Rome in Winter

10 Feb

Even if it happened every day, I hope I would still experience the same thrill that accompanies turning a corner and seeing Rome’s Coliseum.  An antiquity of enormous proportion and history, it rests comfortably within Rome’s modern world.

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as does its neighbor, the Roman Forum.

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Amidst the much-needed restoration, and the winter tourists, and after taking the requisite photos, I took time to sit on a wall and ponder just how these were built and what life was like so long ago. True marvels.

And then there are the churches of Rome. Each one is a museum, housing more art than many towns and cities around the world. One among many is the Basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore.

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I came to Rome to visit Benita. What a perfect excuse to visit Italy for a week. While she was in class, my first day was filled with monuments, piazzas, and yes, walking in my grandfather’s footsteps. At the very end of Via Veneto, across from Harry’s Bar, is the Grande Hotel Flora, where he stayed for five nights in August of 1938. (More on his time there when I get to those letters.)  It is now owned by Marriott, and fortunately, they have been very attentive to the history and original detail of the hotel.

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I met Baiba, the Sales Manager, and she willingly showed me around the hotel as she listened to the story of Alex’s journey. She showed me some rooms and we wondered which he might have stayed in.

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One of the hotel’s best features is the rooftop lounge which provides a 360 panorama of Rome. Whether overlooking Borghese Gardens or steeples around Rome, the view is breathtaking. I promised Baiba that Len and I would come for a sunset drink next time in Rome.

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Other notables along my walk included Piazza di Spagna, where the fountain at the base of the steps is under major reconstruction.

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Nonetheless, the Spanish Steps are always one of my favorites and the place where fellow students and I met Dustin Hoffman many years ago. Really.

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Len, this is for you… The Ferrari Shop.

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Early evening, I waited at Piazza Cavour to meet Benita. What an amazing sunset, and so happy to be off my feet.

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We decided to start with apertivi, an Italian tradition.IMG_1456

And then took an evening stroll to the Vatican

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Castel Sant’ Angelo

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The PantheonIMG_1470

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And finally, an archeological dig.

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We walked to a favorite restaurant for dinner only to find it closed for remodeling, so we found another filled with locals. We ended the evening with gelato. Certo!

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The next day, Friday, while Benita was in class, I walked around Monte Mario, the town I had lived in as a student so long ago. Memories. Later at the hotel, I met the most amazing couple, Italian born and living in Basel, he a geneticist/researcher, both with incredible stories to tell.

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We literally spoke for hours, mostly in Italian, exchanged contact information, and might possibly meet in Cortona or Basel sometime. Giovanna, you would have been proud. I can’t tell you how helpful my Italian classes have been; and how very rewarding for me to be able to speak to people I might otherwise never have met.

That night, I took Benita and several of her friends to Navona Notte for dinner…a most enjoyable evening and very reminiscent of my time as a student in Rome.

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After dinner, we parted company with the girls as Benita and I were staying in town that night. We wandered over to Piazza Navona and headed to a place near and dear to me, Tre Scalini, where my parents celebrated their 50th anniversary. Fortunately, they had brought their children/spouses along to join in the celebration. In honor of them, and my sibs, we ordered il tartufo! Just think chocolate…lots of it!

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Finally, we made our way to the Trevi, never to be overlooked if one wants to return to Rome.IMG_1489

With Benita’s long arms, we managed a selfie and I tossed a coin in the fountain. Benita had already tossed hers three weeks ago.

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Exhausted, in a very good way, we headed to our hotel near Termini, as we would leave for Cortona via train early the next morning. As we neared our hotel, Rome was nearly asleep.

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An incredible day!

Ciao,

Judy

16 Responses to “Rome in Winter”

  1. Sandy Holswade February 10, 2014 at 2:56 PM #

    Fabulous – Judy!

    Like

  2. l. gingerella February 10, 2014 at 4:10 PM #

    Love it and wish I were there! Hugs to both. xoxox

    Like

  3. Yvonne Wilson February 10, 2014 at 4:11 PM #

    Oh Judy, I am so envious!! You know well the knot I have in my stomach at reading about your time in Italy! Give my love to Cortona!! (I love that you are using your Italian so much, Maria said she is so impressed with your ability to communicate so well). You have impressed us to start trying again, just ordered and received Rosetta Stone courses, starting again today!

    Like

    • blogginginitaly February 10, 2014 at 4:43 PM #

      Yvonne, stay tuned for the Cortona story…we had an amazing time! And so glad you are getting back to your Italiana…it’s important!

