“It is the 01st August and apparently Rome is officially in its very quiet, sedated season. All the locals abandon the madness of the city to the pull of the azure Mediterranean Sea – leaving us foreign visitors their beloved city to explore at our leisure.
My aim for the day, (that starts with a serious ristretto that sets my heart racing and a simple few slices of paper thin parma ham piled onto freshly, warm baked baguette) is to reach the Campo de Flori before 1pm when it closes. This is a sensational open air market where you can disappear in a flurry of local shoppers buying their everyday gourmet wares and the idea is to rest my feet and feed my soul in the Jewish Ghetto.
I’m after the most perfect authentic Spagetti Cacio e Pepe and my Roman friends tell me this is the place to find only the best. It’s a sacrilege not to eat this before you leave Rome. The simplest, but the finest of Roman cuisine. More of this to come later…
It’s very difficult not to be completely enthralled by all the ancient Roman Architecture. It is magnificent both in its magnitude and its perseverance to outlast the centuries of the actions of modern man. The sheer size of some of the ruins create an endless theatrical display and in some of the quieter spots , you can almost feel the building vibrate with secrets and echoes of the past, the rough hewn stones I run my hand along, breathing with life in an unearthly hum – history circling in small whirlwinds in my path.
This is not a tourist guide to Rome and I miss many of the bigger sites (having visited as a much younger woman) but, it is about my own personal journey and secret finds that I want to share and hope you will follow the same path.. The monuments around the Palazzo Chigi are simply a visual epitome of the power struggles and the theatrics of politics of that era. It is truly tremendous, the Palazzo Montecconco – a must visit where you just cannot imagine the power of the principles of those days. I stood a lone figure at the base of this enormous structure and felt all the glory of the sculptures, the intricate details forever carved into this stone. I am alone, I am at peace and I feel a sense of youth returning in waves of my silenced love of travel.
Striding with a clear focus past the Pantheon, past the queues of tourists , I head towards the lovely Piazza Navona – a beautifully laid out courtyard style square that houses no less than four stunning fountains, the Fountain of Four Rivers my absolute favourite. It is rich in clusters of history and a spot where you can simply stop and breathe in all the culture, the language, the laughter and the Italian way of a drop of a smile or a curious glance.
I finally reach the Campo di Flori. It’s much smaller than I thought, but having visited some of the worlds most famous food markets – I’m so excited by the authenticity of Italian homemade gourmet choices. A treasure trove of pestos and so much more, of course, this is where I spend all my money!
My favourite – an Orange and Artichoke blend that I just cannot wait to try on a freshly baked homemade focaccia with a toss of fresh rucola, feta, olive oil and thyme …a recipe I’m already creating in my mind for this little pot of magic as I wander gently through this gorgeous market!