Out of all the cities we have visited in Italy, none speak to my heart like Rome does! There is something magical and mysterious about this city, and, at the same time, welcoming and exciting, full of art and history, not to mention the incredible food. I have to admit that it does not hurt that we have many friends here, people with whom we have grown close, to the point that, when we see them, it is as if we are visiting family, not people who would have been complete strangers, years ago. Out of all of Rome’s neighborhoods, the one I feel most comfortable in, where I feel most at home, is Trastevere. So, that is where we booked an apartment for our stay, during this visit to Rome. The apartment was located on Via Garibaldi, which is a perfect location for exploring this particular part of the city.
A few doors down, across the street, on Via Garibaldi, there was the famous restaurant, Antica Pesa. This restaurant now has locations around the world, with the original in Rome, one in Qatar, and even one in Brooklyn, New York. In the past, I had dined at both, the one in Brooklyn, and the one in Rome, and while the food is fine, I find it overpriced, for what you get.
Like most of the streets of Rome, Via Garibaldi has no shortage of places to eat!
At the bottom of Via Garibaldi, you will find the Porta Settimiana, an ancient city gate that was set into the line of defensive city walls, dating back to the 3rd century, and built by the Emperor Aurelian. In 1498, Pope Alexander VI rebuilt the gate, which also marks the start of Via della Lungara, a street that led pilgrims to the Vatican, throughout history.
Nearby, you will find Piazza Trilussa, a popular spot for both, Romans and tourists. Previously known as Piazza Ponte Sisto, the square takes its current name from the Roman poet, Carlo Alberto Camilo Mariano Salustri, otherwise known as Trilussa.
The fountain in Piazza Trilussa is known as the Fontana di Ponte Sisto, or the Fontanone dei Cento Preti, and is the work of the Dutch architect, Jan van Santen.
At the edge of the piazza, there is a monument to Trilussa, which dates from 1954, and is the work of the sculptor, Lorenzo Ferri. The tablet next to the sculpture is inscribed with the text of Trilussa’s poem, “All’Ombra,” or “In the Shadow.”
A short walk across Ponte Sisto takes you to the other side of the city.
The copy of the statue “Homeless Jesus,” by the Canadian sculptor, Timothy Schmalz, is one of 100 copies of the piece found in cities all over the world, including Toronto, Canada, which has the original, and the Dominican Republic. I have only ever seen the one in Rome, and every time I see it, it moves me!
The Church of the Santissima Trinità dei Pellegrini is on Via dei Pettinari, not far from Ponte Sisto. The church dates from 1587, and for many years, along with the adjoining buildings, served as a hospice for pilgrims traveling to Rome. The facade was rebuilt in 1722 by the architect Giuseppe Sardi, to designs by Francesco de Sanctis. The statues one sees on the facade are by Bernardino Ludovisi.
It has now become a tradition for us to have our first dinner, whenever we return to Rome, at a restaurant in Trastevere, called Hostaria La Botticella, on Vicolo Leopardo, 39/a. I highly recommend anyone traveling to Rome to have at least one meal here. The food is wonderful, but for me, the best part of the entire experience is being able to visit with the owner and chef, Giulia, who has become like a sister to me, over the years . On this particular evening, we dined on a mixed, cold antipasto; grilled lamb chops; a rolled, stuffed meat, called braciola, and cooked in tomato sauce; a side of puntarelle alla romana; and, of course, a piece of Giulia’s delicious chocolate ricotta cake, along with some limoncello. It was a wonderful end to a great day!
Next up: We explore more of beautiful Rome!
We wish everyone a Healthy and Happy New Year! May we all be able to travel again in 2021, to visit places we have always wanted to see, or that simply feel like home to us! In the meantime, please, stay safe, and be well!
Note: This blog is written in English and Spanish, and the author takes no responsibility for the quality of any other translations that may appear. If you have enjoyed this post, please, check out our archives for more posts from Rome, as well as other Italian destinations. Grazie!