Tag Archives: Rome

Roman Times

If there’s anything I love more than brunch, it’s a foreign city’s regional take on brunch. In Rome, there’s a place called Urbana 47 that has a multo bene 4-course special on weekends with a distinctly Italian twist.

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They start you off with a cheesy mozzarella wrap that is just the type of thing you’d reach for on the morning after the night before – followed by a ladle of pumpkin pasta in a beef ragout. Mamma mia! This duo of carbs is a hangover cure that doesn’t mess around!

Mozzarella and vegetable wrap with spicy tomato salsa

Mozzarella and vegetable wrap with spicy tomato salsa

Homemade pumpkin fettuccine pasta with beef ragout, mint and pecorino

Homemade pumpkin fettuccine pasta with beef ragout, mint and pecorino

Beef on a spit with caponata mixed vegetables

Beef on a spit with caponata mixed vegetables

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Afters, we trudged over to St Peters where crews were setting up chairs for mass. I mingled with the pilgrims and wandered around the basilica for a bit. What a fascinating place. You could feel the power and influence throbbing off the walls of the place – like little electric waves. It was almost more intimidating than it was spiritual. I felt a bit like a pilgrim myself…

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After all that piety, it was time for a refreshing dash in the rain back to headquarters – to rest up, watch Flashdance, and get ready for the night!StP11 River River1

That evening we dolled ourselves up, donned our LBDs, and headed out for drinks at the infamous Hotel de Russie.

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Everyone warned us Bar Stravinskij is dreadful. But we weren’t deterred; we had a feeling its glossy reputation as the place VIPs and politicians came to not lay low would verify its status as of one of the most iconic bars in Rome. Located in the courtyard gardens of Hotel de Russie, complete with Roman ruins and views of Villa Borghese, this place was indeed a society hotspot. The room fizzed with activity, like the bubbles in our champagne flutes. With Kevin Spacey wooing his Italian toyboy on one side of us, and a pair of blond women of ill repute in platform boots chatting up a potential john on the other, the people-watching was hilarious. We spent two hours in a perpetual fit of giggles.Night6 Night4 Night3

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After tittering the evening away, we cavorted off into the night in search of more amusement. Scuttling across the square, I took one last look back – and admired all the ancient beauty surrounding this crazy city! Vive la Roma!

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When In Rome, Beware of Romans

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?

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I may have just been robbed, but my future was looking so bright I had to wear shades.
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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.

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Cabbage flan with cheese fondue and crispy bacon

Cabbage flan with cheese fondue and crispy bacon

Ricotta and sour cherry tart

Ricotta and sour cherry tart

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.

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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.

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Chickpeas and sesame sauce with roasted octopus

Chickpeas and sesame sauce with roasted octopus

Spelt fettuccine in rabbit ragout, olives and fennel flowerheads

Spelt fettuccine in rabbit ragout, olives and fennel flowerheads

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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.
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We settled into a nubby sofa and chatted away until the lights came on. bar7 bar8 Night12 Night13More adventures tomorrow…

Ciao!