The last full day of every city were our “free” days. We used this day to visit the places we didn’t get to see and to shop.
We started the day off with some Italian pastries from Il Fornaio, a cute little bakery in Campo de’ Fiori where we stayed. They had hundreds of different kinds of pastries ranging from biscottis to freshly baked bread. After making one of the hardest decisions in my life, I chose the sfogliatelli, a flaky pastry filled with a citrus ricotta cheese. I searched all over Google and I cannot figure out what K got. It was some kind of biscotti filled with a fig biscuit. In addition, we got some waffle cookies and amaretti cookies. My pastry was amazing. It was light, crispy, fluffy and sticky. But, the best items we purchased were the amaretti cookies. Light, crispy biscuits that just melted in my mouth. Yum!
As I mentioned here, we weren’t able to go into St. Peter’s Basilica. Monday was our free day and it’s free to visit St. Peter’s Basilica, so we took the metro over to Vatican City for attempt #2. After an hour wait in the rain, we were in. Words cannot describe the feeling being inside this church. This is the most beautiful church in the world and all other churches I’ll see here on out will never compare. You have a church built and designed by Michaelangelo. You have an alter built by famous sculptor, Bernini. You have the tomb of St. Peter dead center of the church. Things couldn’t be more perfect.
Now for the cool part… We were able to take a tour of the tombs under the church. There they have every pope in history buried starting from St. Peter himself. Even the recently deceased Pope John Paul II. I’d love to take a tour of the catacombs underneath, but that tour must be reserved months in advanced.
Next on the agenda was the Mouth Of Truth. But before that, we must eat lunch! We headed over to Piazza di Pietra for lunch. We found a cute little cafe that happened to sell porchetta. I’m a fan of Roli Roti in SF, and I had to try authentic porchetta. I ordered a plate full of it while K got a ham and brie sandwich. I was actually really disappointed with this porchetta. It was cold and the skin wasn’t crispy at all. On top of that, it was way too salty and too strong in rosemary flavor. So, disappointing. But, K’s sandwich was bomb. I ended up stealing half of his while he finished my platter of porchetta.
We hopped on the metro to the Circus Maximus stop to see the Mouth Of Truth. You probably don’t know this, but I’m a huge Audrey Hepburn fan. I’ve probably seen every movie she’s ever made. One of which was Roman Holiday where she plays a princess that spends a day in Rome. In one scene, she’s visits the Mouth Of Truth with Gregory Peck. This scene put the Mouth Of Truth on my agenda. I must stick my hand in this mouth. So, we did! Right after a whole tour bus of Chinese people.
For dinner, K and I tried to go to yet another Anthony Bourdain restaurant in Campo de’ Fiori, but we were denied since they were fully booked. Not my proudest moment, but we ended up at a terrible Italian restaurant with a help-yourself coke machine. Note to self, never eat at a restaurant with a coke machine. K had the spaghetti bolognese while I had a margherita pizza. Although, it wasn’t really a margherita pizza. It was more like an overly-cheesy pizza with halved grape tomatoes. Definitely not what I was craving. I must be eating pizza in the wrong places because every pizza I had over there was terrible. From what I’ve tasted, San Francisco has better pizza than Rome. The pasta was good though, and a large portion at that. I love how every single order of pasta we got, the noodles were al dente. I love al dente pasta.
So for our last night, we thought we’d finish it off with the same walk that started it off. The Rome night walk. Again, we made our way from the Spanish Steps all the way to the Pantheon and then Piazza Navona. We even took a stroll along the Via dei Condotti, the expensive shopping street in Rome that leads up to the Spanish Steps. Tomorrow, we head for Barcelona.