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Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Memories of Rome



Dear friends,

Today I want to take you to one of my favorite cities of Italy: Roma.

Roma is the capital of Italy and it’s located in the central-western portion of the Italian Peninsula, on the Tiber river within the Lazio region of Italy.
The city has been one of history’s most powerful and important centers, being the home of the Emperor during the Roman Empire and due to this, the city has often been nicknamed  “Caput Mundi” (Latin for “Capital of the World”) and “The Eternal City”. Also, Rome is widely regarded as one of the world’s most beautiful ancient cities.
Modern Rome is a very cosmopolitan metropolis, and is Italy’s capital of politics, economy, and media: nowadays Roma is the home of the Italian Government and also home of the Roman Catholic Church and the site of the Vatican City an independent city-state run by the Catholic Church. The Bishop of Rome is the Pope.
Rome today is one of the most important tourist destinations of the world:  you will surprised by immensity of its archaeological and artistic treasures, as well as for the charm of its unique traditions, the beauty of its panoramic views, and the majesty of its magnificent “villas” and their parks. There are plenty of museums, some of my favorites the Musei Capitolini, the Vatican Museums, Galleria Borghese. But also aqueducts, fountains, churches, palaces, historical buildings, the monuments and ruins of the Roman Forum, the Catacombs and the Coliseum. Rome is the 3rd most visited city in Europe, after London and Paris.

Rome enjoys a typical Mediterranean climate that is characteristic of the Mediterranean coasts of Italy. It is at its most comfortable from April through June, and from mid-September to October; in particular, the Roman ottobrate (which can be roughly translated as the “beautiful October days”) are famously known as sunny and warm days. By August, the temperature during the heat of the day often exceeds 32 °C (90 °F). Traditionally, many businesses closed during August, and Romans abandoned the city for holiday resorts. But in more recent years, however, in response to growing tourism and changing work habits, the city is increasingly staying open for the whole summer.
The average high temperature in December is about 13 °C (55 °F), but subzero lows are not uncommon and although it is rare, snow can fall in Rome in December, January and February staying for a period of hours rather than a whole day or more. But, since my father’s is from this beautiful city, I have many memories of Christmas dinner outside wearing short sleeves.

Although not as important as Milan, Rome is also an important center for fashion. Major luxury fashion houses and jewelry chains, such as Bulgari, Fendi, Laura Biaggiotti and Brioni, just to name a few, are headquartered or were founded in the city. Also, other major labels, such as Chanel,Prada, Dolce & Gabbanam Armani and Versace have luxury boutiques in Rome, along its prestigious and upscale Via Dei Condotti . Don’t need to tell you that shop in Via Condotti with the beautiful view at his ends of Piazza di Spagna is an experience that you will love.
Rome is since 1956 exclusively and reciprocally twinned only with Paris, another city I totally love!!
There are more than 900 churches in Rome one more beautiful then the other. But Rome is very famous for its numerous fountains, built in all different styles, from Classical and Medieval, to Baroque and Neoclassical. The city has had fountains more than two thousand years, and they have provided drinking water and decorated the piazzas of Rome. From big to small there are more then 3000 fountains. There is no place on earth like this.
Coin throwing in the fountains is one of the most famous traditions for the tourist who visit this city.
A traditional legend holds that if visitors throw a coin into the fountain, they are ensured a return to Rome. Among those who are unaware that the “three coins” of  Three Coins in the Fountain were thrown by three different individuals, a reported current interpretation is that two coins will lead to a new romance and three will ensure either a marriage or divorce. A reported current version of this legend is that it is lucky to throw three coins with one’s right hand over one’s left shoulder into the Trevi Fountain.

The Trevi Fountain (Fontana di Trevi) is in the Trevi Rione in Rome. The fountain is 25.9 meters (85 feet) high and 19.8 meters (65 feet) wide, it is the largest Baroque fountain in the city.
However, there are regular attempts to steal coins from the fountain, approximately 3,000 euros are thrown into the fountain each day. The money has been used to subsidize a supermarket for Rome’s needy.
Well I through coins on the Trevi Fountain every time I visit Rome…and so far the legend has been working for me!!

