Days of Peace
(how to spend a peaceful day in Rome)
eating out on the terrace of the Monument to Victor Emmanuel II
"The day was cloudless and warm. I went with Tischbein to the square in front of St. Peter's. We walked up and down until we felt too hot, when we sat in the shadow of the great
obelisk - it was just wide enough for two - and ate some grapes we had bought nearby." (J. W. Goethe Italian Journey, November 22, 1786)
A trattoria is a necessary component of a Roman piazza. Whether in the grand scenery of Piazza Navona or in a more secluded spot one can combine enjoying the sunshine with the pleasure of eating in a historical setting.
Maybe not all those who listen to this busker who sings O Sole Mio in Piazza di Pasquino have read the three pages Marcel Proust wrote (Albertine disparue) to describe his feelings when, sitting at a cafè in Venice, he heard once again this song (also known as It's Now or Never, a hit by Elvis Presley). Buskers without the tenor voice required by O Sole Mio, sing Arrivederci Roma, a sort of tour of Rome's most popular monuments.
Italian cooking has a great number of regional versions and Roman cooking too has a couple of additional versions coming from its historical quarters: Cucina del Ghetto, influenced by the Jewish kosher rules and based on fried vegetables, in particular Carciofi alla Giudia (fried artichokes) and Cucina Testaccina developed in Testaccio, where the slaughterhouse of Rome was located from 1891 till 1975; it is based on the parts of the cattle which were thought to be of no value and were sold at a very low price to the inhabitants of the quarter.
There are some hotel chains that pride themselves on making their customers feel at home. To accomplish this mission they furnish their hotels exactly in the same way whether they are located in Agra or Kyoto, Rome or Moscow, Jerusalem or Istanbul. To make sure the customer feels at home the rooms and the corridors are decorated with the same XIXth century prints portraying birds and flowers. The customers who in the end do not have this desire of "being at home", often choose to take their meals in the courtyard or on the roof garden and not in the air conditioned restaurant with international cuisine.
In Italy, 90% of restaurants and trattorias are a family business and do not offer standardized meals. There are, however, some fast food chains where the homesick can take refuge.
Romans go very often to restaurants, which means that there are restaurants in every part of Rome and that businesses do not rely only on tourists.
Prices obviously vary greatly, but are lower than those in comparable restaurants in Milan, Venice or Florence.
The image used as a background for this page is a detail of Giuseppe Vasi's Grand View of Rome.
Other Days of Peace pages:
At the Flea Market
At the Beach
A Sunny Day in Villa Borghese
Voicing Your Views ..... and feeling better
La Festa de Noantri
A visit to Roseto di Roma
Celebrating the Foundation of Rome
Christmas in Rome
Finding Solace at the Protestant Cemetery