Like most of our trips, our decision to go to Rome and Amsterdam in January 2012 was based on an airfare that was too good to pass up.
When we booked the trip we had no idea that it would end up falling just six short days after we moved.
If you’ve ever moved you know that it will drain you physically, mentally, and emotionally.
Our goal for the trip was simple: Eat, drink, and recharge.
We are going back to Rome in May so there wasn’t any pressure to conquer the city.
The only sightseeing we did was on the way to our next meal or while walking one off.
It was exactly what we needed.
Our room wasn’t ready for us when we arrived so we went to the hotel bakery and ate cake for breakfast.
After a nap we went to Bar Ornelli for pizza and wine.
It wasn’t the best pizza but it was one of the only places open at 3pm.
Most restaurants are closed between 3-7pm.
The Colosseum was only a few blocks from our hotel.
We ordered espresso at a small cafe and watched the day turn to dusk.
For dinner we went to a restaurant that first opened in 1899.
The menu at Osteria da Angelino depends on what the chef finds at the market that morning.
We were the only non-locals there and you know how much we like that!
The food was authentic and the staff was fun and friendly.
The next day we woke up in time for lunch and ended up at Trattoria al Varesino, a family owned pasta restaurant.
We ordered wine and watched the locals pour in on their lunch break.
You could tell many of them frequent this little gem.
I had Spaghetti alla Carbonara — a Roman classic made with pecorino cheese, guanciale or pancetta, parmigiano cheese, black pepper and eggs.
John had Bucatini alla Amatriciana — the second most popular pasta from Rome made with guanciale, pecorino Romano cheese, tomatoes, chili peppers (peperoncini), black pepper and a little wine.
After lunch we went to the Spanish Steps.
This monumental stairway of 138 steps is between Piazza di Spagna and Piazza Trinità die Monti.
There was a neat vibe at the top with a healthy mix of locals, tourists, and artists.
Before going back to our hotel for a nap, we went to the Trevi Fountain.
That morning John’s daughter reminded us that we weren’t allowed to toss a coin into the fountain without her.
We kept our promise and ate gelato instead.
The coin will have to wait until May.
After reading a few reviews on TripAdvisor we walked to a restaurant known for their lasagna.
It lived up to its reputation and so did their house wine.
I can’t remember the name of the place but I love this poem on their menu:
The next morning — I guess I should say afternoon — we walked through Ancient Rome towards Trastevere in search of a recommended pizza place.
Trastevere is on the west bank of the Tiber and south of Vatican City.
It is a charming area with narrow cobblestone streets and medieval houses.
Unfortunately the pizza place we were looking for was closed but we found another one that looked promising.
La Scaletta is a tiny restaurant on Via della Scala and well worth finding.
We weren’t on a schedule and didn’t have anywhere to be so we hung out there for a couple of hours.
After lunch we walked to Piazza Navona.
The square is built on the former Domitian’s stadium, built by emperor Domitian in 86 AD.
Later that night we went to Gaetano Costa for dinner.
We ordered the Tasting Menu and were blown away by every course.
The website says, “Strong technique, high creativity and Mediterranean spirit are the main features of an original style that combines excellent Italian ingredients.”
That about sums it up!
The next morning we hopped on an easyJet flight to Amsterdam for the night.
Our first stop was CAU, a steakhouse near Dam Square.
Our next stop was the Anne Frank House.
We waited in line for about 20 minutes but I read that the wait can be much longer.
Many people recommend buying tickets online to avoid the long queue.
Either way, it is worth it.
The weather was crazy-cold the day we went to Amsterdam. So cold that the locals were apologizing to us for the “bitter weather”.
Pretty… but cold!
We found the perfect place for dinner: Cafe Bern.
Cafe Bern was packed with locals and every table was reserved.
Two stools at the bar opened up and we spent the next several hours in fondue heaven.
One of the locals recommended the Steak and Cheese.
You dip the bread as usual:
But you cook the steak in this delicious green cheese sauce.
We ate and drank and talked for hours.
I highly recommend Cafe Bern. I’m sure we will return on future visits to Amsterdam.
The next morning we grabbed a coffee and walked to the train station.
I look forward to getting back to Amsterdam during the Spring or Summer months.
We flew back to Rome in time for one more dinner.
Trattoria Da Gino is an authentic Roman restaurant near Piazza del Parlamento.
It is tucked away in a narrow alley. Look for a “Trattoria” sign on Via de Campo Marzio and it will point you in the right direction.
Friendly staff, attentive service, and exceptional food.
I ordered Spaghetti alla Carbonara again.
John ordered Spaghetti alla Amatriciana. Again.
We couldn’t help it. It was our last meal in Rome.
We ordered Tiramisu for dessert:
And agreed that Trattoria Da Gino was the perfect ending to our long weekend of R&R.
I’m really looking forward to our trip in May and add a little more sightseeing to our eating.