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Monday, February 27, 2012


 Rome, for me.....
Zucchini flowers
When I was 17, I went to Italy for the first time on a group tour all throughout the country, visiting several cities from Venice to Pompeii. But of all the Italian cities, I feel a magnetic pull between myself and Rome.
Like most European cities, it’s full of history. But when in Rome, there’s really no need to go inside a stuffy cold museum and shuffle around from artifact to artifact. The history is outside, you tour on foot, and it’s free of charge. The works of Bernini are sculpted on bridges, atop fountains, in churches. In a day of walking, it is possible to view the Pantheon, Trevi Fountain, Spanish Steps, Colosseum, the Vatican, and a lot more. All of which are free of charge with the exception of the extra tours inside the Vatican museum (to view Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel…or as the soliciting tour guide told us, the Sixteen Chapel) and the tour inside the Coliseum. 
Pantheon at sunset
My suggestion to you? Buy yourself a guidebook, or hell, print out some Wikipedia fact sheets and go be your own tour guide. Or do what I do and linger creepily close to English speaking tour guides who shout all the important facts to their students that don’t care. Don’t have a plan, lose the schedule and relax. Stroll the streets and get lost a little. That is how I have found some of the best places to eat, drink, and people-watch in my favorite city.
Cappucino in Trastevere

Champagne & warm nuts, Tuna appetizer, Short rib entree
I’ll start from the beginning of this fabulous journey to Rome. Our early evening flight was very comfortable. We sipped champagne and ate like kings. The wine selection and in-flight food topped some of the best restaurants on the ground. 
To start, I had the seared tuna with Asian noodles and wasabi. For my entrée, I enjoyed the short ribs. On the return flight I had the filet of beef with gnocchi. I find both gnocchi and short ribs to be daring choices for an airline to serve at 35,000 feet. Both are incredibly difficult to cook just right, and if it isn’t perfect you will taste the flaws. Bold move, great success! 
Filet of beef with blue cheese sauce and gnocchi

 After all the cheese plates, wine, and desserts I reclined my flat bed to the 180 degrees it promised me, watched a movie, and fell asleep. Eyes open in Italy!
Chocolate cream puffs were heavenly

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