Eating in Italy is one of the great pleasures of traveling to this country and we took this activity seriously! We had at least one big feast a day, which typically lasted around three hours, with several courses and sometimes an apertivo (before dinner drink), dolce (dessert) and a cafe or digestivo (after dinner drink). And of course wine is a staple of every meal! So how did we manage to eat all this and not come back as contestants for The Biggest Loser?... LOTS and lots of walking ... and only ONE huge meal a day. The others were small!
On our first day in Rome, we strolled through the beautiful Parco della Villa Borghese and headed to Casa Valadier for lunch. High above the Piazza del Popolo, this 19th-century cafe is a most lovely place to enjoy a leisurely lunch and a spectacular view of Rome.
We entered through a colorful hallway, where famous guests from Gandhi to Mussolino had visited before us.
It's hard to imagine lunch with a better view than at Casina Valadier. Yes, that is St. Peter's in the background. But no, that is not the Eiffel Tower in the distance (the view's not THAT good.)Sitting down for lunch. That means EVERYBODY gets to sit down for lunch! Having cultivated civilized society for a thousand years longer than us, the Italians allow dogs to respectfully join their owners in public more often than not.
We started with a colorful salad of Belgian endive, apples walnuts and pomegranate...
... and a traditional "ceci" (garbanzo bean) soup with fried baccala (salted cod).
Our secondo... we shared a French rack (lamb chop) served cacciatora style with artichoke omelette and potato gratin. Yum!
Sharing entrees leaves room for dessert! This was a departure from a traditional Zabaglione, or so I am told, but it was worth every bite of creamy custard goodness! The chocolate crunchy bits on top and hazelnut shell offered just the right texture to complement the fluffy mousse-like custard. Yum! Yum!
And finishing the meal in traditional style with a caffè.
Even Cosmo admired the view ... and the secondo they were serving at the next table!
After lunch we walked through the park and found Casina del Lago, a nice spot for lighter meal. We returned here the next morning for breakfast.
At Casina del Lago we had very pleasant breakfast of cappuccino and brioche.
And of course, Cosmo was welcome too!
Next up, seeing the sites of Rome!
Other posts about our Italy adventure you might enjoy: