Going back!

As the saying goes,


We are excited to announce that we will be traveling back to Italy shortly, with a quick trip to Malta and a week long visit to Spain!

I can’t wait to share our journey with you. We have many exciting things planned, including visiting Barcelona, seeing the Mille Miglia in Rome, racing down to Malta for a early morning, late night two day trip, and the boys running with the bulls at the Festival of San Fermín in Pamplona.

We cannot wait to share, and I am thrilled to be blogging about our travels again! Thanks for joining us!

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Rome Travel Tips: Eating well!

Rome Travel Tips

I am starting a new series called “Rome tips” and it will be Rome travel tips for those visiting Rome. I hope to help anyone visiting and optimize their time there! Our first post in this series is going to be on food! When and where to eat in Rome.

Eating in Rome is one of our favorite things. We all love food and love to cook. Rome offers a variety of food options. And while Rome does provide many handmade fresh things, at some of the big tourist traps the food is less than ordinary, let alone extraordinary. They can be overpriced freezer options that don’t accurately represent Italy’s incredible cooking heritage. Because we love Rome’s cooking culture and all it has to offer, we have compiled a list of some of our favorites below.

Click on the links to be given directions. Also, gelato is one of the main food groups in our family, so of course, it is included.

One last thing. Dining in Italy is not like in the USA in many ways. But I’d like to point out a few of the main differences. Drinks are not refillable cups. You buy water (bottled–natural or sparkling) or wine or soft drinks for the table. Liter size bottles are the norm. Milk is not drunk at meals. Furthermore, in the US, it is typical to have a waiter/waitress buzzing around ones table constantly. In Italy, they don’t. So don’t feel like you’re being “ignored” by the staff. They’re letting you control the tempo of the meal. Lastly, meal times are completely different. Lunch is usually at 1 or 2 pm, and dinner doesn’t start (most restaurants do not even open) until 7:30. In general, dinner is eaten at 8 or 9 pm.

Wanted €€€-€€€€

Yes, it has an English name. But this place has incredible Roman style pizzas, their salads are delicious (especially the “insalata mista”) and they have a pasta dish made with pears, Gorgonzola cheese, and walnuts that you have to try. Wanted also has A/C which in the summer can be a real bonus.

Directions to Wanted from the Colosseum

Directions to Wanted from Cavour Metro Station

Trattoria Vecchia Roma €€€

If you have one meal in Rome, this is the restaurant to go to. Don’t get me wrong, all the other restaurants mentioned are tasty. But Vecchia Roma has something that we haven’t found elsewhere. All of the food is tasty, but their specialty is the “Bucatini all’Amatriciana flambè.” Bucatini all’Amatriciana is a classic Roman pasta dish made with a tomato sauce with pecorino cheese and smoked pork jowl. At Vecchia Roma they don’t just grate the cheese in your pasta. Instead they wheel out the rind of a round of pecorino. They light the interior of the rind on fire and throw in your pasta and the sauce. The cheese melts onto the pasta as it is on fire and mixes the sauce in. At the end you have the best Amatriciana in Rome, along with an incredible show at your table.

If you go at around 7 pm you can get in without a reservation. Otherwise, there is a line out the door and down the street to get in. They are open for lunch from 12-3 pm. They are closed Sunday.

Directions to Vecchia Roma from St. Mary Major’s Basilica

Directions to Vecchia Roma from Vittorio Emmanuele Metro Station

Velavevodetto €€€€-€€€€ Velavevodetto is a rather out of the way restaurant, not especially near tourist traps. As a result it is frequented mainly by locals. They have awesome fried artichokes “Carciofi Fritti” or the zucchini blossoms for appetizers. Some notable pasta dishes are their “Tonnarelli Cacio e Pepe,” a pasta with cacio (a cheese) and pepper, and their “Carbonara” is delicious. Also, don’t miss their Saltimbocca.

Directions to Velavevodetto from Ottaviano Metro Station

Directions to Velavevodetto from Lepanto Metro Station

Trattoria Cadorna €€€€-€€€

Cadorna is a little family run place, also not very tourist-y. A few generations of the family work there, including an extremely old grandpa. I warn you, he loves being friendly and taking orders and talking to you, but he will most likely get your order wrong. However, no matter what you’re served, it’s sure to be flavorful and well cooked. Some that you may want to look into are their “Spagetti alle vongole” the “Osso Bucco” (veal shank) and their “Coda alla Vaccinara”(oxtail). Their appetizers are a smorgasboard of tasty bites. A note, the Antipasto for 2 feeds many more than 2, especially if you would like to eat a pasta and a meat, so order accordingly.

