~ Roma!  Crossing the River Tiber on the way to Castel San’Angelo ~


Immersing yourself in this amazing city, once the fountain head of civilization, instantly gives me goosebumps.  It’s unlike any other place in the world.  Ancient artifacts dot the city. Yet, they are speckled with modern convenience. Roma charms in ways other places can’t.

Earlier this month, my boys and I spent an afternoon and evening savoring the city.  The sights were as central as the food and wine.

Roma Street

~ Chestnut street vendors were seemingly on every corner of the city. The smell was amazing and drew you in ~

We started with a long, leisurely lunch.  I don’t know why, but nothing feels as Roman to me.  The weather was warm enough to eat outside, yet cool enough that the portable heaters felt comfortable. Businessmen and tourists alike scurried through the city,  but the restaurants were busy. It was good that we had a reservation.

Roma food

~ Zucchini Flowers fried the Roman way. Very delicate, stuffed with a tiny bit of cheese and fresh anchovy ~

The boys instantly gravitated to the zucchini flowers, which were offered solo or as part of the fritto misto.  Since the latter only included one and we were three,  we ordered extra.  The platter consisted of fried mozzarella, cauliflower, shrimp, zucchini flowers and strips.  All were crispy and seasoned perfectly.


~ The potato croquette (center) was fought over! ~

The next two dishes are Roman classics;  Carbonara and Agnello Arrosto.  The last time I was in Roma I tried the Amatriciana.  Next time it’ll be Cacio e Pepe!   If you’ve never had real Roman Carbonara you are missing out.  I don’t think I’ve ever had Carbonara anywhere else in the world that rivals the many versions I’ve had in Roma.


~ The two main ingredients in Carbonara are the guanciale and the eggs. I suspect they are better quality in Italy ~

If there’s a downside to Carbonara, and that’s a big “if”, it’s that it can be very rich and filling.  Fully aware of this, I decided to order one plate of the lamb and the three of us shared it.  This is baby lamb, roasted so tender that it pulls from the bone with only a fork.   The rosemary potatoes are buttery and creamy.  It’s heaven!

Roma Lamb

~ This lamb dish is so good, and so unique, that I order it every time I am in Rome ~

Before you start thinking we did all this without wine, let me allay those concerns!  As usual, I marvel at the pricing at even the best restaurants.

The 2015 Pieve Santa Restituta Brunello by Angelo Gaja showed incredibly well.   Deep crimson in color, the wine looks very youthful.  However, in the mouth the tannins seemed almost completely resolved.  This was very expressive and approachable.  Dark cherry flavors married to leather and strong hints of fennel.  The boys easily picked up the fennel as it was that noticeable.  Delicious especially with the lamb, but I would be tempted to drink this over the next 3-5 years.  93 points.  Find this wine.

Roma Brunello

~ This was delicious but it surprised me at how approachable it was ~

With lunch behind us, we decided a long walk was in order.  My oldest son had done some research and wanted to go into the Castel Sant’Angelo.  And I have to say, I’m really glad we did.  I had never been inside the Fortress.  Not surprisingly, it has a long and complex history.  It’s footprint has changed dramatically over the centuries.  It’s served as the Papal residence, a hospital, military barracks and fort among other things.  And the views from the roof top were astounding.  So off to the other side of the Tiber we went…..

~ Castel San’t Angelo by day ~

Although it dominates the Tiber from the outside, the views form the top were more impressive.

~ The Vittorio Emmanuele Monument, which house the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, from the top of the fort ~


~ The Vatican stands front and center on the Roman landscape from the top of the fort ~

Fully sated, both spiritually, historically and physically,  we managed to hail a cab to head back to Fiumicino.  Of course, the General Strike made getting out of the city that much more adventurous, but when in Rome, you go with the flow.  With the Metro and Buses stopped, cars packed the roads in and out of the city.

Arrivederci Roma!

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