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Of all the stories you hear about Italy, the food, the people, and how generally amazing the food is, its all true. With open arms families will invite you in and take care of you. We first flew into Rome and stayed for a week, where we over indulged ourselves in fresh pasta, pizza, ice cream, seasonally fresh vegetables, all prepared simply with integrity. Sure, not everywhere you go in Italy will you find sad violin players, enthusiastic waiters pouring wine, and warm atmosphere, it has its share of general Tso’s and the like. That being said, there is a special energy in Rome, it is very sexy and mischievous. The architecture here is beautiful.

After searching the city for the best local joints we discovered one that is still to this day one of my most amazing food memories. Because Eve did not feel like eating meat that night she told the owner (who was also the server) Dino (and co-owner Toni) that she would prefer a vegetarian option. They promptly brought her something magical, the most absolutely perfect vegetable lasagna. It was one sheet of pasta, folded over pesto and Burrata cheese. The texture of the pasta was spongy and light, and to put it a different way, it was etherial. The name of this place is Dino and Toni’s, and if you are ever near the Vatican you have to go. Next we journeyed to the countryside where we worked on a vineyard picking grapes, and hopped around some smaller towns for the next two weeks. The thing I remember most (besides the lasagna) was the rolling hills and beautiful mountains. I cant wait to go back.

The second time I went to Italy I went to Rome. Although this time around it was for more then two months. I lived in Trastevere, a central touristy part of the city and it was beautiful! There were lots of nice restaurants (although you had to be wary of the tourist traps) and little bars to grab a drink. I roamed around Rome looking for the best pizza, rice balls, pasta etc.. and after some trial and error found it. Other then looking for food I was admiring the architecture, ancient versions of Rome layered on top of each other like some big ancient lasagna. One thing to watch out for, the street when you cross… Romans drive more aggressively then people from the Jersey shore. There is actually a good reason for this, the unreliable transit system. It’s pretty common in Rome for a train to be ten or twenty minutes late (or early!) In addition to this there are just two subway lines in a cross, and the labyrinth of streets make busses confusing. Don’t even think of riding your bike, the city is all hills and cobblestones and drivers hate bikers here. I recommend if you come to Rome know someone with a car and stay in a central location so you can just walk around. If you stay in the old city and avoid traffic and tourists, you can have a pretty amazing time.

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