Directions to Trattoria Cadorna from Barberini Metro Station

Directions to Trattoria Cadorna from Repubblica Metro Station

Sketchy Kebab Place (okay, that isn’t its real name.) Istanbul Pizza-Kebab €€€ 

If we’re honest, this place looks sketchy. And DO NOT use their bathroom if possible. It’s scary. However, they have kebabs (Middle Eastern sandwich/pita/deliciousness.) that are like no where else. They have huge spits of roasting, crisp meats that they shave off for each pita. They shave your meat and then go through a line of various toppings, stuffing as much in as possible. They pile on tart, crunchy, marinated cabbage, onions, tomatoes, lettuce, and random french fries. The options are really endless. Those are what we usually got, plus their spicy pickled peppers, their hot sauce, and make sure you ask for extra white sauce. The best part, these are extremely portable and VERY inexpensive. (As in €3.50) One kebab feeds 2-3 children or 1 really hungry adult. Skip the pizza here, just go for the kebab. There is also a little bakery a few doors down that has nice bread and little sweets to complete a lunch on the go.

Directions to Istanbul Pizza-Kebab from St. Peter’s Basilica

Directions to Istanbul Pizza-Kebab from Ottaviano Metro Station 

Pizzeria Amalfi €€€€

Pizzeria Amalfi has great pizzas around the Vatican. They are relatively reasonable for being in such a high tourist area. Their Margherita pizzas are quite tasty, and they have a nice range of appetizers.

Directions to Pizzeria Amalfi from St. Peter’s Basilica

Directions to Pizzeria Amalfi from Ottaviano Metro Station


Pizza, Cave Canem Restaurant, Rome

Cave Canem €€€-€€

Cave Canem is a lovely little restaurant in Trastevere. Trastevere is a highly underrated nightlife area (more on that in a later post) and whenever we would go, we always ate at Cave Canem. They have wonderful pizzas, great beer and Dad always got the carbonara here. The waiters and waitresses are very friendly and their prices are definitely reasonable. Also, they have a great patio that is fun to sit out on and watch folks go by. Cave Canem was one of our favorite restaurants to go to when we lived in Italy, and we still love it.

Gelato from Old Bridge, Rome

Old Bridge €€€

Old Bridge is the best gelateria in Rome. Period. They have gelato that is authentic, tastes incredible, is constantly being made fresh and they are very reasonably priced. Their mango tastes like you are biting into the best fresh mango ever. When you combine their mango, coconut, and pineapple? It’s incredible. We are so enthusiastic about Old Bridge it has merited its own tag. And Alex and Andrew are friends on Facebook with the dude we always ordered from.

It is a bit of an unspoken rule in Italy that one does not combine “cream” based flavors with “fruit” flavors. For example don’t combine nutella, espresso and coconut. Some combinations we’d like to suggest; Coconut, Mango, Pineapple; Dark Chocolate, Espresso, Pistachio; Lemon, Strawberry, Banana; Bacio, Nutella, Nociola (Hazelnut); the list goes on and on. Finally, at Old Bridge get a cone, and get the €1.50 cone. Because to be honest, anything more is just absurd. They load the cones up. And besides in the Roman heat you’re going to be dripping in gelato before you are halfway done with your 3 euro cone. And no one wants to walk around with gelato stained clothing.

Della Palma €€

Della Palma is famous for its selection of over 150 flavors of gelato. They are definitely an interesting experience. While Old Bridge is the place to go on a daily basis, it would be unfortunate to miss out on Della Palma. It is truly a gastronomical experience. All of their flavors taste astoundingly fresh. One of our all time favorites was the grapefruit. It had everything good about a fresh grapefruit and it was gelato.

NOT San Crispino 

If you have ever read a guidebook on Rome, San Crispino was almost certainly mentioned as the place to go to for gelato. We have to say, it is good, but has become mostly a tourist trap and isn’t anything extraordinary. Della Palma has the range of flavors if that is what you’d like, and both Old Bridge and Della Palma have the quality and taste to rival, if not beat it.

Finally, it isn’t necessary to only eat at restaurants while in Rome. Many small bakeries have pizza by weight (you tell them how much you want cut off and then they weigh it and charge you accordingly). And the grocery stores always have yummy meats and cheeses. Grab a loaf of fresh bread from a bakery, some cured meats and cheeses from a grocer and a bottle of wine or some beer for a tasty authentic meal. There are always small fruit shops around to get seasonal produce that is hard to beat.

Thanks for reading, I hope this may help those planning a trip to Rome. I am going to continue updating, and will have another post including some general tips and maybe one for lodging. Any suggestions are welcomed in the comments! And we are always happy to help, if you’d like to get in touch, there is a “Contact Us” page or you can email us directly at contact@togetherinitaly.com . We’d be happy to help in any way possible.



