When in Rome…

I have arrived in the epicentre of ancient civilisation, working my way from one insanely old monument to another. Of course, I am talking about Rome, the city that, apparently, all roads lead to, and a city that I never want to leave.

Rome is, for the most part, a well-preserved museum of worlds gone by, but never forgotten. It’s so refreshing to visit a place that hasn’t been overrun by sky-scrapers, high-rise apartment buildings, and modern eyesores designed by egotistical architects wanting to put their stamp on a city. It is old, ancient even, and utterly fabulous.

Clearly, this is my first visit to Rome. Although I hazard a guess that this place never loses its sparkle, no matter how often you frequent it. I had heard stories about turning down simple, nondescript streets and being greeted by an army of ruins, tumbling down but still sharing their story of a once unbreakable time. This is true, Happies. Everywhere you look, turn, stumble across will have you seeing yet another marble column, archway, fountain, underground treasure trove.

It’s no wonder then, that this city is overrun with tourists. I have never seen so many tourists, wandering the streets with their maps and Rick Stein guidebooks and backpacks. And like all cities rammed with tourists, there are the obvious must-sees (Colosseum, Vatican City, Pantheon, Trevi Fountain, Piazza Navona, Spanish Steps) and the hidden treasures that you stumble across simply by accident, or thanks to a kind local wanting to help you out.

One of these treasures is the 115 bus. Stopping at Trastevere (a suburb I highly recommend staying in) the 115 bus takes you up into the area of Garibaldi. A suburb that sits high atop a hill, with the most amazing views of Rome. Named after Guiseppe Garibaldi, an Italian military and political hero who rocked a mad moustache and has statues of himself all over the world, including one in Washington Square Park in New York, this area is definitely worth a visit. From here, you can simply walk down the hill to the Vatican, or onto any of the zillion other monuments you so wish.

Food, however, I am finding a little harder to conquer. The sights, no problemo, but the food in Italy, as far as I have found, appears to be a let down. Of epic proportions. Shocking, I know!

For any of you Happies who have followed this blog for a while, you will know that healthy food is something I live for. Sprouted bread, roast chicken, mind-blowing lettuce cup treats of all forms are a daily occurrence in my life, and now, they’re all but a distant memory.

The Italians know everything there is to know about food. Don’t get me wrong. I could never suggest that they haven’t played an instrumental part in forming some of the best and most popular dishes of today, but find me a vegetable in this country that isn’t smothered in cheese, or floating across a wheat-heavy base, and I will be your friend for life.

That said, the prosecco is pretty damn good – so I can’t complain too much. Can I?

Tell me Happies…

Have you been to Rome?

Do you love it?

Did you find the food all pizza and pasta and most definitely not healthy?

Or, am I missing something?

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8 comments

  1. Sarah · June 8, 2011

    Oh I loooove Rome! I went there three years ago, and will be back again in about a month!!! I’m very excited because my last visit was only for two days, so it will be nice to spend more time there to see the everything properly! Will definitely keep that tip about the 115 bus in mind….

    The food is definitely not healthy, but it is nice to indulge in pizza and gelato for a few days! πŸ˜‰

  2. Georgia Donovan · June 8, 2011

    When in Rome, eat like a Roman, i say! I think it’s different if you were going to be staying there long term, but if you’re only in Rome for a ‘holiday’ have a healthy breaky, maybe lunch (a panino with vegetables?) and then indulge in dinner. with all the walking you’re doing you’ll never notice the cheese intake, promise!
    I love, love, LOVE ROME. I could move there in an instant. I’d end up the size of a sumo wrestler from eating too much but boy would I be happy.
    An area I like to wander around is near the Piazza del Popolo – head into the piazza, then facing the three streets go to the one (name of it, i have NO idea!) furthest to the right near the Tiber and keep making random turns until completely lost. What you’ll find will amaze you.
    Ahh, so jealous of your adventures. you’ll go back i’m sure. Enjoy Yaz! x

  3. Me, my best and I · June 8, 2011

    When in Rome Yaz!! I believe the food is more fresh and healthy in Tuscany, more rustic & wholesome. get thee to a vineyard region! In the mean time embrace the gelato and pizza and pasta cheese! Caprese salads for lunch to balance it out? Friend getting married there next year, am doing my damnedest to make sure i attend!

  4. katelin · June 8, 2011

    Roman holiday, it sounds wonderful! i’m hoping to go to Rome in August as an awesome 26th birthday present for myself, am definitely taking notes from your blog:)

  5. Michelle Maiale · June 8, 2011

    I LOVE reading your blog.. it is very inspirational and so enlightening to read someone who is being true to their inner core. Now, as for your food experience in Italy I must say I think you are eating in the wrong places! As a food lover and wife of a chef here in your home town we have travelled to Italy and have eaten in many amazing places. We never found the food too rich.. we maybe just ate too much! Look beyond the menu and into the vegetable section.. think fava beans and artichokes.. Follow locals into unsigned trattorias and be delighted by whats on offer – normally no menu and seasonally beautifully cooked food. Steer clear of anything around any of the tourist sites that cater for the Americans and Germans with pre-plated food and ask the Baristas in the many coffee shops down the cobble stoned streets where is good to eat. Also follow the well heeled on their vespas around lunch time.. they will surely lead you to a hidden gem where you least expec it. buon apetito x

  6. Terry Reardon (Jamie's sister) · June 8, 2011

    Yaz, I am hugely enjoying reading about your travels. Your writing is witty and engaging. I had only a few days in Rome in August many years ago but your comment about the food was true then. I’m not the world’s greatest vegetarian or anything but I did find it a bit stodgy – but then, I was on a Contiki holiday, so alcohol cured everything, including my liver!

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