Seduce, enchant, hypnotize.
She will make you go crazy while you are stuck in traffic, but then will easily make you forgive her.
Made of fountains, cobblestones, hidden cloisters and churches with streets filled with light, history and art, loud markets, gluttonous food, “ma che ve lo dico a fa’ (“why am I even telling you?”) – this city is simply in a magic state.
You will be surrounded by art, not just in the walls of the Vatican Museums or the city’s ancient palazzos, but in the details, in the expressions, superstitions, facial expressions and hand gestures, made of people born and raised here, of others adopted by her and of the ones who leave and, sooner or later, always come back.
Welcoming, the more the better, all its people make her genuine, make her mamma.
Bits of Romanity will become part of who you are, that when you leave you’ll take her with you in the form of a pack of rigatoni and a sealed bag of guanciale meticulously put away in your luggage.
We all have been dreaming of stepping into Audrey Hepburn’s shoes, driving through Rome on a Vespa – but what happens when Roman Holiday is over and you find yourself walking through those streets, feeling part of this spontaneous chaos? When a weekend getaway turns into your everyday life? When you get to fall in love with it not just for its looks but for its personality.
To truly experience Rome you should follow her silently, without her noticing, almost not to distract her, without google maps, or directions, without too much logic, or any strict agenda.
You might be pleasantly surprised by what you might find and the people you’ll meet, and the person you’ll become after months of vita Romana.
We have been thinking of places and expressions that Rome would use to tell us about herself. Below are the details, places, and people who tell us about Rome from her own perspective.
HOW TO BE TRULY PART OF IT
Piazza Campo De’ Fiori
An early wake up call is suggested for this one, you want to be part of its waking hours; when the florist who’s been there for over thirty years arranges the precious peonies with care, when the smell of freshly baked bread from the corner Forno emanates into the square and when the locals who live in the neighborhood do their morning grocery shopping. Choosing each piece of produce with extreme care, attentively, while chatting with their trusted seller “del piu e del meno” (of everything and nothing.)
The lively market is there interacting with the square from Monday to Saturday and even when it is not, on Sundays, you will still seem to hear the voice of the sellers screaming or singing (it’s all about perspective!) their offers and envisioning the old woman concerned about the freshness of her green beans while smiling at passers-by. On Sundays, you can always enjoy the perfect prosciutto sandwich at Norcineria Viola on the steps of Giordano Bruno’s statue, as it should be eaten.
There’s an ancient roman expression that says “Giovedì gnocchi, da leccarte er piatto” (On Thursday gnocchi, so good you will want to lick your plate).
To fully understand what we’re talking about, it’s fundamental to experience it, breath it and taste it.
So grab your kitchen apron and get ready to follow the steps.
Ancient and easy to prepare.
— 250g (1 & 3⁄4 cups) semolina
— 1l whole milk
— 100g (1⁄2 cup) butter
— 2 egg yolks
— 100g (1⁄2 cup) grated parmesan
— 40g (1/3 cup) Pecorino Romano (any other type of cheese is NOT allowed, we take it very seriously)
— 7g (0.03 cups) salt
— A pinch of grounded nutmeg
- Put the milk in a pan on flame and add 30g (3/8 of a cup)of butter + salt + nutmeg. As soon as it starts to boil add the semolina, mix with a whisk.
- Cook for a few minutes, once you have a thick mixture, remove it from the heat and add the two egg yolks + parmesan. Mix!
- Pour half of the dough onto a sheet of parchment paper and create a uniform cylinder using your hands. Wrap it in parchment paper and then repeat the action with the remaining half of the dough. Put the two rolls in the fridge for 20 minutes.
- Cut into disks and put into a buttered pan (about 40g) and sprinkle them with melted butter (Oh the smell!).
- Cover everything with pecorino romano and cook in a preheated static oven at 200C° for 20 – 25 minutes. Grill for another 4-5 minutes.
Enjoy preparing them, but most of all sharing.
Here are Marco, Federico and Carlo and the idea of staying faithful to the Roman spirit that they believe, as we do, is to be cherished and shared. A traditional Osteria Romana in the lesser known Trieste neighbourhood which isn’t lacking surprises. A place where the menu of the day never fails to capture the essence of Rome. From “pasta cicoria and guanciale” to the “bucce di patate” (fried potato skins) this Osteria in the heart of Via Chiana is recognized by all the inhabitants of the neighbourhood as their home.
Order puntarelle and the trippa alla romana (roman tripe) with mentuccia, but most of all observe. Roma, will show you one of the best parts of herself through the people that will enter that door.
Authenticity, quality, sensibility and a pinch of irony.
An emblem of Rome, a place you will luckily stumble upon whether you want to or not. Just follow the scent of baked goods or look for a line of people spilling into the streets.
On Via dei Chiavari, a small street right by Campo Dei Fiori there is Rome’s best pizza al taglio waiting for you. Rigorously eaten right outside of the “forno”, standing, because there is no way anyone could resist for even a second longer. Rossa, mortadella, with zucchine, you’ll be spoiled with choices, and also endless sweet options, from pistachio cream to cakes with cherries, pine nuts and ricotta.
In 1972 when Marco Roscioli took over an ancient bakery he desired to give locals quality and reliability. After more than 40 years, we can easily say that he managed to achieve his goal – “Roscioli e una sicurezza” (Roscioli is a certainty) and in times like today, that’s all we really need.
We would need a whole piece to fully explain this, but please allow us to try. The capacity of being short (typical of Romans) could be fully explained by this expression, which contains in itself a form of greeting, dissent or surprise. This phrase is often accompanied by a gesture of an outstretched hand brought to one side of the mouth in order to have one’s voice echo. You can not go back home without hearing this expression with your own ears, of course pronounced by a local.
Romans might disagree on politics, soccer, restaurants but when asked where to find the best “Maritozzo” in town the answer will be unanimous and filled with excitement; REGOLI!!!!
Romans come here for the maritozzi con la panna (whipped cream pastries) but leave with trays filled with bigne allo zabaione, crostatine con fragoline di bosco (tarts with cream and wild strawberries) and profiteroles.
Regoli, on Via Merulana in the Esquilino neighborhood, is a historic roman bakery, an institution and one of the few places that Romans don’t mind standing in line for. Hide the tray on your way home, or get ready to interact with all the Romans on your way home:
“Can we take that off your hands?”
“Its the best in town enjoy.”
“Next time tell them Domenico sent you.”