We saw | We ate | What we brought home | All the rest

We saw

Rome holds a special place in my heart, which may endure forever . The city that redefined family holidays for us – no trip to MacDees or any other fast food place, not even to use the bathroom. What an accomplishment. Who wouldn’t measure success like that, if you had three under-5s who got hungry in a hurry?  Now if that’s not award winning, I don’t know what is. In fact the one time we tried fries or anything closely related to junk food, it was a disaster. Stick to what you know and what works is a good motto to have.

McDees from a distance Worst meal ever

Rome is amazing – history, culture, cuisine, warm people – all the elements for a great holiday. Did I forget tropical climes and gelato? How could I?

We stayed in Trastevere, a lovely though somewhat old neighbourhood in the city of Rome. This city is choc full of monument and ruins. When we were out walking the streets, we happened upon Landmark after Landmark, even when it wasn’t in the plan.

Roman ruinsPortico D'Ottavia

We played spot SPQR and ended up punctuating almost every sentence in the course of our stay with here’s another one. Except when we were back in our apartment.

What SPQR means SPQR on a signboardSPQR on a wall colock SPQR

We laughed with excitement everytime we saw a fountainand that was a lot of times. Something refreshing and awakening about water.

Hot to use a water fountain

We saw enough of monuments and landmarks –The great typewriter, the Colosseum, and all the rest.

The Colosseum from our tourbus

We ate

I think this was our best family holiday, the kids loved it and we, the parents loved it too. Who else can judge otherwise? My husband had his desired Cabonara and Gelato, the girls had gelato and bolognaise with amazing frequency and I had my Fiori di Zucca – two ways.

We walked to Campo di Fiori – a delightful market. The kids got  offered loads of  biscuits and fruits . My husband and daughter were in heaven – gelato heaven. We must have sampled every gelateria we came across – well, not really. I had my fiori de zucca, saw the largest paprikas I’ve ever seen, and brought back some Amalfi lemons

The artistry with gelato in this city is amazing.  

Colosseum icecream_3 The Colosseum

I mean you can understand that no trip to Rome is complete without ice-cream. Honest. Of course, we paid pilgrimage to Giolitti’s – arguably the best gelati in all of rome – ancient and modern. It’s a very funny system that operates here. You have to get a ticket from the counter for what you want first before going to get the ice-cream. My husband made 2 trips to the counter. For his own purposes.  And without an upset stomach too. I think he did well though, considering the fact we met a lady who on a previous visit had been there 4 times. In 1 day. She may have been pregnant mind you….. I seem to recall having those kind of cravings… but that’s all behind me now.

Giolitti's Paying for gelati Selection of flavoursService please Tuck inGelato at Giolitti_2 Gelato at Giolitti_Giolitti's trashcan Gelato plate

It was on our return to do a tour of the Pantheon that the catcalls started. Loads of restaurant waiters were out on the street trying to entice guests with meal offers. By nature I seem to be a fairly suspicious human being. But that doesn’t have to be a bad thing does it? Yes, it was dinner time – well yes, dessert before dinner – don’t you just hate it when that happens.

Anyway we sort of got pulled into a restaurant and sat down to dinner. I ordered saltimbocca and my husband went for a ‘seafood meal’. Because it was almost time for our tour, I dashed to the Pantheon to see if we could cancel. I couldn’t find the guide where were supposed to meet up and so hurried back to dinner (it turned out later the guide got tied up elsewhere, and we have a free city tour the next time we’re in Rome).  The food had come and was kept warm for my return and it was lovely. Till I saw and tasted my husband’s meal. Delicious seafood with pasta, wrapped and baked in a bag of foil. You could tell there were no spices and yet it had the most amazing flavours. I kept the receipt and when I looked it up, discovered it was Ling Cartoccio. A couple of google searches later, I had found some recipes and set out to repeat the feat, and repeat I did.

After dinner  we stopped by San Crispino, some say it’s the second best in Rome. My husband thought it was strange and funny that the ice-cream was in closed containers, after all, you really want to see to buy, don’t you? He felt the shop was also too sterile looking – more suitable for a knife shop!  Anyway, it didn’t stop us from having servings.

San Crispino_3 Bowls to size San Crispino_1

Where better to buy a tee-shirt proclaiming how much we love Ice-cream but Rome?

Icecream - we love it

For me the highlight of my trip was going to Campo di Fiori. What a delight. Lovely sellers – we met a lady who proclaimed her love for Obama, the kids got offered fruit and cookies, I saw the biggest Paprikas I’ve ever seen and I brought home some Amalfi lemons.

Campo di Fiori A sea of pasta Amalfi lemonsPaprikaVeg on display Barrack fan Smile

Did I forget to mention I had deep  fried Courgette flowers, stuffed with Cheese.  I would go back to Rome just to spend the day a Campo di Fiori.

Whole Fiori di Zucca One big bite

What we brought home

Memories of great food. Recipes to repeat forever. The story continues – even the quality of food in the local supermarket was astounding. I made a delicious meal of pan-fried salmon trout with creamy pasta con fiori di zucca. It was outstanding. Though I learned that the fish remained moister and more succulent when I left it in the pan. Well actually my husband made the discovery. My food critic man!

Fantastico Homemade Pasta con fiori di zucca Salmon trout

Rome was amazing – I think we had one sub-par meal italian meal, which in itself wasn’t bad at all. The quality of food was good. Everywhere we went. And I think the greatest relief for me as a parent was to see my kids eat with gusto. We were never in search of the closest ’quick’ restaurant. Where ever we went, they ate, and loved it. I loved the windo views of the pastry shops, though I never stopped by any to sample the wares.

Pastries through a shop window Rolls through a shop window Cookies through a shop window

All the rest

All I have to say is, thank you Rome for giving me the gift. When shall I see you again? The city of Vespas and Lasagna electorals?

Vespas Only in Rome


  1. Sounds like a fantastic trip. Hope you got to try the penne all’arrabbiata – another local speciality – pasta with tomatoes and chillies.

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