european adventures: rome, italy

Ted and I are already daydreaming about returning to Rome. The city is so full of history, but most importantly, it is also so full of life. We could have wandered around Rome for several days more, finding new ruins to gaze at and seeking out the best pizza, pasta, and gelato it had to offer (and it had a lot). Although we still stand by our favorite pizza and pasta in Venice, Rome had some very strong contenders. I found it very hard to believe my stomach would ever be so pleasantly and consistently full of such delicious things again (and then I reminded myself that Screendoor's chicken and waffles await me in Portland). 

Thankfully we went before high season (which hits in June, I believe), so it wasn't too crowded or too hot quite yet.  The only downside to this was that since it wasn't "tourism season," a few places were under restoration.  It was fine though, because personally I'll take a little scaffolding over a lot of crowds any day.  The only time we were bombarded with people was at the Vatican Museum, which was absolutely bonkers--we're talking barely any room to breathe, much less appreciate artwork.  I guess it was a blessing though, because it was the last thing on our list, thus making the whole "leaving Rome" thing a little more bearable.  Speaking of the Vatican, we saw more priests and nuns than I will probably ever see again in my life.  Also, all of the shops they buy their clothes at.  

The Lizzie McGuire movie certainly didn't let us down.  Yes, we totally watched most of it one night, before Ted's charger broke.  I dutifully made a wish at the Trevi Fountain channeling my inner Lizzie, but seriously, what else could I possibly need when I'm already in Rome with one of my favorite people in the world?  
The Beehive, where we stayed for four nights, was such a welcome change of pace after our weird place in Venice. When we arrived, the adorable American couple (oh how nice it was to walk into a place where everyone spoke English!) who owned the place was leaving after a little 15 year anniversary shindig that they had that night. They even had a little fluffy white dog in tow--I had to show the woman and her daughter the picture of Izzy on my phone of course.

The room Ted and I shared was clean, light, and airy, stocked with soft sheets, free towels, and a sink with handmade Orange Cinnamon soap. The bathrooms down the hall had natural shampoo and body wash for general use as well. Naturally, there was a vegetarian/vegan cafe downstairs, with a colorful lounge space with Rome guides in every language and an iPad for guests to use. Even the big dorm room, where we stayed the last night, called "the hive," was great. I loved the little crocheted holders on the wall next to each bed. 

It was just a top-notch establishment--homey, colorful, and environmentally-friendly. You can tell how much love has been put into The Beehive, from the family photos in the basement lounge and endearing children's artwork covering the wall across from a large portrait painting of their three daughters, to the extensive PDF of recommendations provided on their website. I highly recommend!
OVER 2,000-YEAR-OLD RUINS! I was perceptually amazed by them, just chilling casually on the side of the road. We walked around the perimeter of these random spots of awesome the first day we wandered around and I was just in complete awe. I live in two very young cities (Phoenix and Portland) in a young country (seriously, in comparison to Rome, America is still learning to walk and form its first words!), so being in Rome was completely awe-inspiring.  We saw the Pantheon, the Forum, the original Palatine Hill (which strangely had similarities to the Palatine Hill we are very familiar with), the Colosseum, and more.  Seriously, there are ruins popping up everywhere.  It is absolutely 100% awesome.  I loved seeing how the bustling contemporary city and stoic ancient city intertwined.  It was so beautiful in such a unique way.  Rick Steves provided us historical background and dorky puns via iPhone earphones throughout our time exploring, and we are eternally grateful for that.  What a man.
Like I said, there was some incredible food on every corner. And 99.99999% of it was Italian, which was totally okay with me--that is what I want, always.  We had so much pasta, pizza, and gelato, it probably shouldn't be allowed.

Our greatest food adventure was the night we left our hostel on the later side and pursued the best pizza Rome had to offer after a brief trip to the Spanish Steps.  Sforno was far away, but completely worth it.  The moment we got there, I knew we were somewhere special.  I could see that the majority of the diners were locals, and I knew we were in for a treat.  We ordered some suppli, which we had tried once before at a pizza place which name escapes me (maybe once I dig through all my paper souvenirs I will update these with more links).  They were fantastic, but unfortunately filled us up a bit too much--once our incredible pizzas arrived, we weren't quite sure how we would tackle them, but we did so with gusto, and were only left with a couple of pieces of each, which we gladly finished in the morning for breakfast.  Let me tell you, the cacio e pepe (shown above) is famous for a reason.  I've never eaten a pizza like it.  It reminded me more of dessert pizza with its moist, fluffy texture, but it was savory with its perfectly peppered pecorino (alliteration never sounded so delicious). It was like eating a pizza cloud.  There you have it!  The margherita pizza was also out-of-this-world, although after some debate, we decided the pizza from Venice won.  I should also mention that during our religious pizza experience, some apocalyptic winds were banging at the giant front windows.  We thankfully found shelter at an empty table inside before receiving our precious food.

Additional shout-outs go out to:  every cone of gelato we ate (and there were SO MANY, GUYS, SO MANY), the old woman who stared everyone down from the kitchen of the family-run restaurant around the corner from our hostel where we got lasagna and the most perfect pasta with bacon, pepper, and pecorino, the man at Roscioli who recommended we get a frolle di ricotta e visciola which is one of the best pastries I've ever put in my mouth, the dog who we stopped to watch chew on a bone while melancholy music wafted from the restuaraunt we were passing after life-changing gelato at (I got a video of it--we stifled back some serious giggles), the obnoxious couple sitting next to us at the delicious restaurant near the Vatican that lived up to way too many American stereotypes--our bowl of mussels had more class than you (I don't know what I even mean by that, because mussels are pretty classy regardless...), and countless others. Rome, you were good to us.


Eva Goellner said...

All of this looks amazing! you're making me so hungry with all these posts about your post-london travel, I want PIZZA!!!

Natalie said...

Finally a place that I have actually been! ALL OF THE LIZZIE MCGUIRE FLASHBACKS. Also, that place you stayed looks so incredibly cute and I love it. I also love your line about already being there with your favorite person ever and it was just so adorable ugh ugh ugh you and Ted! Also... this post makes me want pizza and I don't even like pizza that much.