My biggest impression from my first trip to Rome, a few months ago, was just how ancient everything is. Ruins, ruins everywhere.
We spent one morning with a wonderful guide, Virginia from Intrepid Travel, who toured us around Rome’s Jewish Ghetto. Virginia, who spoke excellent English, gave a lot of insight into the history of the neighborhood, armed with a graduate degree in Art History from the University of Siena.
She also guided us in the food of the neighborhood, including the wonderful Roman style pizza at Forno Campo de’Fiori. The potato rosemary was our favorite.
We also sampled some of the Roman Jewish pastries at a local bakeshop in the Piazza Costaguti. This is a version of a macaroon, made with almond paste instead of coconut.
Virginia also taught us how to drink, if we wanted, from the ubiquitous free-flowing water fountains which are found throughout the streets of Rome. There is an art to drinking from one of these taps without getting all wet, but the patina and moss discouraged me from trying.
My kids, of course, couldn’t resist:
One of the food highlights of the tour was the Campo de’ Fiori market, which had endless stalls displaying a beautiful selection of produce.
Prior to meeting up with Virginia, we had already strolled the market, where I met the charismatic Ahmed, a longtime immigrant from Egypt. Just to be clear, I am not usually one to buy “As Seen on TV” gadgets, but somehow, Ahmed convinced me that I truly needed to purchase his wares.
I mean, of course I needed a device that would allow me to roast a carrot inside a potato, so that it would look like an egg. And how is it possible that I didn’t already own a tool to spiral cut carrots and potatoes? If that weren’t enough, one of the tools could also be used to blow bubbles out of dish soap.
If you’re now wondering about my judgement, just watch Ahmed in action in the instructional clip below. You’ll get the best of his jokes (or not), and maybe understand how I bought not just one, but two sets of his “carota machines.”
Grazie mille for stopping by and reading. If you enjoyed this, please leave a comment and share this post with your friends. And I’m curious– have any of you purchased any As Seen on TV type gadgets, or am I the only one?
To read more of my Italian adventures, take a look:
Making Pici in Tuscany (w/recipe)