      Like

  4. Barbara Kaines February 10, 2014 at 5:28 PM #

    Sounds wonderful and makes me long to be there. Travel safely during your return trip. We are having another ice storm due in Atlanta tomorrow and last til Thur. Ciao Barbara

    Sent from my iPhone

    >

    Like

    • blogginginitaly February 10, 2014 at 5:33 PM #

      I was trying to explain to Cortona friends just how cold it is in Chicago. Hard for them to imagine!!

      Like

    • blogginginitaly February 11, 2014 at 9:27 AM #

      I have been so lucky with the weather…what’s a little rain among friends!

      Like

  5. Filocia Poma February 10, 2014 at 8:28 PM #

    What a great opportunity for the both of you. Have a wonderful adventure.

    Like

  6. Charles February 16, 2014 at 9:34 PM #

    Aloha Judy,
    If you are still in Italy, pick up a copy of “Rolling Stone” magazine in Italian. The Pope is on the cover and in 50 years it should be worth over a grand… 🙂
    Charles

    Like

  7. Jim Capraro February 11, 2016 at 11:10 AM #

    Judy,
    Lovely pictures – boy they sure brought back memories.

    Pam and I celebrated our 25th wedding anniversary in Rome in 1999. We stayed near the Piazza De Spagna at the Hotel D’inghilerra – Via Bocca di Leone, 14. And, of course we toured the vatican, the coliseum (it was 98 degrees that day) and the Roman Forum. Gelato at Tre Scalini in Piaza Navona.

    But it was your pictures of Piazza de Spagna that really delighted us.

    Our June 8th anniversary dinner was at a lovely little restaurant named Re degli Amici, Via della Croce, 33 | Piazza di Spagna.

    On the afternoon of June 3rd we were strolling around the area looking to choose the restaurant for our anniversary celebration, when we came upon Re degli Amici. As soon as we walked inside Pam said: “This is it.”

    Back at the hotel at 3:00 pm Pam took a siesta, and I snuck out. I went back to the restaurant, to see if I could make a reservation. I knew it would be closed at that time but I was hoping someone would answer my knock on the door, and I was lucky when Benedetto, the head waiter who must have been in his 80’s opened the door.

    I said: “capisci l’inglese”.

    He said” “si”

    I explained that I was there to make a dinner reservation for the evening of June 8, to celebrate our 25th anniversary.

    He asked: “What time?” I responded: “8:00 pm”.

    He asked: “What’s your name?” I responded: “Capraro, James Capraro”

    He asked: “Italiano?” I responded: “Si”

    He asked “Where from? I responded: “My father is from Abruzzi, and my mother is from Sicilia.”

    He asked “Where ins Sicilia?” I responded: “Termini Imerse”

    He asked “What’s your momma’s name” “I responded Marie Filicicchia, daughter of Francesco and Josephina Filicicchia.”

    His face lit up with a big smile. He put his hand on my shoulder. He told me that his home town was Termini Imerese and that he knew the Filicicchia family very well – went to school with their children. He then said: You come, June 8th at 8:00 pm, and “You don’t worry about a thing.”

    When Pam and I arrived, Benedetto was waiting for us wearing a starched white shirt, black bow tie, black apron and a towel over his arm. and to his left where to younger men with the same exact attire. We were escorted to a private dining room. There was an antipasto board along the wall filled with every little treat you could imagine. On the table there was a bottle of red wine and in an ice bucket there was bottle of chilled white wine.

    When we were halfway through eating portions of antipasto secondi started to arrive. We were never shown a menu, dishes just started to appear – fish, lamb, braciole, pasta, risotto, grilled carcioffi, and more. We must have eaten for 90 minutes, before an assortment of desert were presented. I remember that the bill was 60,000 Lira, which was about $40.00.

    At the end Benedetto gave of the card of a carriage driver and instructed us to go to the Piazza de Spagna and ask for him. When we got there, as always, there was a line of horse drawn carriages, and the driver who’s name was on the card was in the line. He to was in his 80’s and he had his great-grandson with him. When we approached him he said: “Benedetto sent you? – get in, I will take you to all of the romantic places”

    Clip clop, clip clop, Piazza Navona, pantheon, trevi fountain, and more – at each place he said: “Give me your camera, you get out and I’ll take your picture.”

    Looking at your pictures, and reading your writing brought these fond memories back to us. Hope you don’t mind me telling such a long tale. We now officially long to go back.

    And we sure hope you enjoy your stay. Maybe you will get a chance to dine with your daughter Re Degli Amici.

    God speed, and safe travel.

    Cousin Jim

    Like

    • blogginginitaly February 11, 2016 at 12:29 PM #

      Jim,
      Thanks for sharing this wonderful story! Such incredible memories you and Pam have of that special night. It’s always amazing to me just how many connections one can find by talking to strangers. Happens to us a lot, and such a big part of why we love our Italian travels. Thanks again for sharing! Judy

      Like

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

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