This couple sure does. Oh, and I wonder if the motorcycle is his or hers. She has the leather jacket!

01 July 2017

2016 ITALY Rome 16 - Doggie Bag!

Our next stop was Gelateria del Teatro. This is a modest little establishment selling fantastic gelato and ices. The only preservative in their products is "cold." The line was long, but moved fast and definitely worth the wait.
After getting our order, we sat around small white tables with white chairs, very ice cream parlor-ish. Mike had a scoop each of pistachio and watermelon. I ordered peach. It was pretty warm that day and these treats were VERY refreshing and SO tasty.

I loved this sign on their wall. Instead of everyone with eyes on their phones, people were happily talking and interacting together. Smiles instead of furrowed brows. Yay!

Next we whisked past Piazza del Popolo (People's Square), a large urban space. For centuries this was the place for public executions, the last being held in 1826. In the center of the square is an ancient Egyptian obelisk. Three sides were carved during Pharaoh Seti's reign (1290-1279BC) and the fourth side during Ramesses II's time (1279-1213BC). It is topped with a pyramid shaped cap. (Sorry, no photos.)

On our way to Piazza di Spagna (plaza of the Spanish Steps), we motored past elaborate homes and gardens of the ancient rich on Pincian Hill. The Steps were our last attraction of the day. Years ago I had climbed and lounged my way to the top and back down with girlfriend Sandy on a promotional airline trip. This time, however, the steps were under construction. No loungers, no meet-ups, and no beautiful purple-pinkish azaleas. Still a sight not to miss.
They were built in 1723-1725 by little known architect Francesco de Sanctis. The project was funded with 20,000 scudi, a bequeath from French diplomat √Čtienne Gueffier. Gueffier wanted to link the Spanish Embassy, the Trinit√† dei Monti Church (under the patronage of King Louis XIV of France) with the Spanish piazza below. A statue of King Louis was planned for the top of the steps, but the pope nixed that idea. There are 135 steps in kind of a butterfly shape.

At the bottom of the steps is an early baroque fountain titled Fontana della Barcaccia or Fountain of the Old Boat. It was designed in 1629 by Pietro Bernini, father of the famous Gian Lorenzo Bernini. Folk legend says that the sinking boat was carried all the way from the Tiber River during a flood in the 16th century.

Also in the area was this interesting Column of the Immaculate Conception with wrought iron decoration.
We arrived back to the hotel about 17:30. It was a long day and we had a short time to refresh for dinner. We headed back out at 19:45 for a ten minute walk to Chef Angelo Troin's Il Convivio Troiani. This is a one-star Michelin restaurant.

We dined in a private and elegant room. The ladies were given miniature "footstools" to set our purses on. The table decorations were intriguing--branches with beautifully colored potato chips "clothes-pinned" onto them. The chip colors nicely coordinated with the art glass dinnerware. It's these kinds of little and creative things that make a Michelin star restaurant.
 Here is the paired wine and tasting menu which included many pre- and post-course surprises not listed.

Crackers were served in slits carved into a bamboo "log."
Some pretty appetizers.

Not sure exactly what this was, but I remember it was delish, as was every single course!
Spaghetti with toppings.

Deep fried mushroom, potato, and stuffed zucchini blossom.
Watermelon ice.
The evening ended with a final surprise--a little doggie / cookie bag to go. It was suggested to continue the meal through the next day with morning coffee. I must admit, however, these tasty treats were eaten as a midnight snack.

We got home at midnight. No much sleep that night as I was stuffed all wound up.