Monday, June 24, 2013

At the bar Il Piccolo Divino.

If you walk by Il Piccolo Divino in the afternoon you'll see a very plain patio on a narrow street.
 But in the evening it becomes very charming. It's not far from Piazza Navona, along the groovy via del Governo Vecchio (#74).
 I usually had a bottle of their local organic beer, Bill had a red wine.
Then we realized we could get a bottle of Prosecco for 20 euros and sip it over an evening of people watching.
 We think this must be the owner. 
We saw him often and he was always surrounded by friends. 
 Lots of foot traffic on via del Governo Vecchio
  It was fun to watch people sit down and have a drink and then drift on.
The fellow on the right is one of the staff.
We spent many a pleasant evening here.
 It was raining on our last night in Rome -- a warm rain. We had a quick drink at our table for old times sake, while some locals partied across the street.
 The staff were always so friendly and attentive. They called us "gentilizi" (noblemen). How charming is that?

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Angelica Library

 Bill and I have often walked by and visited Chiesa Sant'Agostino. It contains a famous Caravaggio. But we never noticed this library next door. One afternoon we were walking by with cosmopolitan storyteller Mariella Bertelli. She was astonished we didn't know about it and walked us straight in.
The Biblioteca Angelica, the Angelica library, has been open to the public since 1609.
It was born when Augustinian bishop, Angelo Racca, placed his large collection of rare books in the hands of the Augustinian friars at this address. The amazing reading room with its towering banks of books was built in 1786 to house the collection, which had grown through many other bequests.
The library focuses on books about the Reformation and Counter-Reformation, Italian literature and theatre from the 15th to 18th centuries and many maps and atlases.
We were utterly enchanted.
 Mariella led me to the back where I inspected the New Books Shelf.  Bembo is a Renaissance scholar, aristocrat and bishop. Bobbio is a political philosopher and historian. I hadn't heard of either one before but I'm now interested in them both.

Friday, June 7, 2013

Two more lunches at Dal Pollarolo

John and I had the pleasure of lunching at Trattoria Dal Pollarolo two more times during our stay in Rome in May. You will find it on the narrow Via di Ripetta just below the Piazza del Popolo.
I ordered chicken with roast potatoes with a side of steamed chicory and John had the meatballs al sugo (in gravy) with mushrooms and an insalate mista (mixed salad).
Don't my roast potatoes look scrumptious?!
 We had a nice chat with proprietor, Alessandro, who asked John to email him some of our food photos to put up on Dal Pollaloro's website.
When we ordered espressi after our meal, Alessandro dropped off two complimentary cherry pastries.
 They were divine! The crunchy pastry has wine mixed into the batter and as you can see the cherry compote filling gleamed. Grazie mille, Alessandro!
On our next visit to the family restaurant John started with a wholesome vegetable minestrone
 while I chose steamed chicory again as my side dish. The Romans love bitter greens in season both in salads and as side dishes.
This time the restaurant was being managed by co-proprietor, Tonino, husband of Alessandro's sister.
 I chose Tonino's recommendation, homemade gnocchi in tomato sauce, for my main dish, and it was delicious -- I ate every bite.
  John chose the alternative daily special, a sumptuous pumpkin risotto.
 Looks happy doesn't he.
 When we finished with our usual espressos, Tonino brought us a complimentary strawberry mousse for us to share. Oh, those Italians!

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Mercatino di Piazza delle Coppelle

During our month in Rome John and I became regulars once more at our local tiny one-family daily market in the hidden-away Piazza delle Coppelle. They specialize in flowers, salad greens and fresh fruit as well as their own eggs and olive oil.
You can even get local, soft buffalo-milk mozzarella cheese and rough country bread. Perfect for a toasted tomato and mozzarella sandwich. Believe me.
A couple days a week a fish stand of local catch is added to the selection. Shopping at the mercatino is a great way to start your day.