After our morning at the Vatican, we looked for a lunch spot that didn't seem too touristy and settled on a sidewalk cafe near Castel Sant'Angelo. Overwhelmed with the panini options, we asked the waitress what she would recommend and she suggested bresaola, a cured beef cold cut. It was fantastic.
My pizza was delicious, but not awesome. Smitten Kitchen had actually offered some advice about Roman pizza that I intended to take seriously:
During the day, Romans don’t eat round pizzas, but pizza al taglio [pizza by the slice], which are long, rectangular “pies” are made with various toppings. You indicate how much you’d like cut off and they heat up just that for you. This came to be because it’s illegal to fire up wood-burning pizza ovens before 7 p.m. (although we definitely saw a few places that did so at 6:30, but never earlier.) Places with round pizza before then are said to be making “tourist pizzas,” baked in (gasp!) regular ovens. I know you would never participate in such a thing.
Unfortunately, we never could find pizza al taglio at lunchtime! I only ever saw it a few times, and not when we were actually looking for a place to eat. So, sadly, we participated in "tourist pizza."
I have to confess--this would probably get me permanently banned from Italy--but I don't think I ate any pizza in Italy that was really better than Mafiaoza's in Nashville. We had good pizza, for sure, but nothing that totally blew my mind. Maybe we just didn't hit the right places...or maybe Mafiaoza's just really is that good.
One little delightful thing about Rome was the free water fountains everywhere. It was so nice to be able to fill up our water bottle conveniently! And odd, too, that water was free all over the place on the street...but 2-3 euros for a large bottle in restaurants. No such thing as free water, anywhere we ate.
After lunch, we finally found an authentic-looking gelateria and I got to try gelato at long last! Of course I will be devoting an entire post to gelato, so stay tuned for that :)
We walked along the Tiber River to Castel Sant'Angelo, originally built as a mausoleum for the emperor Hadrian in the second century AD.
More walking, more steps, and a nice view of St. Peter's Basilica, where we'd just been:
After that, we headed back to our B&B for a siesta before finding dinner in Testaccio. And that was Day 2!