In the heart of Trastevere, I heard a heavy Roman accent bounce off the bright colorful walls of the near-empty Via dei Salumi. I could now clearly distinguish the circular sound of the plastic ventilator as it moved the summer warmth inside the cozy apartment that had once belonged to June, my dear grandmother. After an intense Canadian winter, the comforting morning sun breaking through the tall windows inspired me to put on a light dress, and head down two floors, in the perpendicular cobble-stoned Via dei Vascellari.
In Piazza dei Ponziani, I stepped into Terra Satis, a tiny modern bar tucked beneath an arch of red ancient bricks, and recognized the faces above the hands that six months back – and certainly way before then – also indelicately shuffled white little porcelain cups and plates. People standing elbow-to-elbow in their dark suits and in front of the transparent counter, drank down their shots of espresso, lungo, or macchiato, even faster than they had appeared, ordered without needing to exchange a word. I, no longer an habitué, was forced to speak my breakfast order instead:
“Cornetto semplice e cappuccio con tanta schiuma per favore.”
(Croissant and cappuccino in a glass with lots of foam please.)
To make it a little softer, I dipped my dry cornetto in my voluptuous cappuccino: pastry isn’t exactly Rome’s finest skill. When I was done scrubbing the sugar, I paid my 2.10€ bill, and slipped in between a few narrow streets to cross the imposing Garibaldi Bridge. From there, I could admire the boat-shaped Tiber Island or Isola Tiberina, originally a seat of the temple of Asclepius (Greek God of medicine and healing) and now a renowned hospital.
At the bridge’s end, I opted for Via dei Giubbonari to access the busy market of Campo de’ Fiori. I was already very hot and thirsty, yet positive that by the time I reached the flowerpot stands near the statue of Giordano Bruno, one of Rome’s loyal springs would let me freshen up again. Then I would walk further onto Piazza Navona.
At this hour, the square (actually oval) was crowded with Bangladeshi men throwing fluorescent disks in the air; Michael Jackson finger puppets boogying behind Bernini’s Four River Fountain, as well as artists and tourists from everywhere. I continued my tour in the direction of Largo Argentina, to hop on tram n°8, and return to my starting point.
Back in my charming Via dei Salumi, I caught sight of Francesco, the owner of my favorite restaurant Da Enzo al 29, standing next to the usual reunion of loyal Trasteverini (people from Trastevere).
“Giulia!” he cried out.
We hugged, and a few minutes later, I was seated at a small turquoise and white square table to fulfill my irresistible passion for Francesco’s Carpaccio di Verdure. Each bite of thinly sliced zucchini and parmesan cheese – sprinkled with drops of olive oil and lemon, softened the sour taste of the surrounding economic crisis, and made me grateful to the extent I wondered how I had ever found the courage to abandon such deliciousness.
About the Author: With her multicultural French, American and Italian origins, Julie has always been a dedicated traveler. Since she discovered the sharing of her stories enabled her to travel some more, she also became a passionate writer – who now mainly strives to travel so she can write, and write so she can travel more.