Trastevere, Campo dei Fiori and Monti

The neighbour's alarm clock goes off at six in the morning. The Danish group is probably going on another church crawl. We saw them yesterday afternoon entering a side street church. They looked hot and the priest had loosened his collar.

Via Cavour is traffic hell at half past eight, and the fumes are nauseating. Buses from Termini are full before they leave, and we are lucky to get seats by the exit. The tram goes to Trastevere from Largo di Torre Argentina.

Reading the paper while waiting for the tram

On our first trips to Rome in 2001 and 2003 we fell for Trastevere's picturesque charm. Now we find it too crowded, and we don't like being constantly pestered by street musicians, beggars and street hawkers trying to sell anything from faked handbags to long stemmed roses. At least that is how it is in the evening, but in the daytime the district still has some of its original charm and authenticity.

In Via della Lungaretta, Trastevere's entertainment artery, lie heaps of garbage from the weekend's excesses. Sweepers work to make things look presentable for a new invasion, and except for the sweeping machine it is peaceful and idyllic.

Outside the café at Piazza s. Egidio guests are having coffee and pastry while reading the paper. A pair of high heels crosses the cobble stoned piazza with care.

The Trastevere museum is closed Mondays, so instead we go for a walk. The neighbourhood is waking up. A man is washing down the street with a hose, and women polish glass fronts in small shops. An empty chair is chained to a wall. Two men are playing cards on a bench, and an old woman sits in front of a house reading the newspaper. There is graffiti everywhere.

From Trastevere Chained chair in Trastevere Graffiti in Trastevere Village atmosphere in Trastevere
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Campo dei Fiori

The tram returns to Largo di Torre Argentina, and from here it is but a short walk to Campo dei Fiori with the market. The vegetables are magnificent: peppers with bright colours, crisp green beans, many kinds of tomatoes, herbs, cherries, zucchini flowers, fresh porcini mushrooms, oranges for 1 € per kilo and much more. I suddenly miss my kitchen.

From Campo dei Fiori

After a panino-lunch at Caffé Fantini it is siesta time. The maid hasn't finished the room, but we tell her not to make the bed - waste of time.

Afternoon in Monti

One of the old streets in Monti

It is hot, but I am restless, so we turn the corner and settle putside Caffé Fantini. "Wine and water, please." and "Down with the cold!" Street musicians are having a jam session on the corner. For once they play for their own pleasure.

The district is old and has patina. There are parked cars and scooters everywhere, so you have to walk in the middle of the street and step aside when a car needs to pass. The parked cars' side mirrors are folded to avoid being cut off. When these streets were made, cars were science fiction.

Half past six we return to Piazza d. Madonna dei Monti. Kids play soccer, people sit on the fountain's edge, and more people are at the café next to ours. Most are Romans, but there are some tourists too.

The boxer and the bloodhound from yesterday pass again with their humans on a leash, and a street musician plays the accordion. A pair of high heels glides over the cobblestones like a hovercraft. Two movie cameras with an Asian crew pursue an Asian man, who walks quickly and looks from side to side. There is a buzz of Italian conversation, and over there a stocky man in a soccer shirt walks slowly with an old woman. She holds his arm with one hand and a walking stick with the other. It is quite normal to see daughters and sons 'exercise' the elder at this hour.

The lost cigarettes

Piazza d. Madonna dei Monti

Helle's hawk eye spots a package of cigarettes on the ground at the other bar. Two Italian girls at one table or a Japanese couple at another could have lost it. Helle urges me and says that now I have a chance to be courteous. But I want to observe first. We'll soon see if the cigarettes belong to someone.

I was right. One Italian girl lets her hand explore her handbag. The girlfriend still has her undivided attention, while the hand searches. It is experienced and needs no help.

After a while the hand reports that it is unable to find the desired item, and the girl's focus shifts from the girlfriend to the bag. Even the girlfriend starts searching her bag. There is no doubt now about the cigarettes' rightful owner.

I get up and interrupt the now frantic search by asking the smoker if she speaks English: "Parla inglese?" She looks up a bit startled and says: "Si", and that makes it easier to explain that the cigarettes are on the ground below the girlfriend's chair. When I return to my chair, they wave gratefully with broad smiles.

Ristorante Gli Angeletti

We get a table outside Gli Angeletti just around the corner. Helle has spaghetti ametriciana and I pasta with rabbit ragout and porcini mushrooms. For main course Helle has Angus beef with leeks in a Gorgonzola sauce, while I have tender pork with potatoes and onions.

The food is delicious, but the waiters are slow. They are like flies in a bottle: moving fast but to no avail. The bill says 67.5 € and we should have ordered it with the meal.

As we leave, people are waiting outside for a table. (P.S. We revisited in 2010. Maybe the place had got a new owner - it was very disappointing, and we'll not return.)