Sue and I fly Alitalia nonstop to Rome. They serve good food. For dinner I had chicken with vegetables, green bean salad with ham, cheese-filled pasta, fruit salad, and red wine. Sue had the vegetarian option.
I believe that the seats are more cramped than they were in 1995...or could it be that I am bigger, older, and grumpier? In any case, I slept poorly. It's early morning when we land.
In Rome, Sue took charge of figuring out public transportation, which propelled her quickly into speaking Itallian. She got us to the metro stop Pyramide, from which we dragged our bags to our convent. We arrived at our room at the Villa Rosa Convent, run by Domincan nuns, about 11:30 local time. Sister Christina, who presides over this convent hotel, is originally from Ireland. First site: the Protestant Cemetery.
Of course we visited Keats's grave and got to see several kitties among the monuments. It was drizzley and dreary but warmer than Boston.
Then we walked a very long way to try out a pizza place touted in a recent New York Times article. Unfortunately, the place was not serving any of the unusual flavors (like salt cod) mentioned in the article. We each had a slice. It was good, but not otherwise noteworthy.
Rain fell heavily. We veered into the Museo Nationale Roma, which had a grumpy staff but great stuff. At one point Sue almost collapsed into a mosaic she was looking at. She realized that she was tired.
After the Museo, we wandered around looking for a cafe where we could sit down (the Museo had no cafe), but all the seats were taken in the places we passed. Finally we returned to the Termini (train station), where we found one seat at a coffee bar. Sue insisted that I sit, which I did. She had coffee; I fizzy water. If you order coffee in Italy, you get espresso, so I had to be careful not to get too buzzed.
At 7:30 we had dinner at Bucatino Taverna Testaccio. At all restaurants, including this one, we ordered the house red wine; it was always good. We had a salad made of stalks of things (Sue thought it might include fennel) topped with anchovy sauce. I liked it. We also had an artichoke cooked in olive oil, spaghetti with clam sauce, chocolate cake with a molten center, and "delizia pistachio," which was like a very dense ice cream. Sue again practiced her Italian with the waiter. Bucatino was one of the lower-priced places. The deocor was shabby; a picture hanging on a wall near me seemed to have water damage. But I enjoyed all the food.
More photos available at: https://picasaweb.google.com/bryant.colleen08/ItlayOverSpringBreak2011#