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A Postcard from Rome

The Jewish Ghetto in Rome

The Jewish Ghetto in Rome

Greetings from Lisbon, and a delayed greeting from Rome. I haven’t written from either (yet) as I have been ill. Coughing and whooping, I felt like something within was scratching to get out. I am much better now, and sitting in a gorgeous Lisbon apartment bathed in sunshine. I can now write.

Lots to catch up on, lets start with Rome. I spent 4 nights there, working on a HouseTrip city commission, gathering local recipes and checking out the best local places to eat. It was my fourth trip to Rome, but my first in seven years. It was interesting to see how much it had changed. Less Fiat 500s and more Smart cars for  a start.

I stayed near the Vatican, on a hill, in a sleepy quiet part of Rome. Rome is so walkable it was a great location from which to explore. The four days were saturated with nostalgia. I couldn’t help but recall previous trips. The first when I was 19 and so very naive and enthusiastic. I had been in Nice for the summer and had saved some money so I hopped on the train to Italy.

I started in Florence which was nice but too quiet for me, but I loved Rome. I loved it all but I especially loved the potato pizza and the gelato and I went from being a seriously (too) skinny girl to normal size, which was 2 stone heavier. It broadened my culinary horizons and that was when I discovered the joy of culinary travel.

I visited the Vatican and I remember how thrilled my Irish grandmother was when I brought her back some rosary beads. Pope John Paul II was hugely popular in what was a very Catholic Ireland then (not so much now, things have changed in my generation). I walked past it every day on this trip and each day reflected on then and now and what has changed.

Then I recalled my last trip there 7 years ago, when I stayed near the Vatican again. I remember the pizza, the pasta, the croquettes, courgette flowers, the Fiat 500s (sadly less numerous now), men beating the trees with sticks in the evenings (to get birds out?), the crazy lady whose house we stayed in, who enthusiastically showed us the advertised PANORAMA from her apartment then ushered us back to our room which overlooked the bins. Rome doesn’t quite do B&B even though it thinks it does.

More on Rome soon… and Lisbon. For now, enjoy the photos.

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I like food. I like to make food. Eat food. Photograph food. Write about food. Mainly in London but when I am lucky or organised further afield.

17 Comments

  1. Love the photos on your blog. Always making me hungry, even after I just ate! :-) x

    petitpromise.blogspot.co.uk

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  2. Hey Niamh
    It’s been a while since I commented – loved your post on Rome and, in particular, the pictures which are very evocative of a city caught between so many different realities, traditional and contemporary, secular and religious, old and new etc. I’ve blogged quite a bit about Italy – Florence, Naples, Rome. Herewith one which may resonate with you: http://padraicino.com/2012/10/22/from-the-venetian-to-via-veneto-the-importance-of-authenticity-in-the-destination-experience/
    Padraic

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  3. Love love love your photos of Rome – it is one of my favourite cities and the food is second to none!! I really like the photo of the bowl of pasta (is it carbonara?) whatever it is, it looks amazing and reminds me how the Italian food is so good that they don’t need to soak the pasta with the sauce, just a light coating with some good parmesan makes for a wonderful supper. Thanks for your post – I really enjoyed it.

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    • Thank you! Yup – carbonara and it was perfect (at Roscioli). Pecorino always in Rome though! No parmesan :)

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  4. I don’t think you ever forget your first trip to Rome. The last time I was there was peak summer, in a heatwave. I ate gelato for three meals a day. I was so happy (nb, hope you get better soon!)

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    • Thanks Tori! Feeling much better now. We must catch up soon in London. I know I told you already but I *love* your book :) x

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  5. Ha, you’ve got me remembering my Rome trip now (6 years ago). Accommodation was more expensive there than anywhere else in Italy so instead of a private room we opted for a 6-bed room, paying a little extra for a private bathroom, in a hostel. We shared with 4 permanently drunk Irish lads who would come in very late at night. I remember one of them couldn’t actually get into bed so slept on the floor. There were other rooms in the hostel that all had to share one external bathroom. That’s not enough bathrooms, so the hostel staff sent random people into our room to shower or use the loo in the middle of the night. Oh, the door’s locked? Here, have a key!

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  6. So Piri-Piri isn’t a mythological ingredient invented by Nandos’ marketing department?! Who knew :D – I emailed this to my friend who was convinced of this ‘fact’. I’m looking forward to seeing more recipes from this trip… hint hint !

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