Traveling is the best form of education one can gain after school. Walking the paths of another culture, history and socio-economic structure awaken your senses completely and assure you that the world can offer you so much, if you allow it to. Traveling is also a great form of escape – not in the sense of running away from a reality – but rather an escape from the mundane to re-evaluate your life, ideas and re-generate your creative juices. I have always done my best work while at airports and on planes, which is also how my first (and only, so far!) book was completed!
Last month brought me on a chance visit to the magnificent city of Rome for a weekend. The city’s beautiful architecture, the incredibly romantic men and the mouth-watering food are more than justifiable reasons to visit. Though there is plenty literature out there on Rome, I just want to touch upon a few things that you absolutely must do, should you visit.
First up, the gelato. Don’t waste your time on any of the chain stores. For the best gelato in the world (YES, WORLD!), go only to Gelateria del Teatro. Artisanal gelato, with unique fabulous flavours will ensure you return for another scoop. Have the Pistachio (sourced from Etna), along with Rosemary-Honey-Lemon, made with lemons from Amalfi and artisanal honey, Roasted Almond from Sicilian nuts, or the Lavender and White Peach for a beautiful delicate flavour. The queue is long, but moves quickly. The parlour is located in a storybook like cobblestoned street, lined with antique shops, Italian leather and handmade jewellery stores. If you haven’t fallen in love with Rome yet, you will here!
Next, a visit to the Trevi Fountain is a must, closer to midnight, to take in the beauty and the sheer magnificence lit up by the romance of the night sky. Toss a coin in (with your right hand, over your left shoulder) making a wish. If you’re lucky you’ll see a marriage proposal take place, with the entire crowd clapping and cheering on, reinstating faith in even the staunchest unromantic, like me (although, I still refused to toss a coin!).
If you want to see the historical sights, I recommend a golf cart tour with an enthusiastic guide, pre-buying tickets to avoid the long queues and advance book a pass for the gorgeous Borghese art museum to view the amazing collection. The flirtatious Roman men are never short of compliments and will restore your confidence on a bad day or month.
When it comes to food, fill your stomachs with plates of cacio e pepe, zucchini flowers, artichokes and the best pizza margherita. Fun fact about the margherita pizza: you will hear the tale of Umberto I, most famous for unifying parts of Italy into one country. But have you ever heard of him? Nope. Because his wife was far more popular, Queen Margherita, who as the fable goes, created the pizza with fresh tomatoes, basil and white cheese to represent the Italian flag – giving birth to the Pizza Margherita! King Umberto is long forgotten (who cares about unifying a great country?), but Queen Margherita lives forever in the Italians’ hearts! Our guide humorously pointed out that no matter what the men do, the world always cherishes the women more!
A weekend in Rome may double your chin and bring back your love handles but it will also introduce a big grin to your face that will be hard to wipe off. The city will enamour you with its’ charm, the men will seduce you and the carbs will hug your body warmly.