Rome: Through a Roman's Eyes


Stefano, a colleague of Donald's invited us to spend the weekend in Rome at his mother's apartment.  We had an absolutely WONDERFUL time and definately got to see Rome from a non-touristic point of view.

We arrived Friday evening and Stefano picked us up at the Airport.  We headed straight for "mama's" to drop off our things.  Mama Ivonne {pronounced A-von-ya} has lived in the apartment since the 1950's.  Very sweet apartment.  Very sweet Mama!


Stefano took us to a chic restaurant Friday night where we met his two children, Francesca and Luca.  His son is in a band, The Out of Tunes , and was just written up in an Italian teen magazine.  I bought the magazine and had him sign it for me at the restaurant.  I told him I was going to sell it on E-bay!  The band is quite good.


Stefano went for a jog Saturday morning so D and I had breakfast with Ivonne.  Have I mentioned that she does not speak a word of English?  That did not stop her, she chatted with us non-stop.  D was able to pick up a few words here and there, but we really do not know Italian.

After breakfast we took a stroll through the local market. 


  The fruits and veggies were packed with color. 


Early afternoon we headed an hour north of Rome to the Terme Dei Papi.  A thermal spring resort.  This was a fascinating experience.  The water comes straight from the earth and at the point it enters the pool the temperature is approximately 130 degrees.  The further away you go, the colder the water gets.

Check out D with his "speedos" for the Termes.  We took his American bathing suit, but Stefano said he really needed the smaller one (for drying purposes) - too funny!


The water is said to have healing properties and contains sulfurous salts (you could smell this), bicarbonate and carbonic gases.  It was founded in the 3rd century and in 1450 one of the Popes had a palace built here hence the name dei papi (of the Popes). History says that Michelangelo also came here.

Wait, let's see one more shot of D in his speedos:

   IMG_0463 about just a little closer. 


Stefano's friend Claudia joined us for the day.  Here is a cute shot of Claudia, Stefano, and D.

IMG_0462 1

After soaking in the Termes for four + hours with wrinkled fingers and toes, we toured a few nearby towns.  And yes, they were right next to the Termes, but it was really chilly outside and we needed coats.  You would never have known looking at the photos of us in the water.



For dinner we went to a restaurant where Stefano knew the owner.  What a special meal, my favorite of the trip.  The owner loves Americans and kept coming to our table to tell us stories, including a touching comment about Americans sending food to Italy after WWII.  I really enjoyed meeting Claudia and spending the day with her.  She and Stefano both speak very good English.  But we still had fun teaching them a few "slang" American words!  Few of which can be repeated here.

Sunday morning we went to the BIG Rome flea market - it was nice that D had Stefano to play with.  I think I got an extra 45 minutes from this  :  ).  I bought my normal junk, beads, paper, and jewelry.  A delightful collection indeed!


  The boys had a post breakfast snack of roasted pork sandwiches.


We then took a long walk in the park near the apartment.  Am I looking Italian or what?


As you can see we were very lucky and had absolutely picture perfect weather. 


 There was an exquisite Villa in the park.


By this time we had worked up quite an appetite and that was a good thing as Mama was cooking a special lunch for us.  One course was a pasta dish - with home-made noodles - devine.  I think she was flattered that I was taking photos of everything.  We had fresh buffalo mozarella from the market (the best we have ever eaten), beef with arugula, several salads, and fruit for dessert.  It was a delicious meal.


We felt very special as the table was set beautifully with all of her wedding china.  We even got to use the special espresso cups and there are only 3 remaining. 


After lunch the "girls" had lemoncello  (a lemon liqueur produced in southern Italy).


and the boys had the more manly Grappa (brandy - 75 to 100 proof) or as I like to call it turpentine!  It certainly heats up your body.


And Donald made himself right at home - a post lunch nap! 


Ivonne took me in her room.  We sat on her bed and she pulled out several boxes.  The first one had her jewelry tools and beads and then she puled out all of the jewelry she had made and was currently making.  We sat on her bed talking away about jewelry for 30 minutes.....and remember....she does not speak ANY English and I do not speak any Italian.  It was priceless!!


The Sunday we were there, March 8, was Festa Della Donna (Women's Day).  The custom started in 1946.  Men would give thier wives, mothers, daughters, and other women friends sprigs of bright yellow Mimosa flowers as a sign of respect. 


Stefano was sweet and bought Mimosa flowers for me and his mom.  We saw women all over the city carrying them.  Sunday evening we checked into the Hotel San Anselmo for one night.  Stefano invited us to stay another night, but he had to work in the morning so we thoughtit best to stay in a hotel.  And we have stayed here befre and I LOVE this hotel.


That is me on the balcony - we were in the Romeo and Juliet room.  Very romantic.


  and in ALL Italian bathrooms (even Mama's apartment), the bidet.


Stefano joined back up with us for dinner.  We went to another restaurant where he knew the owner.  Stefano knows everyone!  Another superb meal.

We did get to see a little of the city on Monday morning before our flight home.


We even saw the Pope!  We were crossing a courtyard to get to the ancient ruins and there were many people gathering and LOTS of police.  We asked what was going on and we were told the Pope was coming for a meeting.  We waited about and hour and saw him get out of the car.

Pope 7  

and a close up, but unfortunately he did not turn our way.

Pope 8

He popped his head out one side of the building, seen here on a large video screen set up in the courtyard.


He was going to come out on the balcony in front of us to say a few words, but that was after his meeting.  We had no idea how long the meeting would be and we had a plane to catch in a few hours, so we could not wait.  Next time!

Italy is one of the only cities we know where you can drink the water in the streets.  If you look closely, D is blocking the bottom of the faucet with his hand,  when you do this, it creates a drinking spout.  Pretty cool.


And a few shots around the city - how cute is this little red car!






Until we meet again in the next blog in Venice - Cheers!