Friday, 14 June 2013

Rome's birthday celebration

During our recent trip to Rome we were lucky enough to witness the celebration of city's 2,766th birthday. Yes, it is that old! Romulus supposedly founded the city on April 21, 753 B.C.

Romans have been celebrating Natale di Roma for over two millennia and this year was no exception. There were a few events honoring this holiday and as luck would have it, we were just passing by National Monument to Victor Emmanuel II (aka Altare della Patria) when Roman mayor stopped by to place a wreath on the monument. The event was accompanied by a few tunes from a military marching band.

I also posted a couple of photos of this huge monument in my previous Wordless Wednesday post - you are welcome to check them out. The monument truly is magnificent and definitely deserves a special mention.

Despite of all the festal spirit we were very much amused by a bunch of policemen trying to maintain temporary traffic arrangement. One of the exits from the roundabout in front of the monument was closed during the event but local drivers did not take that easily. Every few minutes a car stopped, with someone trying to explain his reasons for an exception. It was funny to watch how the police officer's attitude was changing from strict at the beginning of each conversation to a more understanding and in some cases indulgent in the end.

You could hardly witness such a display somewhere in the UK. This was also a perfect example of how rules are often meant to be bent and even broken in a society like Italian. If you are aware of this fact, an Italian vacation might prove to run a lot smoother.

Every year on 21st of April Aventine Hill is decorated with lights, and often there is a fireworks display set over the Tiber River. This year there was also a free open-air concert held on the Piazza del Popolo. Another thing worth noting is that on this day most museums and city parks are open and also offer free admission to the public.


Wednesday, 12 June 2013

Altare della Patria monument in Rome


Monday, 10 June 2013

Top 3 ice-cream places in Rome

As I have already mentioned in my previous post, choosing the best ice-cream Rome has to offer is next to impossible. There are simply too many really good choices and people also have very different tastes... and as we say in Slovenia:
One should never question the tastes of others.

Since some people would give a top rating to an ice-cream parlor simply on the basis of countless ice-cream varieties on offer, some only care about a particular variety and could not care less about anything else, it is impossible to select the best place from everyone's point of view.

When reading this article, you should keep in mind this is our subjective opinion, based on the limited number of places we visited while in Rome. In our tasting method there is also a total lack of any kind of scientific approach - we rely only on our own subjective criteria. We enjoy doing it, though. A lot.

So what are we usually looking for in an ice-cream? It is hard to put a finger on it actually... First of all it is a combination of color and consistency that lures us into one place and not the one next door. We like milky, creamy, fruity and chocolate flavours, but usually we get our first idea of a place by checking out strawberry and the darkest chocolate varieties.

When it comes to taste it has to be as natural as possible, with as little added sugar as possible. Fruity varieties (strawberry and blueberry are our favorites) usually taste better if there are some chunks of fruit still in there.

We were mostly ordering strawberry and dark chocolate varieties. So if you are not interested in those two, the below list might not be all that relevant to you. However, you can give them a try and leave your feedback later - I think everyone will appreciate that.

So without further ado, here is our list of top 3 ice-cream places in Rome:

  1. Fior di Luna - gelato e cioccolato
    They only use high quality natural ingredients and they make strawberry ice-cream to die for. You can find them in the Trastevere area on Via della Lungaretta, 96.
  2. Venchi
    This is a place with 135 years of tradition. All of their Gelato is produced using only natural ingredients and has very low fat content. Chocolate is their other specialty. They are located on via della Croce 25 (near the Spanish steps).
  3. Giolitti
    I guess this is the most popular of the three and also quite expensive. Although we liked their wast selection of gelato, we didn't like it as much at the top two places - still enough to make it to the 3rd place though. They also have a vast selection of cakes and other deserts that will be hard to ignore once you enter their store on via Uffici del Vicario, 40 (a stone's throw from the Pantheon).
Do you know these places? Do you have your own favorite ice-cream place in Rome? We would love to read your comments on the subject.

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