All of these things and more can be found in Trastevere.
After a late night staying up to watch the Eurovision results (congratulations, Ukraine) I got off to a slow start this morning. Perfect for a leisurely walk across the Tiber River to the hipster neighborhood of Trastevere. Here the streets are narrower, the murals are more plentiful and the tourists are fewer than in Monti, but not by much.
I started with a visit to Fontana dell'Acqua Paola for a view of the city and the fountain. It takes multiple staircases and hills to reach the top but every staircase I climb is another reason to justify gelato later in the day and it's nice to see Rome from above.
Heading down the hill, I was in search of a restaurant recommended by a friend. Tonnarello. While nearby restaurants had open tables, this place was already packed at 11:45 am and there was a line for people who wanted to eat outside. As a person who has waited in brunch lines in San Francisco for 60 minutes or more, I wasn't going to let a line stop me. In the end I only had to wait 15 minutes for a table in the shade with a great view for people watching.
In business since 1876, the specialty at Tonnorello is... tonnarello pasta. Slightly thicker than spaghetti, the version I got with cacio e pepe (cheese and pepper) was delicious. Who knew so few ingredients could taste so delicious? Italians, that's who.
Finishing my meal with un caffè (it's so tiny and delicious!) I wandered the streets taking photos and window shopping before sitting on a bench to soak it all in. I noticed an old woman leaning out of her window doing the same thing. Oh the sights she must see.
As I sat listening to the conversations, the birds and the scooters I smelled cigarettes and leather. Not what I was expecting until I saw a nearby shop selling belts, purses and shoes. There weren't many cars in the streets but those that were had to turn the corners in three steps - make the initial turn, back up because it's too tight to make in one go, and then complete your turn and try not to hit any pedestrians. Though the last part mostly depends on pedestrians trying not to get hit.
A slow stroll back past more churches and ruins and I'm here cooling off and working on logistics for tomorrow. I have a guided tour of the Vatican Museum at 10am. I wasn't particularly looking for a guided tour but when I realized I should book tickets ahead of time, that's all that was left. I found a place near the train station so I can drop off my bag, take the metro to my tour, then come back to get my bag and get on a train to Orvieto. That's the plan and I just bought a train ticket online because when I passed by the station yesterday it was a bit overwhelming. But when people speak to me in Italian, I'm getting much better at responding in what I'm calling Spantalish, so I'm sure I will be fine.
|Me and nonna people watching|
|Fontana dell'Acqua Paola|
|Basilica di Santa Maria|
|Tonnarello at Tonnarello|
|Fiat Panda with Storm Trooper|
|Italian Dora and Boots|
|The Tiber River|