Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Roamin' in Rome

Rome is the Eternal City whose history spans over two and a half thousand years. And around every corner is evidence of its architectural, artistic, culinary, historical and religious influence. Whew!! After arriving from New York and a quick 2 hours sleep, we started our day with cappucino at an outdoor café. The warm Roman sun and the caffeine started to melt away some of the jetlag before we headed to a specialty store in search of basil olive oil. They were fresh out of the oil, but had plenty of pasta to choose from. I found an interesting pasta, called maltagliati, that is irregularly cut flat pasta that I'll experiment with. I love a challenge! Walking along, we stopped in Santa Maria in Via Church. It has a long and ancient history with a chapel built around a holy well. Some refer to the well water as miracle water. Reverently, we took a sip from cups of the water that are served in the chapel as we thought about its complex history. Continuing through the streets I was able to capture a photo of my friend Debbie as she looked up at Pope John Paul II. OK, no miracle here, she was just standing in front of a poster for his beatification in Rome this month :-) A few blocks away as the contrasting heavens looked down, a band played Hava Nagila (Debbie is Jewish...how did they know?!) as we walked in front of the Pantheon. Directly across from the Pantheon are the remnants of a closed McDonalds. Another Roman relic. Around the corner is Basilica di Sant'Agostino where Madonna di Loreto, a Caravaggio hangs that was painted in 1604. According to Wikipedia, "While beautiful, the Virgin Mary could be any woman emerging from the night shadows......the scene is a moment where everyday common man (or woman) encounters the divine, whose appearance is not unlike that of a common man (or woman). History and art are at every footstep. As well as Gelaterias, and that is a good thing....a very good thing. At Piazza Navona, there are several fountains. I'm not sure what I was thinking when I decided to take a drink, but I think my miracle water wish of world peace went out of door here. I'm pretty sure my miracle was used up by not getting some crazy, water fountain bacteria. We were on the way to our friend Magda's jewelry and art glass store, La Fornace, The cobblestone streets meandered along the way as my appetite built with each step. We weren't the only ones thinking about dinner.We had reservations at Trattoria Moderna and I couldn't wait. Some of Magda's artwork grace the tables of this warm and friendly restaurant. Rose buds rest in her blown glass vases and desserts are presented on her glass platters. The dishes that came from the kitchen were also works of art. After plates of assorted starters, my main course of paccheri pasta with sausage, radicchio and pear arrived from the busy kitchen. It was a masterful combination of tastes. The divine with the common. Just when we thought we didn't have any room left for dessert, Magda somehow had one of her beautiful platters arrive with about a half dozen different desserts. Sorry that I don't have any good photos, my hands were too busy deciding what to try first! We finished everything and could have used a long walk back to the hotel, but Magda gave us a ride through the narrow twisting streets of Rome....the city of miracles.

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