Thursday, October 29, 2015

Rome Day 2: The Vatican much for 31 Days of Italy in October. Dropping the ball with the challenge over the first weekend totally destroyed my momentum for daily blogging. So obviously this series will be continuing well past October 31--thankfully NaBloPoMo is coming up :)

On our second day in Rome, we had reservations for the Vatican Museum. I highly recommend reserving these in advance online, by the way; the lines were very long first thing in the morning and it was SO nice to skip them.

We chose to explore on our own rather than paying for a tour guide or an audioguide. Truth be told, we didn't have a lot of interest in poring over all the exhibits in the museum; we mostly just wanted to see the Sistine Chapel.

The hall of tapestries along the way was incredible. I don't have good pictures, but the level of detail and artistry created with *thread* was mind-boggling. They looked like paintings, not woven fabric.

Once we made it through the quarter-mile-long gallery of sculptures, tapestries and maps, we used the Rick Steves Audio Europe app to orient us in the Sistine Chapel. It was at this point that I got fed up with Rick Steves. I had enjoyed listening to his podcasts before our trip, but the audio tours, not so much. It's like he tries too hard to be funny, in that way that only induces eye-rolling. But my irritation in the Sistine Chapel was beyond that; as a Christian observing these biblical scenes, I felt that some of the things he said seemed blasphemous. So while it was necessary to have *someone* telling us where to look and what we were seeing (the chapel is so overwhelming otherwise), I wouldn't recommend his audio tour.

That said, we did learn a lot. The overview was about half an hour--and let me tell you, it is painful to spend 30 minutes trying to look at a tall ceiling! I cannot wrap my mind around how such artwork was executed, or how it has endured through so many centuries, or how it could be cleaned and restored without damaging it (one corner has been left dirty, so you can see the contrast between the gray film of soot that once covered the paintings and how beautifully they have been uncovered). Michelangelo's vision and skill are astounding, and Rick Steves provided lots of interesting background about the artist and his process.

The scenes are alternately moving, worshipful, confusing and troubling. I was particularly surprised by the famous Creation of Adam in the center. Somehow, I had only ever seen a cropped version of the painting, with the disembodied finger of God reaching out to touch Adam. I had seen all of Adam, but I don't think I'd seen the rest.

The entire painting in context actually bothered me. I know that some Christians believe God should never be portrayed in art, to the point that children's storybook Bibles are in violation of the second commandment. I don't hold this conviction, but as I studied the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel, I realized that there is a profound difference in my mind between painting Jesus Christ, who actually existed in a human body and was seen by men, and painting God the Father, who Scripture says is "invisible" and is "Spirit." I find artistic portrayals of Jesus to be powerful and beautiful, but the portrayal of God the Father creating Adam felt inappropriate and wrong.

After our strained necks couldn't take any more, we followed a fantastic tip from Rick Steves and sneaked out through the back entrance of the chapel. It's marked "exit for private tour groups only," but it was simple to follow one of the huge groups out the door. This shortcut brought us out right next to the entrance to the dome of St. Peter's Basilica, saving us a long walk and a wait in a security line. It also set us up for a perfect first look at the basilica.

We paid seven euros each to climb the 551 steps to the very top (it's only five euros if you want to take the elevator partway). The first leg of the climb takes you to the roof, with up close views of the dome. 

I thought we were merely climbing to the outside, to get great views of the city--so I was stunned when we walked across the roof and entered the dome. It opened into a walkway around the interior of the dome. That meant our very first glimpse of St. Peter's Basilica was this:

This walkway also gave us an up-close look at the mosaics around the dome:

I absolutely recommend that you explore in this order! It was spectacular to enter the basilica for the first time at this level (and it's much quieter up there!).  

After seeing the inside of the dome, we continued climbing to the very top. 

It's an increasingly narrow stairway between the inner and outer domes; as you get close to the top, the ceiling curves over your head and it's a tight squeeze. In other words, not only do you want to skip this if you're not in good shape or if you're afraid of heights--it's also not for the claustrophobic. In the photo below, Steve is *not* leaning against the wall; he's standing up straight!

But it's well worth the effort. At the top, you're rewarded with this view of St. Peter's Square and the city of Rome beyond:


You can also see the rest of the Vatican. The Sistine Chapel is the structure in the lower right corner of the photo below:

Then it's back down. You can take a break and look around at rooftop level again...

