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Rome Wrap Up Part 5

Author: Host Ciao (More Trip Reviews by Host Ciao)
Date of Trip: December 2010

Later that afternoon I returned to St. Peter's. This time the security line was considerably shorter, and I went in to take pictures of the Presepio inside the basilica. I was especially interested in this since I had seen the men working on it a couple times. Back in the center I went to a couple of more churches and made my last visit to the Piazza Navona Christmas Fair. I knew this would be my last chance so I bought a porchetta panini (sandwich of roasted herb-stuffed pig) for supper. I also enjoyed the lights and activity around the stands.

On Tuesday I managed my biggest mistake of the trip. I had signed up for a tour with Context Travel to visit the Colosseum and Trajan's Market. I managed to mix up the time for this tour and the time for one I had already taken so I missed this and emailed apologies to the company. I was able to sign up for a different tour the next day. In the process of missing the tour, I visited a couple of more churches. Then that afternoon I visited a museum that had a special exhibit about the influence of Ancient Rome on travelers, architects, artists, and decorators in the second half of the 19th Century. That evening I went for dinner at my favorite restaurant, L'Archetto and had spaghetti with a great onion sauce.

Guess what! On Wednesday morning I went to more churches to take more pictures of Presepe, this time in Trastevere across the river. I have tried to keep track of the churches I went to and the order so I hope I can identify the Nativities. I then went to the Victor Emmanuel II monument and took the glass elevator to the top of the huge memorial. It is a great place to view many parts of Rome, and this is where I like to go to take my leave of one of my favorite cities.

That afternoon I took the tour called Culinary Stroll with Context. There were six of us on the tour, a small group, but that is one of the things I like about the company. It was rather a long walk, but we were well fueled with food as we went along. We first stopped in the Ghetto of old Rome and had a fruit cake from a bakery there. I believe the guide said it was called "burned cake." It is quite crispy on the edges, but very good. We sampled two types of pizza cut from huge rectangles, one with tomato sauce and cheese, and the other, pizza bianca (plain) split into a sandwich with mortedella. I had better say these were small samples about 1 1/2 by 3 inches.

At another place near Campo dei Fiori we had small bites of store-made mozzarella with the shop's sun-dried tomato in oil. After a bit of a walk we sampled "supli," which are rice croquettes with mozzarella in the middle. Then it was on to espresso at Tazzo d' Oro, a famous coffee shop. "Dessert" was first a piece of chocolate from a shop that had been around for many years. Then we walked almost to Castel San Angelo and had gelato at a very small shop with some rather exotic flavors. We could try two so I had peach and lavender and raspberry and sage. Both were very good. I was surprised that while I could taste the lavender over the peach, the raspberry rather overpowered the sage, which was OK with me.

Then it was a walk to the bus back to the hotel where I still had to pack and chat with a couple of the hotel workers. The next morning the taxi that the hotel had arranged for me came at 7 am and I was on my way back to Rockford. And believe me I said, "A presto, Roma," and not arrivederci! Or "until later" and not "goodbye!"

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