Shopping Till You’re Dropping – Rome

Via Margutta, Rome, 2012Via Margutta, Rome, 2012

Romans, like most of us, love to shop and I am not talking about window shopping!

Outdoor and weekend markets, upscale clothing, kitchen wares, decorative design and furniture – there is something for everyone.   Via Cavour, Via Condotti, Via Veneto, Via del Corso all great streets for shopping and worth a visit.  One of my favorites, however, is Via Margutta.  A narrow street in the historical center near both the Spanish Steps and Piazza del Popolo.  Sometimes referred to a “the foreigner’s quarter”.  Originally home to craftsman and artisans, workshops and stables, you will now now discover art galleries, restaurants, chic hotels, and boutiques selling decorative arts and clothing.

Beyond Via Margutta there are several special shops that I discovered while living in Rome and would encourage you to visit if you have the time.

Gusto – For the latest in kitchen gadgets.  You can literally spend hours here.  Piazza Augusto Imperatore, 7 

Ditta G. Poggi – Art supplies, fountain pens, paper, inks, etc. Via del Gesù, 74/75

Confetteria Moriondo & Gariglio – Amazing homemade chocolates and candies.  Stepping into this shop is like stepping back in time. Via del Pie’ di Marmo, 21/22 

Roscioli Salumeria – A wine bar, delicatessen, bakery, gourmet emporium.  I can’t say enough about the staff or some of the amazing prosciutto including venison.  Via dei Giubbonari, 21/22

The Pleasure of Food

Kersten Family at Ristorante Da PancrazioEnjoying a typical Roman pranzo at Ristorante Da Pancrazio, Campo di Fiori

Too say Italians love their food is absurd.  They obsess about it!  Having eaten in just about every region of Italy in every conceivable type of establishment I will say that I especially enjoy traditional Roman dishes.   Roman cuisine evolved from a historical perspective from creative use of what the nobility threw away or “paid” their servants.  Many of the typical Roman dishes incorporated inexpensive items – offal, organ meat, etc. knows as the “quinto quarto”.  Today’s dishes have evolved from those recipes and focus mainly on fresh vegetables, cheeses, and pastas.

When visiting Rome I balance trying new places and new dishes with my favorites.  Some of my favorite places in the Campo di Fiori are listed here.

Cafes, Enotecas, Gelaterias, Osterias, and Pizzarias

Amalfi Coast – Positano

Positano Harbor, Amalfi Coast, 2013 View of Positano Harbor from Hotel Poseidon, Amalfi Coast, 2013

Of all the places in Italy that I have had the good fortune to visit the Amalfi Coast is the one place that I most often think about.  There are not enough adjectives to describe the beauty of the convergence of the sea and the coastline. Easily reached by car via the Autostrada Del Sole “Motorway of the Sun” (A1) or taking the train from Rome to Naples and then taking a bus or taxi to the Amalfi Coast.  If you drive you will definitely put a few notches on your drivers license as the combination of switchback roads and deathwish motorcyclists is something you have to experience for yourself.

Beyond the seaside towns of Sorrento, Positano,  Ravello and Amalfi there are several other destinations I would recommend – Capri and Paestum being two of my favorites.

Positano, Amalfi Coast, 2013Positano, Amalfi Coast, 2013

The best way to enjoy this part of Italy is by boat and there are many options from water taxis to private charters.   I highly recommend considering renting a boat and spending the day with Barbara and Antonio local residents and two of the most charming people you could hope to meet.   They are both very knowledgable about the history of the area and by boat can take you to some of the most spectacular grottos, coves, waterfalls, out of the way restaurants, and islands in the area.  Barbara Tours Positano (Boat Charters)

Boating from Positano to Capri
Boating from Positano to Capri with Barbara and Antonio, Amalfi Coast, 2011