...including up-close views of the statues lining the front of the church:

And after going back down all those stairs, you're ready to explore the basilica at ground level. 

It took 120 years from the time of groundbreaking until St. Peter's Basilica was completed. The scale and the grandeur, of course, cannot be captured in my pathetic photos.

Do you see all the Latin words in blue on a gold background? These are Jesus' words to Peter from the gospels, running all around the church. They may look small--but they are nearly seven feet tall!

This site has held a Christian church ever since the time of Constantine. Tradition (and strong historical evidence) says that the apostle Peter's tomb is directly below the high altar (in bronze, sculpted by Bernini).

Michelangelo's Pieta is here as well (behind bulletproof glass). I appreciated being able to see this sculpture in person with the benefit of some background information: a friend had told me that if Mary seems out of proportion in relation to the size of Jesus, contemplate the fact that Michelangelo's mother died when he was just seven years old. A mother is awfully big from a little boy's perspective. 

Rick Steves' Pocket Rome also makes thoughtful points about the piece (I appreciated the book's ability to give non-artists like me a tiny taste of understanding about the significance of various paintings and sculptures).

Once we had made our way around the basilica, we exited the front and got to see the familiar, imposing St. Peter's Square.

St. Peter's Basilica--especially the dome climb--was one of the highlights of the trip for me. I would consider it a must-see for visits to Rome!

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Learning to Enjoy the Beauty

My default mode is to look for error. I have been a perfectionist my whole life, and so my sharp eyes examine carefully to spot flaws. I easily see what’s wrong, what’s ugly, what doesn’t work. This mistake-radar serves me well as an editor and writer; it’s less helpful as a mom, a wife, a friend.

Over the years, I’ve been reminded again and again of the need to take a second look. I must learn to see — my own life, others around me, the world at large — through a lens focused on grace. If I am skilled at finding fault, I want to become even more adept at finding beauty. This world is full of ugliness, to be sure, but it is also full of people made in God’s image, full of His handiwork, full of His gifts.

My newest article at Ungrind is about how and why I'm learning to see and celebrate the beauty in people--check it out!

Friday, October 09, 2015

Cucina Romana: Discovering the Traditional Foods of Rome

Warning: This post is not for the faint of stomach :)

Before our trip, when I thought of "Italian food," I tended to have a pretty narrow set of dishes in mind. But the reality is that Italy has only existed as a unified country for about 150 years. Because of this, there's a strong sense of regional identity, especially when it comes to food. Some things are common everywhere, like cured meats or pasta, but the menus change significantly as you travel through the country.

Our journey began in Rome, and two of the specialties I wanted to try there were pasta all'amatriciana and pasta alla carbonara. I'd tasted carbonara once in South Carolina, and my carbonara-loving friend (who had been to Rome) said it was excellent--so I think it was pretty authentic. But I'd never even heard of amatriciana, and that's largely because one of its main ingredients isn't widely available in America. Pasta all'amatriciana features guanciale--pork cheek--and purists will tell you that substituting bacon is *not* acceptable.

The bucatini all'amatriciana we tried at Vecchia Roma was fantastic; unfortunately I can't say the same for the spaghetti alla carbonara from Il Pastarito on our last night in Rome. But those are not the unusual dishes we tried. On day two of our Rome visit, it was time to explore cucina povera (the food of the poor) and the quinto quarto (fifth quarter). This post from Food Lover's Odyssey explains:
Testaccio, the pungent, blue-collar neighborhood, is in the heart of Rome and the birthplace of the rugged Roman Cuisine known as the quinto quarto (fifth quarter). From 1890-1975 Testaccio was home to the slaughterhouses of Rome. Here the meat was taken apart in quarters. Distribution went like this: Prime quarter went to nobility, second quarter to the clergy, third quarter to the bourgeoisie, fourth to soldiers. The “fifth quarter” of offal makes up about one-fourth of the carcass’s weight. These rejected nasty bits of heads, tails, hearts, lungs, glands, intestines, feet, and esophagus went to the average Giuseppe of Rome. Slaughterhouse workers also took parts of the quinto quarto home as part of their pay. The name quinto quarto was born along with an entire cuisine around offal. 
Offal. Awful? We were about to find out. 

