I’ll be honest. I got pickpocketed within hours of my first day in Rome. It was my fault; I had just overslept, burned my mouth gulping down a too-hot espresso, rushed out the door, and ran to barely catch the bus. I knew the thieves would be packed on there thick as.. well, thieves. I had absent-mindedly forgotten to guard my pockets – and the gypsy with the fake diamond earring behind me didn’t waste a second to slip his grubby mitts into my jacket and nick my phone.
When I disembarked at my stop and felt into my empty pocket, I had that sinking feeling of just being tagged “it” – or that final jump in a losing game of checkers – the sting of defeat. But after an instant, I brushed it off. It was only a mobile phone, I still had my wallet zipped securely in my purse. I was in Rome, standing on the slick centuries-old stones of the Colosseum. What could get you down, when you are looking up at this?
After a morning stroll around the ruins, we went for lunch at this not-so-hidden gem overlooking Trajan’s Column. Enoteca Provincia Romana was a godsend, which sheltered us from the onset of rain showers – and had a stellar wine list to occupy us while we waited for the sky to clear.
After lunch we marched deeper into the city, our boots clunking on the cobbled streets, until we rounded a corner and there was the Pantheon.
As night fell, we stopped for a bite to eat at a local cafe in the Monti district. At La Barrique, we shared a few dishes, shuffling the plates around the table, and swishing down a bottle of fine Italian wine.
Our next stop was a local place called Periodico. A coffee shop for brooding Roman hipsters by day, it morphs into a bar for brooding Roman hipsters at night. The shaggy-bearded bartender whipped us up a round of delicious iced ginger cocktails. They brought out my inner beatnik.