Monday, May 23, 2011

Italy 2011-Rome to Florence via Miglia 1000

My third journal entry, if you have missed 1 and 2..scroll down and click on them from the history links to the right. We spent our final day in Rome conquering the bus system (OK so we rode ONE bus)..but it was a feat. We decided to go to the Priscilla Catacombs which lie outside of the city walls. No photos were allowed but there were a lot of ancient nuns and crypts. The paintings on the walls were great and the crypts were definitely chilling..not to mention the catacombs were 55 degrees since we were pretty far below the ground. Since we were in a very non-touristy area, we strolled around and found a local market. Then we found a pizzeria that had EXCELLENT pizza..didn't speak a stitch of English but we just pointed and handed him money. But again..he gave us change and we had no idea we were owed it...so very kind. We took our local eats to a nearby park to enjoy. We saw a bunch of dogs in Italy..as a whole it is a very dog friendly country (well, the parts we visited). It was 'of note' that all were unaltered and typically mixed breeds but we saw no strays. I did seethe as the strolled past me with their doo-dads..but oh well. ;-)
That night we had a reservation at La Pergola, our first three Michelin Star restaurant (Gordon Ramsey's London was "only" 2).
So we dolled up and posed in front of the Triton fountain in the Barberini Piazza that was outside of our hotel. A funny side note, Jason and i forgot to pack his jacket. The restaurant requires men to wear jackets. So we emailed them and they did have jackets for people to wear..problem is most Italians are not exactly Jason's size..so they didn't have one for him. so we had to go in to every menswear shop and ask fi they had a jacket to fit him..and it wasn't easy...but we finally found one and he is the owner of an Italian sports jacket. After a 15 minute cab ride out of of the city walls and up a mountain, we arrive. And what a view!!!! (the Vatican is to the right..nothing can be built higher than half its height)The Coliseum can be seen next to the large white "Wedding Cake" described in the earlier post.We pose And then sit down on their porch for pre-dinner snacks and drinks (the cheese sticks were awesome!)
Once seated, Jason tries to navigate the wine list..that entire book is just wine. 53,000 different types..we ended up just getting help. Then we did the 9 course meal..they gave us a great printout of our menu and wines before we left..so don't think this came from memory. And I didn't get photos of all of them..so this is just a 'few'
Steak tartare with basil foamScallop with tomato and basil vinaigretteTuna Tartare with green tea sorbetBlack cod with chili pepper sauceFagotelli..which was filled with the most amazing stuff..it was my favorite of the trip..amazing.Licorice flavored pig shoulder with olive sauceand along with a few other courses not photographed..they hit us with the Grand Dessert..which turned out to be a hundred items..along with all the items on the table (look around..they are everywhere) that little silver box on the right had chocolate truffles and candies in every drawer and it was four sided!Finally..a night cap to enjoy the gorgeous view..and a wheelbarrow to get our stuffed butts down the hill
So that ended our time in Rome, Italy..we traveled to Florence for our next stage. Rome was big and bustling..very much like NYC. Buses were everywhere and a 'quiet meal' was difficult..but it was still awesome and fantastic. and I think 4 days is a great amount of time..we saw everything we wanted too and more.
We arrived in Florence before our room was ready. Our hotel was perfectly located near the Uffizi Gallery and the Piazza signoria where the "Fake David" resides (formerly the location of the real David who now resides in the Accademia)So we get lunch and a gelato
And notice there were metal fences up through the middle of the piazza with a lot of people standing around in them. We asked around and found there was a race coming through Florence. After further questioning, it was a pretty big road race called the 1000 Miglia and was quite the event. Since Jason and I are very interested in cars, we found a spot on the rail and viewed in awe at the cars that passed.
There were over 1000 in the race and after 3 hours, we had to leave to make a dinner reservation.





I also managed to get a video..turn your speakers up and enjoy..they were going slowly through the piazza but would rev their engines for the crowd.


After that cool experience, we went to Pitti Gola E Cantina Wine Bar at the Pitti Palace which was across the famous Vecchio bridge (more photos of that in future posts). They had a wine and cheese tasting on Viator, so we did that. it was awesome. Our host was Zeno, the co-owner of the little store/shop/restaurant. He gathered information about our wines tastes and randomly opened bottles for our and his enjoyment. he gave us a great lesson Italian wines, focusing of course in the Chianti region.All of the cheeses were from a local sheep farm that delivered daily.We tasted a ton of wines over 3 hours..it was a great night.
Zeno!
We even had dinner there and after spending that much time with Zeno he made up a meal for us that was phenomenal. Fresh truffles, fresh pasta, and wine to match..we go back later in the week. ;-)
Next entry..our trip in to Tuscany- Pisa, Siena, San Gimignono, and a Tuscan vineyard.
to be continued......

4 comments:

Hiking Hounds said...

What an awesome trip! I'm glad you had a great time.

IHateToast said...

A very clever way to get a snazzy jacket.

Your photos came out crystal clear, too. It's a good thing that you didn't take photos of the doodads.

houndstooth said...

Oh, the food! I am in complete and total envy now!

Every guy should have an Italian sports jacket! It looks good on him!

gyeong said...

In a food coma just reading the post. All looked yummy!