A restaurant in Testaccio called Flavio al Velavevodetto (ve l'avevo detto means, roughly, "I told you so") is supposed to be one of the best places to get Rome's offal dishes, so we set out for an adventure on our second night in the city.

We waited until after 8PM to go, but the restaurant was still nearly empty. It wasn't until after 9:00 that people started flooding in. We knew Italians eat late, but seeing it night after night was a little mind-boggling. Even when we thought we were waiting until a "reasonable" hour, like 8:00, we'd still be the first ones there. At least this made it easy to get a table without a reservation most of the time. 

Food Lover's Odyssey has a post about Flavio with some interesting history and daylight pictures of the restaurant; I'll move right along to the food we ordered...and the disturbing experiences that had nothing to do with the food.

Antipasto: Insalata nervetti con giardiniera fatta in casa.  
The English menu translated this as "nerve salad with giardinera." Right, thanks. Google wasn't much more helpful, but when it came time to order, Steve thought we should be brave. Nervetti it was. We felt slightly better when we saw an Italian order it later on...

Giardinera fatta in casa, it turns out, are "homemade pickles." The carrots, zucchini, and cauliflower you see were crunchy and faintly vinegared. The rest of the plate? Think "hard meat gummies," sort of. This blogger described Flavio's nervetti as "chewy meat nubbins"--that about captures it. After extensive googling, I am still not entirely sure what we were eating. I thought spinal cord, but some online info seems to suggest cartilage. At any rate, it was definitely a texture + flavor combination I had never experienced before. Not my favorite, but not terrible, and fun to say we tried. We probably ate half of it. 

Primo: Rigatoni con la pajata. 
Here's where you really should stop reading if you have a weak stomach. This is one of the classic dishes of cucina povera. It's rigatoni in a tomato-based sauce made with...the intestines of a suckling calf or lamb. The contents of the small intestine give the sauce a creamy consistency. Yep.

Not gonna lie, it was hard to get past the thought and look of this. But you know, it actually wasn't bad. The sauce was delicious. The pieces of pajata were a little difficult texture-wise, but when you ate them with the rigatoni and didn't think about it, they were hardly noticeable. We honestly polished this off. 

Secondo: Coniglio alla cacciatora
We figured we should order at least one thing we were pretty sure we would enjoy, in case we didn't like the first two courses. Coniglio is rabbit, so this was still something different, but not so far out there. I'd heard of "cacciatore" back home, but didn't really know what it meant; I later learned that cacciatora is Italian for "hunter." I can't find any actual guidelines for what ingredients belong in meat prepared alla cacciatora; it seems to vary but often includes things like onions, herbs, tomatoes, olives, and wine. 

The color here is kind of off because I had settings messed up on my camera, but this was really wonderful. We ate every bite, and then finished off the meal with an insalata mista (a basic mixed salad: romaine lettuce, radicchio, tomatoes). Interestingly, at every restaurant where we ordered salad, in lieu of pre-made dressing they served a bottle of olive oil, a bottle of balsamic vinegar, and salt. That's how you dress an Italian salad--very simply.

I mentioned other disturbing experiences; we had two worth noting which had nothing to do with the food, nor were they completely unique to this restaurant. 

First, while we were eating our insalata nervetti, a cat walked over to our table and sat there staring at us. I am *not* a cat person and it creeped me out. And lest you think that this was just a stray cat off the street that had wandered into the outdoor dining area unbeknownst to the staff...when the host saw me giving the cat the side-eye and then caught my eye himself, probably noticing my distaste, he called the cat over. It left us alone while we ate the pajata but apparently also liked rabbit, because it came back to stare at us again while we ate our secondo. Seriously? This was our only cat experience, but while we ate in at least one other restaurant, patrons brought their dogs inside with them. Not service dogs. Just pets. And no one blinked an eye. 

The other strange experience was our being harassed by a man trying to sell roses. He came into the patio area and aggressively tried to convince every table to buy roses, which no one did. But he just would not leave us alone. After we tried to refuse several times, forcefully, he ended up leaving two roses anyway and acting like it was a gift. That was confusing, but there was a language barrier, whatever--then he returned a while later and demanded money, so we returned the roses instead. It was so obnoxious, and I didn't understand why the restaurant allowed him to bother their customers like that. 

