Our time in Rome was so limited I felt a little like we were running the gauntlet- some might say that a trip like that is wasted on children and that they don’t appreciate where they are and what they are looking at, but it’s less about expecting them to fall gratefully at our feet and understand how lucky they are and more about instilling a thirst for travel within them. They won’t always be little but they will remember that time they went to Elba and the mad dash to Rome and with any luck ( as with the other two) they will want to revisit these places when they are older and more able to appreciate it and you never know they may also drag their own offspring off on crazy adventures.
Our first port of call was the Trevi Fountain, it’s always been a jostle for a nice picture, it’s a very popular tourist attraction in the city but I don’t think I’ve ever seen it as packed as it was. It being august certainly didn’t help the crowding but the many trying to bag that instagramable picture were quite frankly a pain.
Around 3000€ are thrown into the fountain each year. each night this is collected and given to charity, the charity use the money to supply a supermarket in Rome for its poorer families.
Everyone wants a picture they can be proud of but waiting while one woman makes umpteen poses flicking her hair, bending her body in unnatural position and tutting when other tourists got caught in her shot just got irritating. Our patience ran thin so we placed ourselves took our shot and left the many disgruntled girls to it.
Our second stop was the Spanish steps, these appeared to have the addition of ‘Spanish steps police’: overzealous inspectors armed with whistled who weren’t afraid to use them. God forbid you dared to place your rear end on the steps, no sooner had your bottom made contact with the marble and an ear-splitting blast would be sounded in your direction.
There are 135 steps, the steps were named ‘The Spanish steps’ because the Spanish embassy was housed nearby. The English poet Keates also lived and died close by
Ever the rebel: Eva performed several gymnastics poses for photographic purposes and did so without alerting the inspectors. With no time to stop we swiftly moved on. Admiring the work of the many street performers, some sang some did tricks, some did no more than sit for hour upon hour on uncomfortable unseeable frames posing as genies as we moved on by.
The day was beginning its downward slide into the evening which limited our option considerably for what to do with two children, we’d done nothing but rush since leaving Elba that morning and we all had to admit that a little downtime and a breather would be beneficial to everyone.
It has to be said that I’m a succa for a tradition; I believe it aids memory making and so it was to my favourite haunt we headed- The Hard Rock Cafe: almost every major city has one and I’ve now frequented a fair few but self-set rules apply- to be able to purchase merchandise you need to have consumed something on the premises ( not a bad rule).
Grateful of a sit down we perused the costly drinks menu, settling for mocktails and beer. No trip to the Hard Rock is complete without a visit to the shop. Wide-eyed the children moved around the store trying to narrow down their hopeful purchases.
Finally, William settled on a bear and badges while Eva opted for her first t-shirt. It was now tea time, preferring to eat traditional Italian fayre we left The Hard Rock Cafe behind us in search of some real food.
I know this place has Americanism oozing from its walls and has no culture that resonates with the city in which it resides but I love it regardless.
There are eateries aplenty, all produce food fit for gods I’m sure, outside they have tables and large umbrellas set up for alfresco dining complete with aging waiters who attempt to entice you into their particular restaurant. This must be hard with the abundance of choice for tourists but equally, there are more than enough hungry mouths to feed all of the establishments so I suspect they all make their fair share of money.
we arrived at the Restaurante trattoria tritone1884 and were easily convinced to enter. We chose to sit inside where the ambiance was very much homely and peasant-like: simply decorated it reminded me of my great grandmother’s house. Still fairly early for dining in Italy we found it to be quite empty which suited us fine. Learning I had Italian roots the waiters were very interested to speak to me about my family and how we came to find ourselves in Rome.
Hunger and eyes bigger than our bellies caused us to order enough food to feed a small army but it was hard to resist the pull of the antipasti: large, organically grown tomatoes that had a taste of sunshine – if there is such a thing- accompanied by buffalo mozzarella: so creamy it melted on the tongue and a platter of cured meat. Our starter was enough to fill us all and we still had our mains to eat yet.
None of us could face yet more pizza and I had had my fill of fancy food so for me it was a simple cannelloni that was anything but ordinary. You can be rest assured that nothing they serve has ever seen the inside of a freezer before it sees the oven. Eva and William were more than content with their mountain of bolognese, I think the chef thought these two English kids could do with fattening up a bit! Mark selected a traditional roman dish: Cacio e pepe, delivered to the table by our waiter on a wooden trolley it was then finished in front of our eyes as he grated and grated and grated what seemed to be an entire block of parmesan on to it that he then skillfully blended in without spilling a crumb or losing a strand of spaghetti.
We all had to admit, it had been the best food we’d eaten thus far but when we were offered the dessert menu we had to graciously bow out. We paid the bill and rolled out the door, our walk to the hotel was much needed to walk off the carbs we’d all consumed.
The end of a crazy day and we were all more than ready for bed. There was half a day left to explore before home beckoned.