From Tuscany to Rome

It is our last day in Tuscany. We are going to Rome for a week and so are the photo-happy Norwegian and his wife. O. & D. are going to the beach for a week. The rest are going home tomorrow.

Greve in Chianti

I wait here! - Sign in Greve.

Not far from Florence we get off the highway and drive by twisted roads into the heart of Chianti Classico country, where the many Sunday cyclists need all their gears.

The square in Greve.

We stop in Greve, "slow city", where the beautiful square hosts a market every Sunday. Today it is books and TG tells that last Sunday it was machines for slicing meat and sausages. There are also a lot of sports cars with enthusiastic owners and fans.

We get an exceptionally good espresso and have a look at the cars and the shops. The town has an air of life quality. "Why don't we stay here?", Helle asks and immediately finds an advert for an apartment with two balconies for the classico price of 200.000.

Lunch in Arezzo

But the trip continues towards Rome. We stop for lunch in Arezzo where we eat at "Buca di Franchesco" ("Franchesco's Mouth"), a cellar restaurant with frescoes on the arches and walls. The food is traditional Tuscan and excellent:

  • Panzanella all'aretina
  • Pappardelle condite con Sugo anatra e coniglio
  • Stracotta al chianti con polenta
  • Stufatino di manzo con fagioli
  • Crostata casalinga
  • Biscotti con Vin Santo
Which means something like:
  • Panzanella - bread crust mixed with tomato, onion, herbs, water, oil and balsamico vinegar.
  • Pasta (pappardelle) with a sauce of minced duck and rebbit with small pieces of onion and carrot.
  • Beef in chianti sauce with polenta and white beans in tomato sauce.
  • Cake and two biscottini with a good Vin Santo.
  • And then espresso 'corrected' with a bit of anis liquor.

Old Papa keeps an eye on everything and is happy when we praise the food. After Boston's miserable chow this is paradise.

Rome

We arrive to the hotel in Rome at about five in the afternoon. It is a new hotel with four new stars close to Via Ostiense - not far from the pyramid in a neighbourhood with half a star. There is 'modern' design everywhere and it is far from homely.

We go for a walk past the potsherd-hill and explore the neighbourhood to find a bar. It is a residential area and there are lots of bars and restaurants, but they are all closed on Sundays. It may be a local decree that Mamma must cook on Sundays. Around a playground are many locals, old and young, and there is a line outside the ice cream shop, which is not closed.

Our quest continues and finally we get lucky. It is a local bar and we enjoy a glass of white wine and local hospitality. We suddenly realise that we are quite close to a bridge to Trastevere and cannot resist the temptation to cross the Tiber and have dinner at La Villetta, a place we visited several times on our last trip to Rome.

In Trastevere traffic is dense even on a Sunday evening. We find Vicolo del Buco, and La Villetta is open all right, but traditions cannot be broken and before dinner we must have an aperitivo at "our" enoteca.

Via della Lungaretta is crowded and like the last time there is a beggar with a dog and puppies: "Abbiamo fame" ("We are hungry") says a cardboard sign. Trastevere is peaceful and village-like in the daytime, but in the evening it turns into flypaper catching tourists and with them all the parasites: beggars, street musicians and hawkers.

However all seats are taken outside the enoteca, so we return to La Villetta and get a table outside. We are not really hungry and order pasta only: spaghetti carbonara.

The waiter is new to us and downright rude and impolite. He is a middle aged sunburnt sergeant-type who treats the guests like recruits and mix up what people order.

At least he is very efficient at chasing the street musicians away - by doing so he can be even ruder than towards the guests, which he obviously enjoys. The spaghetti is not as good as in 2003 and when we want to pay we wait a long time for the change. What a disappointment!

We walk all the way back to the hotel. In the bar they play techno music, which must be to please the young staff.