We had a super early flight to Rome from Paris and our jet lagged bodies did not appreciate the 3 am wake up call. We zoned out on the flight and landed in Rome about 2 hours after take-off. Alitalia served up a plot twist, when the plane disembarked from the back, leaving us stuck between some massive impatient tour groups.
Surviving the deplaning, we made it to our hotel. Easily the worst hotel of our trip, naturally the room wasn’t ready and the attendants weren’t helpful, so we made our way to the streets to explore the Monti neighborhood. We were about 3 minutes from the Colosseum. If the accommodations were less than ideal, it was still pretty crazy seeing ruins in your backyard! We found a tiny coffee shop and had some lackluster Nutella pastry and cannoli. My Italian-American roots expected a lot more from that cannoli, let me tell you. I had finally made it to the Motherland and that cannoli felt like it was filled with marshmallow fluff in some Southern backwater.
Exhausted, we returned to the room for a few hours of desperately needed sleep. After a nap, the world felt renewed and I felt kindly to it again, even rude tourists and poorly made cannoli (probably so badly designed to suit the nascent palates of rude tourists the world over).
Restored we ventured to the Pantheon, stopping for pizza taglio (or “by the slice”) along the way. We also made our way to the Piazza Navona and reveled in the beauty of the landscape, even though we were ass-to-elbow with other tourists (a recurring theme of the trip). The startling white of the marble accentuated the blue sky.
Still a bit peckish, we went to Supplizio for the Roman version of arrancini called suppli. Paul loved the carbonara and I preferred the cacio e pepe.
We ambled through some tiny streets, dodging cars, and Vespas, and people. We landed eventually at a small cafe for Prosecco and our new favorite drink, the Aperol Spritz.
We headed back to the Pantheon, as it was less crowded a bit later in the evening. We took a short walk around inside, admiring the impressive structure but taking in little of its historic significance.
We finished the day with one of our most epic meals of all-time at Armando Al Pantheon. Nestled near the Pantheon, Armando Al Pantheon is much, much better than it needs to be. Heavy foot traffic suggests that this tiny trattoria could throw out quality all together, but the owners persist in making soulful, Roman classics with high quality ingredients. There’s a reason this place frequently appears on lists of the top restaurants in Rome year after year.
The waiter recommended a delicious red wine from the region and we enjoyed it alongside the creamy buffalo mozzarella and perfectly ripened tomato bruschetta. Paul had the most intense egg-flavored carbonara, while I chose the pasta alla amatriciana.
For secondi, I had the veal saltimbocca and Paul had a chicken and peppers dish. We raved about this meal for the entirety of the trip and can’t wait to return some day!