Rome has so many more traditional dishes I wish I could have tried! But we gave it our best shot :)

Thursday, October 08, 2015

Eating Our Way Through Italy: An Introduction to Italian Food

I take food on vacation seriously. Why go to an exotic locale only to eat things you could eat at home? I probably spent at least as much time looking up restaurant recommendations as I spent researching sightseeing. If we were going to have a finite number of meals in Italy, I did not want to waste them on mediocre food.

Of course, based on where we were when it was time to eat, or on time limitations, we couldn’t be particular about seeking out specific restaurants for every single meal. But we did our best to avoid tourist traps and find places the locals enjoy. We also got out of our comfort zone and tried some really unusual foods!


One piece of advice I got from Smitten Kitchen (where else do I get good food advice?!) was to use the Italian menu, even if an English menu is available. In her "Notes and Tips from Rome," she noted:
Like most cities, we usually had the best meals in the places out of the main squares and that didn’t boast menus in several languages (though we found that almost everyone spoke passable English, far more passable than our Italian!). Along these lines: If you feel that you know the names of most Italian dishes and major ingredients, I recommend using the Italian menus even when English ones are offered. I found the English ones to often have confusing translations (i.e. “potato rounds in bacon and broken tomatoes”) when the actual dish (“gnocchi all’amatriciana”) was something quite familiar and lovely.

This proved to be wise advice. A couple of times we *only* had an Italian menu and just made our way using my limited familiarity + Google Translate (which was sometimes laughable). But those were almost always our best meals. Even when the English was available, we had to compare it to the Italian since the translations were often rough.


My specific goals for eating in Italy included:
  • pasta all’amatriciana and pasta alla carbonara in Rome 
  • pasta alla Genovese in Naples 
  • Neapolitan pizza 
  • gelato as often as possible (more on that in a separate post!) 
  • lemon granita in Sorrento 
  • mozzarella di bufala in Naples/Sorrento

I am proud to say I accomplished every one—and had a whole host of other food adventures, some fabulous, some...not so much!

A traditional Italian dinner has four courses (five if you add dessert): 
  1. Antipasti - An appetizer, antipasto literally means "before pasta."
    Prosciutto e melone - this antipasto was on just about every menu

  2. Primi - The first course is always pasta, risotto, or soup of some kind.
    Penne Nella from Trattoria Nella in Firenze

  3. Secondi - The second course is always centered around a protein.
    Arista con patate (roast pork with potatoes) from Trattoria Nella

  4. Contorni - Side dishes, especially vegetables. Steve and I were actually kind of astounded at the lack of vegetables on our trip. Your main dish does not typically come with any; you have to order them separately. Often, Italians eat salad at the end of the meal rather than at the beginning as Americans usually do. The contorni section of the menu was often very sparse (and they *always* put radicchio in salads, and I hate radicchio!). But if you don't order one, you pretty much won't see any other vegetables at your table. 
    Misto di verdure alla griglia (mix of grilled vegetables) from La Tradizione

  5. Dolce - Desserts, literally "sweets."
    Biscotti e vin dolce (cookies and sweet wine--wine not pictured) from Il Latini
It's also common to finish the meal with a shot of espresso (NOT cappuccino...milk after tomatoes is traditionally thought to be bad for digestion!)

That said, Italians don't always eat all four courses; it's common to order just two of the courses. In just about every restaurant we tried, the portion sizes were *not* at all conducive to one person eating all four courses! In the interest of trying a wider variety of dishes, Steve and I typically would order an antipasto, a primo, a secondo, and a contorno and just share everything. This seemed to work out  well for the most part.

Bucatini alla Don Salvatore from La Tradizione

I’ll be talking about some of our very favorite meals in future posts, but as an introduction, I wanted to provide a one-stop list of places we ate and would (or would not) recommend.

  • La Gallina Bianca, Via Antonio Rosmini 9 - Our first lunch place (as I described yesterday) was OK, not anything special. 
  • Vecchia Roma, Via Ferruccio 12b/c- Fantastic traditional dishes; we loved the all'amatriciana and the coda alla vaccinara (pictured in yesterday's post).
  • Caffe di Porta Castello, Largo di Porta Castello 27-28 - Here we were overwhelmed at the panini options and asked the waitress what she'd recommend, which led to the discovery that we loved bresaola, a cured beef cold cut.
  • Flavio de Velovevodetto, Via di Monte Testaccio 97 - One of the most memorable experiences of Rome's offal dishes; I'll be writing a whole post about this one.
  • La Fonte Torrato, Piazza dei Crociferi 6 - We grabbed quick panini here on the go. Steve's caprese was just "eh" but my proscuitto e formaggio was fantastic; I was delighted when they toasted it unexpectedly.
  • Il Pastarito, Via IV Novembre 139 - Very unremarkable tourist spot. The restaurant we wanted to check out was inexplicably closed and this was a nearby alternative when we were tired and hungry. Steve really enjoyed his Greek salad (vegetables, as I said, had been notably lacking all week) but my carbonara wasn't great. Yummy tartufo for dessert though. 