The Trevi Fountain was also the setting for an iconic scene in Federico’s film “ La Dolce Vita” starring Marcello Mastroianni and Anita Ekberg.
La Dolce Vita was a sensational success, and Anita Ekberg’s walking in Rome’s Trevi Fountain remains one of the most celebrated images in film history.
A few years back I was in Rome, helping with Italian translations for Dutch journalist Henk van der Meyden for the Dutch TV Channel  SBS6. He was there to interview American actress Anne Nicole Smith.
Anne Nicole added some extra memories for me to this beautiful Fountain. She has emulated Anita Ekberg scene and had sprang into the water. Of course she was arrested and a few hours later released with the promise not to do it again. I will never forget the night we walked near the Trevi Fountain again during the interview with Anne Nicole with the police escorting us all the way.

During this particular visit in Rome I stayed at the beautiful The Westin Excelsior Hotel. This hotel is known as the “magnificent white palace on Via Veneto”, is one of the world’s great classic hotels. It is very close to Piazza di Spagna and the Villa Borghese gardens, and it’s in one on the most well-known street of the capital, the famous Via Veneto, one of the famous meeting places of Europe.
My room was so big with two huge bathrooms, and very elegant and cozy! The view from the window of Via Veneto was incredible!! With Anne Nicole and the TV crew we had dinner in a famous restaurant called Taverna Flavia!
Well I don’t really remember the menu, but I will never forget the company. I got to know the real Anne Nicole, enough to say that she was a nice person, a very insecure person, with the bed luck to have in her life horrible people using her and her insecurity to make money. Drugs and alcohol abuse made her do crazy things, like springing in the Fountain ,and that was a money makers for some other people around her. Very sad!! Some unforgettable time and real life lesson I got out of it!!

I want to close this blog on a delicious note I want to tell you that in Rome you will find some great restaurants and great food!!, The city is home to numerous formidable and traditional Italian dishes you will noticed a Jewish influence in the Roman foods, as Jews have lived in Rome since the 1st century BCE. Vegetables, especially globe artichokes, are common.
Examples of these, and some of my favorites include “Saltinbocca alla Romana” a veal cutlet, Roman-style, topped with raw ham and sage and simmered with white wine and butter and “ Carciofi alla Giudia” artichokes fried in olive oil, typical of Roman Jewish cooking. But also delicious are the : Carciofi alla Romana” artichokes Roman-style outer leaves removed, stuffed with mint, garlic, breadcrumbs and braised.
Typical of Rome are the “ Spaghetti alla Carbonara” spaghetti with bacon, eggs and pecorino, and “Gnocchi Di Semolino alla Romana” semolina dumpling, Roman-style, to name but a few. Are you hungry already?
So imagine yourself eating this delicious food in the city of La Dolce Vita, with arts and beauty all over you look…even if the city is full of people rushing and moving all around while in Rome you will find a kind of quietness inside yourself, almost magically you will find a peace of mind that will fill your heart with joy for life and happiness to be alive!!
I call it the magic of Rome!! So while in Rome do as the roman do….enjoy La Dolce Vita!!
Thank you for reading and stay tuned for my next blog…maybe I will share with you some of my favorite recipe!!

Love,
Giada



4 comments:

  1. Giada, Unfortunately Rome is not the city that we can imagine. Caotic, full of traffic jam, boring atmosphere, very ancient and with any kind of attention to the culture...is a modern tragedy to be a direct spectator of this unfair escenario. Tomorrow morning I will be in Rome again and the point is that I'm really disappointed for this. A great and warm hug from Tuscany. Andrea

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  2. Nice story!

    I need to go back to Rome one day. I have spent there too less time to see everything.

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  3. Ciao Andrea, Si lo so Roma e' un po' troppo piena di gente e troppe macchine e taxi! Ma e' un po' come la mia citta' natale, Venezia!
    Ma nonostante tutto possiamo comunque dire che sia Roma che Venezia, cosi' come il resto della nostra bella Italia sono posti bellissimi, pieni di storia e cultura!!
    Io vivendo all' estero e ritornando in patria solo alcune volte all'anno posso dire che mi riempie sempre il cuore di felicita' rivedere la nostra bella Roma, per quando incasinata sia!!
    Un abbraccio
    Giada

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  4. Ciao Susanne,

    Ik hoop ook snell weer naar Rome te gaan!

    Liefs uit NYC,
    Giada

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