It was our last day in Rome and we decided not to plan, but to just go where the wind blew us. We got a late start because we sat on the roof-top terrace of our hotel – a disastrous 4-star establishment called the Diana Hotel – which despite the non-existent shower cubicle, 1930’s wallpaper and dysfunctional air-conditioning system, provided a good vantage point from which to admire the panoramic view of domes and rooftops.
We found Indian and Egyptian take-away cafes where we ate kebabs, curry and garlic naan only two blocks away from Roma Termini station and the hotel. We then hopped onto the subway line A to Ottaviano to check out the clothing stores along the road to see the Vatican City. Mum and Yasmeen enjoyed browsing the Mojito store which has a mature selection of good quality clothing. I found two adorable dresses in the List store. A sleeveless cocktail dress constructed from layered emerald green fabric tickled my fancy at first glance but I found it slightly too short. The saleslady brought out a cleverly made under-garment which adds at least 10cm more length to the dress making it a lot more elegant. My second purchase was a dress cut from black and brown printed fabric with long bell sleeves and a leather waist belt – molto Bella!
We then backtracked to the Barberini metro and headed down to the Tritone Antica Trattoria on Via Dei Maroniti near the Trevi Fountain and Piazza Di Spagna. My favourite waiter in the entire world works here. He is a humorous character named Maurizio who has remembered my face since my first visit to Rome in 2009. We took a table inside surrounded by ancient artifacts and got a sugar high on generous servings of berry tart, tiramisu and lemon sponge cake. Maurizio was a darling as always entertaining the kids by folding napkins into chickens, rabbits, birds and even a bra!
The owner, a sweet old man named Antonio, also fussed over us and even invited us back for coffee on-the-house later.
We went souvenir shopping along the way to the Trevi Fountain where we said a final goodbye to this gorgeous water spectacle. The narrow cobbled streets present some of the cutest sights like a teeny tiny dustbin truck and pick-up truck. I found this cheesy, yet oh-so-fabulous pair of shades striped in green, white and red but buying gifts for family and friends was a little more challenging because I always insist on giving quality presents which are authentic Made-in-Italy items. Personally, my most treasured souvenirs are bottles which I bought in Italy, Canada, Spain and France, so I decided to buy the same for the important ladies in my life. The Enotrevi store on Via del Lavatore had a remarkable collection of glass bottles in various sizes shaped like fashionable, high-heeled boots and Italy’s map. I purchased four of these filled with olive oil, garlic, chillies and rosemary.
Our next stop was Piazza Di Spagna and the Spanish Steps which leads straight into Via Condotti, Rome’s most exclusive shopping street. I begged two strappy police officers to take photos with me before climbing to the top where I paid 30 Euros to have my portrait sketched by a talented artist named Sergio who can be found sitting near a street lamp. I had to hold my pose for over 45 minutes and I only lost my composure when a spectator asked my cousin if my lips were botoxed. The difficulty in having ones portrait sketched is having to keep your gaze fixated on the artists eyes. This was surprisingly easy because Sergio was such a pleasant, comforting personality. I was truly impressed because drawing my mane of curls was no easy task and must have finished an entire pencil but I think he did a great job 🙂