Campania (greater Napoli area and the Sorrentine peninsula):
  • La Tradizione, Via Giuseppe Verdi 26, Portici - Our best restaurant experience. The food was good, but the overall experience was unforgettable--so much so, we went back a second time. Full post coming on this one.
  • Di Matteo, Via dei Tribunali 94, Napoli - Super cheap way to try a bunch of classic Neapolitan street food, but we didn't love any of it and the process of getting it was really chaotic and confusing.
  • Locanda del Cerriglio, Via del Cerriglio 3, Napoli - Another fabulous out-of-the-way spot that doesn't get a lot of tourist traffic. We loved it. Full post coming.
  • Il Ritrovo, Via Montepertuso 77, Positano - We popped in here during our hike on the Amalfi Coast and got a bunch of free treats to try, all of them delicious!
  • Covo Dei Saraceni (Via Regina Giovanna 5, Positano) - Very satisfying focaccia caprese, but after our hike anything would have tasted good I imagine. The gelato was also yummy. 

  • Ristorante Queen Victoria, Via Por Santa Maria 32 - Ugh. We popped in here for a quick lunch en route to our first museum and it was utterly disappointing, clearly a tourist trap. The pizza was a disgrace.
  • Tre Merli, Via dei Fossi 12 - Great take-out pizza on a night when we were exhausted and needed something we could take "home" with us to kick back. We polished off two pizzas ourselves!
  • La Cantinetta di Rignana, Via Rignana 11, Greve in Chianti - Oh. My. Goodness. The fresh pasta was incredible. And lots of other traditional Tuscan dishes to try, some amazing, some (I'm not gonna lie) gross. I'll write more about this one. 
  • Antica Osteria 1 Rosso, Borgo Ognissanti 1 - Great location for dining al fresco; the food wasn't our favorite but that may be because we were so stuffed from lunch at La Cantinetta di Rignana. My stomach wasn't ready for the rich food here.
  • La Pasta Fresca at Mercato Centrale - The options on the second floor food court at Mercato Centrale were completely overwhelming, but this proved to be a good choice, even if it felt weird to eat green beans and potatoes in my linguine.
  • Trattoria Nella, Via delle Terme 19r - A friend said their ravioli in walnut cream sauce was the best thing in Firenze ever, but it didn't sound as good as other stuff on the menu. Our experience here was satisfactory, not the best food but not the worst either. Service wasn't fantastic. 
  • I Due Fratellini, Via dei Cimatori 38R - Fun little lunch spot for panini, recommended in all the guidebooks but not nearly so busy as we expected.
  • Il Latini, Via dei Palchetti 6r - Utter chaos, but some delicious food. I'll write more about this one, too. 
As you can see...I was a little obsessed with Italian food :) And as a disclaimer, I am obviously very much NOT an expert on any of this, so if something I've said here is incorrect, please let me know! But we definitely had fun getting a taste of new cultures. Food was a big part of our trip, so I'll be posting more details about a few of the restaurants, as well as more on the classic cuisines of each region.

Wednesday, October 07, 2015

Rome Day 1: Basilica di San Clemente, Colosseum and Roman Forum

After checking into our B&B on our first day in Rome, we headed out to get out phones set up and grabbed some lunch at La Gallina Bianca, a neighborhood spot our hosts had recommended. This was our first opportunity to try something I'd read about: zucchini flowers stuffed with mozzarella and deep fried. We didn't love them, honestly--they were OK, just not our favorite--but since we'd never eaten them before, we don't really know whether they weren't our taste or whether maybe this place just didn't make very good ones. I was taken aback by how huge they were--I guess it's been a while since I've seen zucchini flowers, since I don't garden personally, but I wasn't expecting them to be the size of my hand! Later in the week we saw zucchini for sale in a food market with the flowers still attached:

We also decided to try our first Roman pizza, and we somehow got the impression that the pizzas on the menu were a single-serving size, so we each ordered one. We were astounded at what showed up on our plates! I hated having to waste so much food but there was no way I was eating nearly all that pizza. Steve got arugula (which amusingly often gets translated "rocket salad" on English menus), proscuitto and cherry tomatoes on his; I discovered the hard way that zucchini, eggplant, and broccoli don't really belong on pizza. 

