We flew to Italy last week for a little spring break.
We dyed eggs for Hugo's first egg hunt, which was a roaring success until he ate one chocolate egg too many and turned into a (screaming, sugar-crazed) pumpkin. We played ball, which led to Hugo's first word in Italian ("palla!"), and watched the cat eat breakfast (and lunch and dinner) and ate our weight in sweet, delicious vegetables. From zucchini to Swiss chard to artichokes to peas and fava beans, everything tasted like it had been picked that very morning.
And then Max and I got up at dawn one morning and went to Rome for three days on our own, which was long overdue and much-needed and blissful in every sense of the word.
We stayed at the Hotel Anahi, a little gem just off of Piazza del Popolo. Despite the location and our room on the first floor, it was wonderfully quiet at night and so cozy and sweet. I know Rome relatively well - my mother grew up there and lived there for three years while I was in college - but Max had never been before, so we decided to keep to a relatively small area for our visit, nothing further than what we could reach on foot.
The same friends who recommended the hotel also told us about a lovely bar to stop in for breakfast - Caffè Canova Tadolini on via del Babuino. The slant-roofed little building used to be Canova's studio and is filled with busts and other sculptures and now houses a bar (and restaurant) serving very good coffee and a wonderful plain cornetto - faintly scented with orange and yeasty-crisp.
We had three good lunches - at Sora Margherita in the ghetto, which was good but more touristy and expensive than I remembered (which, to be fair, was at least 15 years ago, when it was just one little room with five tables), at the Antica Birreria Peroni near the Trevi fountain, which is where my mother and her colleagues used to eat for lunch all the time, and at Enoteca Corsi, which was new to me, but has clearly been there forever and was filled with Romans.
Our dinners weren't as successful due to lack of advance planning, but it was hard to care. Rome is Just So Beautiful. It's almost too much to take. The weather was spectacular and we walked around with our mouths open in wonder most of the time.
And the surprise (to me) highlight of the trip? Visiting the Colosseum. I had never been inside before and was a little nonplussed when Max insisted on it. All those lines! All those tourists! But I'm so glad he did - we spent over three hours inside, agog at the whole thing - the architecture, the historical details, the sheer size, all of it. Humans, man. History, man! Amazing. (We did an audio tour, which was fine, but if we could do it again, I'd shell out the cash for a guided tour to access also the lower- and uppermost levels. In case you're planning a trip to Rome anytime soon...)