What I Saw:
In Photographs: Roma, Italia
What I Was Listening To:
PLAYLIST: Europa! Europa!
Okay, so maybe I wasn’t literally locked up abroad, but I did lose my passport in Rome. It took me four days to realize that it had been missing since my first hour of my trip. It had apparently fallen out of my pouch when I bought a slice of pizza and a cone at the little shop beside my hotel. I didn’t even realize that it was gone until it turned up three days later! My dad received a text message from a Filipino (bless him… or not, haha), who worked at the gelateria next door, saying that he had it. I, of course, took this whole ordeal as an overly romanticized sign that meant that I was to be left behind in Italy. Or Europe. Or anywhere, for that matter.
Although I wish it did, that clearly was not going to happen, regardless of whether or not I found my passport. However, I absolutely would not mind getting lost there a while longer; I couldn’t have asked for a better introduction to Europe than Italy! I honestly did not expect to enjoy it as much as I did, being that I have other personal cultural preferences. But, I was won over by its charm. Italy bleeds charm; it is in their quaint pizzerias, cafés and bakeries, their gelateria. Nevermind that so many of them were flirting with me, but I love how Italian men are so dapper and polished all the time. Especially the older men! And if I could be half the siren that Sophia Loren was in her youth, oh god, I’d be so happy.
We went at the height of Holy Week in 2013. Again, around the time of my birthday (I was a lucky girl!). We caught Easter Sunday in Rome, and our neighbor, Pope Francis, had quite a few visitors, if you can imagine.
Just down the street from The Vatican — literally a few steps away from Piazza San Pietro — was Hotel Columbus, our home in Rome. It has a tiny entrance, but don’t be fooled — it is sprawling in the back, as it has belonged to the Palazzo Della Rovere, since the hotel’s establishment in the 1950s.
What To Eat:
Of course, there is gelato, pizza, pastries,wine, and coffee everywhere you go. But do not miss out on Roma’s pride and joy — the porchetta. I know Italian food to generally be relatively simple in ingredient requirement, preparation method, and flavor profile, but rich in quality and freshness. There is this tiny place along Via Trionfale called Panificio Bonci, of which I had heard some really good things. Especially about this roast pork of theirs! Clearly I ate a lot in Italy, but this was phenomenal!
We managed to find Panificio Bonci quite late, after a long day of walking. We were all hungry, and were quite annoyed that we caught them just before they were about to close. But we lucked out on the last few hundred grams of pork for the day. And a couple of pizza slices. We headed out for some bread, and bought ourselves a couple of bottles of wine, and returned to the hotel to eat. It was unanimously the best Italian meal we had had — simple, straightforward, cozy, and intimate. The porchetta was an explosion of flavors!
Places to Go:
- Piazza del San Pietro, Il Vaticano, and the Vatican Museum
- Ancient ruins of the City of Rome
- Il Colosseo
- Fontana de Trevi (don’t forget to make a wish!)
- Scalinata de Trinita dei Monti (The Spanish Steps)
- Walk around — there’s something around every corner
Tell me why I wouldn’t want to be left behind in Rome!