Then it was finally time for some sightseeing! We walked through a park and got our first glimpse of the Colosseum:

We continued on to Basilica di San Clemente, which seemed like a great first taste of the history of Rome.

It's a church built in the 12th century, which is amazing enough in itself. But below that, you can see the ruins of a Christian church from the 4th century, with bits of frescoes and mosaics still intact. Then you go down another level, and you see the remains of a pagan temple to the god Mithras dating back to the first century AD. The floors are tiled in this intricate herringbone pattern--photography was forbidden inside, but here's a photo of similar tile from the Colosseum:

Since I couldn't take pictures of the ruins, the only other picture I have from San Clemente is from the courtyard:
 From there we returned to the Colosseum.

Of course I'd seen a thousand pictures of the Colosseum before, but it's hard to get a sense of the scale without seeing it in person. I also had no idea what the inside looked like: 

Rather than paying for audioguides or a tour guide, we used the Rick Steves Audio Europe app to learn about what we were seeing. It was incredible to stand in such an impressive structure that has lasted for so many centuries--yet also disturbing to look around and think about the horrifyingly barbaric things that happened here.

After going through the Colosseum, we saw the Arch of Constantine:

...and then made our way into the Forum, for which we also used the Rick Steves audioguide.

You enter the Forum by walking up the Via Sacra. It was just crazy to think that Caesar walked these same cobblestones.
 The audioguide was a little hard to follow and we were extremely jetlagged by this point, but one other thing I was excited to see was the Arch of Titus. Just before we left, I had read 2 Corinthians 2, where Paul says, "But thanks be to God, who in Christ always leads us in triumphal procession, and through us spreads the fragrance of the knowledge of him everywhere" (v. 14). The ESV study note explains the phrase "triumphal procession" this way:
"Most interpreters see this as a reference to the lavish victory parades celebrated in Rome after great battles. God is depicted as the sovereign victor, with Christ as the general, leading the victory procession, and Paul as “captured” by Christ but now joyfully following him. Images of such parades are still visible in some ancient works of art, such as in the reliefs on the late-first-century Arch of Titus in Rome commemorating the emperor’s victory over Jerusalem."
Having just read that, it was incredible to walk up the Via Sacra (above) with Paul's words in mind, knowing that this was the very road where such victory parades occurred:
"...the via Sacra, the principal road of the Forum, dedicated to processions celebrating war victories, the 'Triumphs.' When a Roman general had killed at least 5,000 enemies and conquered new territories, he could then enter victoriously into the city, dressed in his armor. He would pass along the Via Sacra, under the triumphal arches, until he reached the Temple of Jove on Capitoline Hill." (source:
...and then to see the Arch of Titus with its depictions of the very images Paul had in mind as he wrote 2 Corinthians!

By now the sun was starting to set...
...and we got kicked out of the Forum, which closes at 7PM. Exhausted and hungry, we walked back to the neighborhood of our B&B for dinner. A place called Vecchia Roma was already on my list, so when our hosts recommended it, we knew we needed to try it. 

I'm going to back up and post a food overview of sorts tomorrow, I think, but for now I can show you the first two classic Roman dishes we tried. Our primo was bucatini all'amatriciana, which looks like basic spaghetti but has pieces of smoked guanciale (pork cheek) in it. YUM. It was also our first time eating bucatini, which is similar to spaghetti, but fatter and hollow--making it impossible to twirl on a fork! 

This restaurant is famous for mixing their amatriciana in a pecorino cheese wheel (top right):

For our secondo, we tried coda alla vaccinara: oxtail stew. We'd actually eaten oxtail once before here at home, so we knew what to expect, but it was delicious, even if it is a lot of work to find the bits of tender meat among all the bones and gristle.

With our first dinner in Rome a delicious success, we returned to the B&B and crashed.

Tomorrow: the Vatican!