Saturday morning arrived in a flash and sunshine beamed down upon the capital as we headed out towards the Villa Borghese gardens, conveniently only a 5 minute walk from our hotel, and they were marvellous; magnificent, yet slim, sky-scraping tree trunks help up green leafy shrubbery at their tops, the trees clustering together and stretching far into the gardens, enticing any passer-by. Visitors to the park strolled, cycled, jogged, through the long pathways fragmenting the landscape. The Villa Borghese Gardens is the largest public park in Rome so it’s easy to just relax here with Roman snacks on a Sunny afternoon, have a look at the historical buildings, villas and museums on site whilst being serenaded by Italian buskers. There’s also a fantastic little lake with the Temple of Asclepius right at the back of it that looks like something straight out of a movie – you can even hire a wooden boat and sail around it.
After exploring the gardens we made our way to Terrazza del Pincio for an amazing panoramic view and walked 10 more extra minutes to get to the famous Spanish Steps, which must’ve been many other people’s plan because it was RAMMED – a couple of minutes there was plenty of time…
Matching the building colour.
Hunger began to set in, and we travelled a great distance to get to a place that apparently sold the best tiramisu in Rome – I can now look back in retrospect and commend the journey and decision (it was THE best). This place is called ‘Two Sizes’, located on an especially beautiful and picturesque road in Rome called Via Del Governo Vecchio which is well worth a visit in itself. Here, they, funnily enough, sell two sizes of tiramisu ‘cups’, and in various flavours – we got a large cup of the classic coffee and a cup of the pistachio…
They also sell amazing cannoli….
WARNING: This place is so good I bought two extra cups to save and eat on the way to the airport at the end of my trip…
WARNING #2: You’ll have to try hard to keep yourself from making inappropriately loud yummy noises whilst eating these heavenly delights.
Only a short walk away was the next stop on the itinerary: Campo de’ Fiori – a large square hosting a buzzing outdoors produce and clothing market. The ingredients available were stunning, from beautiful purple-tinted artichokes to all the kinds of cheese you could ever imagine to an amazing array of salad leaves you can buy by the bagful.
Cul de Sac! (Our restaurant from the night before)
Only a short walk away again was the next stop; Borromoni’s Perspective. Built in 1653 by famous architect Francesco Borromoni, this colonnade is a highlight of ‘Baroque Illusionism’, giving an onlooker a deceptive sense of great depth, despite the corridor only being barely 9 meters long and the statue at the far end is only 90cm tall – this effect was interestingly created with a gradually rising floor, descending ceiling and converging walls. Set in a serene and peaceful orange garden, and with access to a historical art gallery upstairs – the Spada Gallery – this architectural illusion is well worth a visit…
The Spada gallery which you also get access to!
Blog posts can’t accurately reflect the duration of time passed between such documented events but believe me when I say by the time we left the gallery we were already starving (again). Torn between various restaurants I wanted to check out, we just grabbed some ‘pizza’ from a nearby bakery instead.
‘Street food’ found in many of the Pasticcerias (pastry shops) and Paneficios (bakeries) is a pretty common thing for locals to eat throughout the day, like foccacia-sandwiches laden with hams, salamis and cheeses or Roman pizza, which is one of the main two styles of pizza in Italy; the opposite to Neapolitan pizza, which is the one you’re most likely to think of and have eaten, Roman Pizza is more flat and crispy. Pizza al taglio is also very common and is a mix of these two types, served in rectangular slices in bakeries as street food to be eaten on the go. Here we had a pizza al taglio, warmed up and filled with mozzarella, mushrooms and ham.
We lazily strolled back up toward Piazza Navona, close to the amazing tiramisu joint, and bathed in the sunshine, people-watching and wondering in and out of little shops and cafes, even sampling some Limoncello in one before remembering I in-fact didn’t like limoncello #regrets.
~END OF PART 1~