Thursday, February 01, 2007

Rome on my mind

The Tiber at dusk

A FRIEND ASKS HOW to spend a day in Rome. One day in Rome; the only day they’ll have there during a cruise they’re taking.

The immediate thought, of course, is Why go to Rome for only one day? Oh, how terrible, only one day for all of Rome!

But then, a day in Rome is better than a day in many other places, or even several days in many other places. So without really thinking too much about it, or looking anything up, here’s what I suggest:

Start at the Campo dei Fiori early in the morning. Walk down to the Ponte Sisto, cross it, then walk down along the Tiber to the Isola Tiberna, and spend twenty minutes or so walking around it. Then back to the Trastevere side and down to the Ponte Palatino.

Visit the Tempio Vesta and the Tempio della Fortuna Virile, stop in at S. Maria in Cosmedin to admire the floor (but ignore the Bocca di Verità), stop in at S. Giorgio in Velabro (my very favorite), walk the Circo Massimo, then the via di S. Gregorio to the Colosseo.

Have lunch at the Ristorante Nerone de Santis, via Terme di Tito 96. (Ah: I did some research after all.) Then take a cab to the Pantheon and stop in for coffee at La Tazza d’Oro nearby. Before or after the coffee go to the Gelateria San Crispino, via Panetteria,42, near the Trevi Fountain.

Take a cab from there to the Piazza del Risorgimento and then rest by taking a tram ride from there, through the Villa Borghese, getting off at the Piazza Buenos Aires to walk around the fantastic architecture of the Coppedé district; then resume the streetcar back to the Colosseo. Stroll through the Forum at dusk.

Have dinner at Perilli, in the Testaccio district, incredible spaghetti carbonara; or at Da Lucia in Trastevere, wonderful pasta cacio e pepe; or at La Campana, via Campana 18, marvelous borlatti beans with onion and celery slivers. If there’s music on, go to Ombre Rosse on the Piazza Sant’Egidio in Trastevere to hear a little jazz.

Don’t forget to have several coffees and a couple of grappas, and buy a hat, if possible. If it rains, get a haircut.

* * *

I think of Rome because I’m editing the Rome Dispatches from January and November 2004 for publication. Little by little some of those travel writings will come out in book form. One title is already out: The Company of Strangers, letters from The Netherlands, Torino, Monferrato, Budapest, and Vienna, from last fall.

128 pages, softbound, four photos in black and white. You can order it from or, of course, you can read it, blog by blog, right here in the Blogspot archive.

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