Rome has a way of snagging my heart. I've been to Rome a dozen or so times times at different intervals of my life. Once, when I was 20, I spent a summer living here in the outskirts in a now-Bushwick-like neighborhood called Pigneto, past the ancient fortified walls, in an apartment owned by a curly, long-haired theater rock star by the name of Diego (now one of my dearest friends). But I've only been to Rome during the summer. Now here for my good friends' Fabrizio and Flavia's wedding (who I met in Diego's kitchen that same summer), I'm experiencing Rome minus the hoards of tourists, minus the humidity and the beach runs to Ostia. Wintertime in Rome is much more livable, more alive. Better.
Christmastime in Rome is nothing short of magical. The opera singers serenading passersby near the Pantheon, 'Buon Natale' and 'Auguri' glimmering from each store front and each corner, the enormous snowflakes and street lights strung along ancient buildings, running from giant piazzas to cobblestone streets, and down the most hidden alleyways. We arrived in Rome just in time to stumble out of the beautiful top-floor apartment down a tiny street and into Il Goccetto, a rustic wine bar and shop serving the most delicious fresh mozzarella and cured meats. We enjoyed a bottle of red wine as Italians huddled intimately discussing politics, or else love, or else the food in front of them. The backdrop: hundreds of bottles of Italian wines displayed from floor to ceiling on all walls. We stayed until they closed up shop, and walked back to our duplex apartment on Vicolo Orbitelli, a tiny cobble-stoned alleyway in Roma Centro, punctuated with beautifully dilapidated buildings, potted plants and ivy-draped doorways.
The next afternoon, we woke up late and walked to Cafe Sant'Eustachio, IMO the best coffee in Rome. More on that later in a separate post...
Oceans of love,