Let me try to convince you to make the trip up to the Montesacro/Talenti neighborhood in the north of Rome, where the food is cheap, the tourists scarce and the true “vita romana” is in full swing.
Summer in Rome is weird. It feels a little like being back in middle school, with everyone waiting for June and looking forward to summer vacation. Because everyone takes time off in August here, sometimes for the whole month, the summer doesn't feel like having a full time job usually does. I'm going back to the States for about three weeks and then have a beach holiday planned for the end of August. And this situation isn't strange for Italians. EVERYONE takes at least a couple weeks off in the summer. Stores close, buses don't run as often and aside from tourists, Rome starts to feel like an abandoned city. This is all to say that the summer vacation feels are kicking in and it's hard to focus on work when the weather is hot and beach time is so close. These are some of the things I've been up to this past week, and a small guide to summer in Rome.
Taking plenty of breaks during the working day, going on fun weekend trips, and having aperitivo on the beach as often as possible all help make the summer more fun. Edoardo and I head to Fregene often for drinks or a meal because there are lots of restaurants and beach clubs with seats on the beach, but Ostia is also nice and accessible by train.
Gelato breaks are one of my few motivations during the hot summer days here in Rome. There's nothing better than a lemon or raspberry sorbetto when it's past 90 degrees F. Check out my favorite gelato spots in Rome.
While I have to go to the center of Rome for work, it's best to steer clear in the summer months. Because everything is so hot and there are SO MANY people around, it's definitely not as much fun to visit the monuments in July or August. But if you do have to go, get out early in the morning to skip the crowd.
I also enjoy checking Facebook and other event pages for outdoor events in Rome for the summer. Going to concerts, food festivals and other events is such a fun way to spend time in a city.
I hope everyone has a great week and has at least one summer holiday to look forward to :)
It's been a couple weeks since I last posted and it's good to be back. We're in the swing of summer here in Rome and I'm getting an influx of visitors, as well as taking on some more work, so it's harder to dedicate as much time to the blog as I would like. Anyways, today's post is going to be all about what sorts of things I did in Rome and the surrounding area with my best friend who visited last week. There are some good spots in here and I plan on writing full posts about some of my new favorite restaurants, things to do in Rome, and destinations. My five highlights from the week, below:
Wine-tasting and "Cantina Aperte" in Umbria
Last weekend, we went to a vineyard in Umbria called Tenuta Vitalonga Winery. I definitely want to write a post about this great agriturismo and vineyard, but for now it's enough to say that we spent the entire day drinking different types of wine with an open buffet of food, for €20. They had a fun event going with live music and bottomless bottles, with tours of the vineyard and wine production process.
I also got to meet fellow Italian blogger, Ishita of Italophilia, and spent such a nice afternoon with her around Campo de' Fiori and Trastevere. We got drinks, checked out English bookshops and chatted about all things Italy. Check out her Twitter and Instagram (@italophilia) for daily bits of this beautiful place.
Aperitivo at MASTO
Testaccio is always the cool place to go for local shops and typical Roman food. I was really impressed with my quick aperitivo at MASTO because of their service and wide selection of meats, cheese, and wine (what else do you need in life?) We stopped here before heading to Flavio al Velavevodetto and had a great meat/cheese board and a fabulous white wine recommended by the owner. He says that they're doing very well and are planning to expand soon to other cities in Italy as well!
Weekend beach trip to Sabaudia
As always, a beach trip was exactly what I needed. After spending a lot of time in the center checking out all of Rome's lovely monuments and neighborhoods, we escaped the hot weather and went to the coast for a couple days. We lounged (mostly under an umbrella), ate fish, drank spritzes and pretty much enjoyed life.
Summer has officially hit Rome and I'm doing everything I can to keep cool. While it's nothing compared to the temperatures in August, we've had 80-85 degree days all week. For me this means plenty of gelato, eating outside, time on the balcony and trying to stay cool on public transportation. It's also a great excuse to get out of the city on the weekend to head where its cooler. Like I mentioned last week, we've already hit the beach and mountain towns the past few weekends. And this weekend, my best friend is visiting from the US which is so exciting. We're planning plenty of time in the center of Rome and trips to vineyards and the coast. I'm sure I'll have lots of new photos next week, but for now check out what I'm loving recently:
With all of the weekend trips we've been taking, I've really tried to do my produce shopping outside of Rome as well. The food is so much better, cheaper and fresher when you get it from farm stands instead of at supermarkets. Italy also has amazing produce in general, with fruits and vegetables that have very strong natural flavors compared to what I was used to in the U.S. Aside from getting all in of the pizza and pasta while visiting Italy, definitely try some fresh veggies or fruit as well!
I've always noticed the cute rooftop bar overlooking Piazza di Spagna and the Spanish Steps but last weekend was the first time I got a chance to check it out. Il Palazzetto is a hotel, restaurant, cafe and bar all in one, but I wouldn't recommend it for the food. A quick aperitivo of a rossini (prosecco and strawberry puree) and a beer were what we got and while the prices are higher due to the location, the sunset and atmosphere were worth it. Great for pre-dinner drinks or a quick stop during a day of sight-seeing in the center.
Just because Rome is beautiful, its flowers are amazing and I'm happy to be here :)
The culture of aperitivo in Italy is rooted in tradition and is one of my favorite aspects of life here. It's the idea of "preparing" your stomach for dinner with a pre-dinner drink and light snacks. Usually. It's really taken on a life of its own in Rome, however, and you can find aperitivo's with more food than light snacks. Aperitivo can be a substitute for dinner or a light drink before something heavier. Either way, it's a fantastic way to spend time with friends, at cool locations in the city. And depending on the spot, you can get a beer, glass of wine (maybe a prosecco) and always the famous Italian aperitivo drink, the spritz. I like mine light on the aperol, with plenty of fruit garnishes.
I do plan on writing up a more comprehensive guide to aperitvo's in Rome, but for today, I'm giving an overview of a famous aperitivo location in Rome, Momart Cafè. This restaurant/bar is well established among locals and is known for its unlimited and abundant buffet and beautifully-made cocktails. This is not your typical potato chips and nuts situation: Momart has an entire room full of food platters, with a separate dessert station and pizza oven that cranks out pizza for the masses. It's always full, there's always a line and you always leave feeling stuffed. Momart Cafe is one of the best aperitivo spots in Rome for the quantity/variety of foods and creative cocktail choices.
From 6:00 to 10:30, you can try out the aperitivo at this restaurant, starting at €10 for a drink and unlimited food. Getting "apericena" or aperitivo/dinner is a great option to save money and find food around the city at earlier dining hours. Aperitivo starts around 5 or 6 in the afternoon in Italy, while dinner won't be served until 7 or 8.
Momart has a beautiful terrace, which is heated in the winter and is all outdoors, surrounding by plants. There's also plenty of seating indoors, where you can watch the feast as it happens.
The main room has a large table with pasta dishes, salads, sides, meats and cheese and a separate pizza oven with slices of different pizzas. The dessert booth changes frequently but when I was there, I tried a deconstructed tiramisu, with different flavored-creams.
If you're in the city, you need to try this to experience one of the best aperitivo in Rome. It's a great way to see another side to the Italian culture of large lunches and late dinners. Aperitivo is where Romans meet up to chat after work and just appreciate the "vita bella" that they live.
Monday-Sunday 12:00 pm-2:00 am
Viale Ventuno Aprile, 19, 00162