The construction of the oval amphitheater Colosseum began under the emperor Vespasian in AD 72.
Among Pizzas and Piazzas
Text Magnus Wittbjer Photography Magnus Wittbjer & Micha van DintherAh! Rome, the eternal city. After years of intense heckling from friends and family, the hard working TypeO team finally had an opportunity to escape for a first ever visit to Rome for an extended weekend. One that we ended up stretching to a full week of sightseeing, treading the same stones as the emperors that founded and built the city.
One that we ended up stretching to a full week of sightseeing, treading the same stones as the emperors that founded and built the city.
Left, the 5th Century Santa Cecilia in Trastevere, and right, the nitro coffee by third wave coffee shop Permagino Caffè.
As a newbie to Rome it may seem like a daunting task to find ones bearings in an ancient city full of winding alleys, nooks and crannies. But all the ’necessities’ are close and easily reached on foot, once you have arrived in the city. It’s just that the proverbial ’grid’ of streets was not invented when the original city planners went to work sometime B.C., so a lot of zigzagging happens whether you like it or not.
Magnus taking in street art and building facades in the Monti neighborhood.
While not being overly diligent when it comes to sightseeing the traditional way we did enjoy seeing the Colosseum in the flesh. The Roman Forum is pretty amazing but the narrator in the guided audio tour is as dry and humdrum as collecting stamps (no offence, stamp collectors).
If superficiality is allowed, the most appealing TypeO sight of Rome is the Pantheon, an almost completely intact and working church, completed around 125 A.D.
Beautiful architecture perfect symmetry and a perfect testament that timeless beauty is ever-lasting. We wanted to see the Sistine Chapel in the Vatican, but forgot to pre-book tickets and were not too inclined to spend three hours in line to get in.
Left, the river Tiber offers spectacular views of St. Peter's Basilica, and right, roman men and their vespas.
For us, one of Rome's highlights was the Pantheon's dome with a spectacular oculus that let through light and rain.
The Romans, like all Italians, love their food. We do too. There are eateries everywhere, just don’t expect them to all be open at the same time. After consulting local advisors and a bunch of excellent travel guides, we stayed clear of anything edible at or close to the major sights.
Left, aperitovos and charcuteries at Il Sorpasso, and right, one of the ever-stylish women of Rome enjoying a cocktail in a bar i Trastevere.
On the lefthand side of the National Monument to Victor Emmanuel II, a chariot rides deep into the sunset.
Favorite lunch spot turned out to be Hostaria Romana. A small family run establishment on a narrow back alley. Friendly service, good vibes and of course excellent food. Another good lunch experience was Salotto 42 and their healthful buffet style lunch consisting of salads, slaws and grains. Just to balance out all those delicious slices of pizza ‘al taglio’ that somehow tend to make their way into our guts.
Left, statues mounted on top of curved rows of columns surrounding St. Peter's Square at the Vatican, and right, hip all-day eatery Urbana 47 in Monti.
Coffee is, besides wine, a preferred type of fuel for team TypeO. Rom has now shortage of either, but all those quick espresso-stops are nothing short of little marvels of social studies. Assertive stride to the cashier, throw in the order along with random banter. Receipt in hand, cross over to the barista who glances at the receipt while the banter continues.
The almost syrupy brown liquid is pressed into a tiny cup, knocked back in a hurry, accompanied by “Ciao, grazie!” and the patron is out the door.
The best coffee according to us is at Sant'Eustacio Il Caffè near Pantheon. Another favorite turns out to be a little way out of the center at Sciascia Caffè or Regoli Pasticceria, with the most beautiful little pastries. If you're into third wave, head to Pergamino Caffè and try the 'nitro' coffee, their version of cold-brew.
Epressos and Nutella-filled 'aragosta' pastries at Sant'Eustachio Il Caffè are a must in Rome.
Left, the statues at Villa Borghese, and right, the stunning decor in the hotel bar at G-Rough.
After a grueling day of ‘ooo’s’ and ‘aaaah’s’ and gaping mouths beholding grand and ancient architecture old as the hills with plenty of (window) shopping, an aperitivo is called for. And in Rome you have to resist the urge until a little later than five in the afternoon.
“Wine o’clock” in Rome is more around 20.00 or so and many bars have happy hour that includes a fairly extensive snack buffet with your cocktail.
Good to know when your dinner reservation is at 23:15. A relaxing spot for the early evening picker-upper is in the lobby of hotel G-Rough. We also liked Ai Tre Scalini and Civico 4 in bustling Monti.
Left, the statues at Villa Borghese, and right, aperitovos and tons of harty snacks at the elegant G-Rough bar.
There are tons of great gelato shops in Rome, but one of our favorite was Gelateria dei Gracchi in Prati.
Dinner in Rome is a tricky thing. The good places, while not necessarily fancy or pricey, are often booked for months in advance. Especially at peak season. We were lucky to have dinner at Roscioli, Armando al Pantheon and Urbana 47 among others. All excellent. The most memorable though, was probably Supplizio, a steet food brick and mortar in Regola.
Balmy evening, Vespas buzzing around, wine in hand, handsome couples strolling by.
And a few of those rich deep fried balls filled with rice, meat and mozzarella that are served “everywhere” in Rome, but refined to perfection at this place. Yum! That’s all we can say.
Micha trying to cope with the heat on the river Tiber.
Rome, TypeO will be back to explore more. If you are shopping for fashion, there is an abundance of stylish clothing to be had. Not only the global big shots like Gucci, Corneliani or Bottega Veneta. But we have to come back again to delve deeper into the city to find out more about roman interior décor, and if it actually exists. It is not a given in a city that seems to be lived at cafés, restaurants and piazzas.
Left, coffee at the bar at Caffè Settimiano in Trastevere, and right, a marble statue just off the Quirinal Palace.
A very photogenic inner courtyard near Fontana di Trevi.