“When In Rome…

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…do as the Romans do.”My latest travels took me to the ancient, modern, exciting, eternal city of Rome. No, the photo above is not retouched. The sky was REALLY that blue. It’s been 12 years since my last visit there, but this time I fell in love. Hard and irreversible. This city has everything: 2000 years of history, all the modern amenities of life in the 21st century, culture, trash in the streets, and above all: food that seems to come from heaven.

The closeness to heaven is implied by the omnipresence of St. Peter’s Basilica’s rooftop, visible from almost everywhere. But the Vatican does not hold a monopoly on heaven on earth.

Romans – and Italians in general – have always cherished their foods in a simple, unadulterated way. Rome is the city with the largest agricultural use of its territory in the world. Yes, Romans – and Italians in general – prefer to eat what they grow. What a concept.

Neighborhood markets are the most natural and accepted thing in the world.

Eating in season? What do you mean? How else would we (the Romans – and the Italians in general) eat?

Strawberries in February? No. We don’t do that. This is an original citation from the owner of a wonderful tiny Osteria (Restaurant) in Trastevere, a suburb of Rome.

His tiny kitchen serves an even tinier dining room that is packed to the gills with Italian customers: the food is simple, his pasta is home made, as well as all the other ingredients.

The menu changes by the minute: as the items listed are being consumed, they get stricken off the menu with a pencil! Better be early!

One thing that becomes quickly obvious, is that the foreign tourists are overweight, while the Romans are (still mostly) thin. That is no joke.

You can guess who is who.

What is an example of “fast food” in Rome?

Answer:

These are being sold everywhere. But interestingly, I observed that it’s mostly the locals who buy them (they are really cheap), while the tourists indulge in huge cones of GELATO: after all Italy is famous for it, right?

But that is not the only reason why Romans are trimmer than their foreign guests.

Rome has many, many, many stairs.

And Romans walk a lot every day; the city is pedestrian-friendly, with many areas closed off to vehicular traffic.

The only way to know a city, is to walk it.

That’s how I fell in love with Rome.