The thing about going to Rome for the weekend is that the alarm clock goes off in the middle of the night. This time it was at 4.30, and not long after 10 (thanks Trenitalia for the late train both to and from Rome!) I was standing in Termini station in Rome. And this time I had company! My friend Sandra who lives in Veneto was coming to visit the city for the first time with her kids, so it was going to be a full-on weekend of touristing!
Our first stop was where I normally start on my Roman trips - Piazza di Spagna. I was glad to see that the work on the Barcaccia was over after it was covered in scaffolding the last time. We walked up the steps to Villa Borghese to admire the fantastic view above the city. We then hit Via del Corso, and the kids enjoyed doing some shopping. The Christmas music in Alcott was a bit of a shock - it's only November!
Visiting the city with Italians I was running late in true Italian for my lunch with Claire from Runbritchickrun! We went to La Zanara over near the Vatican, a 20s/30s inspired restaurant (even the waitresses' uniforms!) where we had some delicious food. I had papardelle with porcini mushrooms and vanilla creme brulee, quite a treat after being on a diet since the summer,but I had to laugh at the fruit on my dessert - it wasn't long ago that I discovered I was allergic to fruitsof the forest!
After a walk around the area I met up with Sandra and kids and we headed to our hotel for a rest. We were staying at Hotel Caravel on Via Cristoforo Colombo, the same place I stayed during my last trip in June. For some reason I was given a junior suite (without paying any extra!) and I didn't quite know what to do with all the extra room!
Supper was at a pizzeria called Grazie a Dio è venerdì - which translates as thank God it's Friday! In my over-tired state I didn't realise that the pizzas I was trying to choose from were bianca - without tomatoes - and when my salmon pizza arrived I had a bit of a surprise, and it was one of the most delicious pizzas I'd ever had. Dessert was a strudel with gelato, and afterwards we went for a walk through the cobbled backstreets to see the Colusseum at night. By then I was absolutely destroyed, but it was well worth the effort!
Sunday morning we were up bright and early, and after a delicious breakfast (much love for hotel breakfasts!) the four of us made the short walk from the hotel to Radio Deejay's Roman studios. It was lovely seeing Laura and Rudy again, and we were also joined by Alessio, a Tuscan friend of ours.
I then decided to take our group to the Trevi Fountain, even though there's still work being done on it I didn't really want them to miss. Now there's a walkway that takes you right up to the fountain, and even though there's scaffolding covering the fountain it was interesting to have another view of such an iconic landmark. From there we went on to the Pantheon and Piazza Navona, stopping at a bar for a sandwich for lunch.
After walking around in the direction of Piazza Venezia, we decided to hop on a tram to rest our feet for a bit. Our destination was the Altar of the Fatherland, where there's always a particular atmosphere. From there it's a short walk to the Colusseum, where we met another one of our friends. Unfortunately by then it was time to start heading back to Termini so we could get our trains, and we had one last coffee (hot chocolate for me as I wanted to sleep on the train!) before parting ways and getting on our separate trains.
Thanks to everyone who made the weekend so memorable. My Roman weekends are always exhausting but so much fun!