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At the beginning of this trip the boys decided to eat gelato at least once a day while we were in Rome and take a picture of one cone every time we ate it. And on special days, such as Alex’s birthday they ate it three times. Now in my opinion that is slightly vulgar. The following pictures are going to be nothing but gelato; The gelato itself and us eating said gelato. I am truly sorry if you feel like punching your computer screen out of envy as I torture you with pictures of lusciousness. 😉 

gelato Gelato Gelato Gelato Gelato Gelato Gelato Gelato Gelato Gelato Gelato Gelato Gelato Gelato Gelato

A bishop in line at Old Bridge for Gelato!

Gelato Gelato Gelato Gelato Gelato Gelato Gelato Gelato Gelato Gelato Gelato Gelato Gelato Gelato Gelato Gelato Gelato Gelato Gelato Gelato GelatoGelatoGelato Gelato GelatoGelato Gelato

Mary licked Andrew’s ice cream right as this picture was taken. Haha!

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Last Day in Rome

On our last day in Rome we tried to go as hard and fast as we could and see almost all of the major monuments (we saw much, MUCH more than this post shows….) But first we started the day like this….. 

Playing with Jakob

A little bit of Jakob time… 🙂

Sitting waiting for the train at Piramide, Rome, Italy

A group shot except I was taking the picture. This was in the morning waiting on the next train.

Waiting for the train at Piramide in Rome, Italy.


Ahhh, there we are. All of us!

The Colosseum in Rome

Alex and Mary in front of the Colosseum.

In front of the Colosseum in Rome

Look at the Monument!

Colosseum in Black and White

A lovely shot, thanks to Andrew

A shot of the Colosseum in B+W

Again courtesy of Andrew, this time a shot with Alex going all Lion King, offering his iPhone to the sun gods. Haha!!

Group shot in front of the Colosseum


The backpack took this cool shot with all of us perched on a rock. (Our group split up, one went the  Colosseum route and one went to a market to go shopping. Here you see Andrew, Gus, Alex, Mary, Me, and Christian.) In case anyone was wondering, we kind of like the Colosseum…

Roman Forum

The Forum.

Piazza Navona in Rome

We also went to Piazza Navona and I caught this funny picture.

And to add to the non-stop fun, I caught a constant stream of Mary throwing her coin in Trevi Fountain. So just look at the below pictures…. HA!

Fontana di Trevi (Trevi Fountain)


Fontana di Trevi (Trevi Fountain)


Fontana di Trevi (Trevi Fountain)


Signing the guestbook

Leaving our mark in a guestbook in a church we went in. I have no idea where Andrew was. Maybe taking pictures or something.

Riding the Lion on the way up to the Pincio

Speaking of pictures… On our way up to the Pincio we stopped at this lion and all got up on, with Andrew leaping on last after he started the camera. You would not believe how many weird looks one gets when one tries to take a simple photo on a lion. 😉


That evening, Mom and Dad went to a conference and dinner with some of dad’s colleagues, the kids met up with some (extremely) distant relatives and friends and got ice cream.

Gelato outside of Rome

My cone with dark chocolate and pistachio.

Jasmine flavored gelato

Alex’s cone with jasmine (yes, jasmine, the flowering plant) and pistachio.

It was a lovely way to end an incredible day!

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St. John Lateran, Scala Santa and Mary

On Monday it was our second to the last day in Rome and so we went to a few of the spots we hadn’t hit yet. Mainly we went to St. John Lateran and the Scala Santa. The Scala Santa is the Holy Stairs that Christ walked up in order to reach Pontius Pilate. The original (marble) stairs are covered in wood with small windows where you can see the Blood of Christ. It is customary for people to walk the stairs on their knees while praying as a small sacrifice. 

Climbing the Scala Santa in Rome, Italy

Alex on his way up

St. John Lateran, Rome, Italy St. John Lateran, Rome, Italy

St. John Lateran

The ceiling inside St. John Lateran, Rome, Italy Inside St. John Lateran, Rome, Italy Inside St. John Lateran, Rome, Italy Inside St. John Lateran, Rome, Italy

Inside the church

Inside St. John Lateran, Rome, Italy

A lovely shot of most of our group walking through the Basilica

Inside the museum in St. John Lateran, Rome, Italy

We also went into the museum inside St. John Lateran and saw things such as this enormous monstrance. To show the size of the thing we got a picture of Christian and Antonio next to it.

After leaving that area we went by the airport and picked up THIS kid!

Philly and Mary in Rome

Later I made a ricotta and chocolate cake with a neighbor/friend (secret family recipe and whatnot-the only reason I was allowed to have it was because I didn’t live in Italy!) Ha!

Ricotta cake

After putting the cake out to cool, we went into Rome for dinner and a little evening out.

Philly and Mary, happy about the beer at Wanted Restaurant

Mary and I were pretty excited at the sight of an enormous pitcher of Beck’s! No, we didn’t drink it all

Castel Sant' Angelo at night, Rome, Italy

Castel Sant’ Angelo

Rome Italy at night

St. Peter’s

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Party with neighbors

On May 31st the lady who lives below us (with Jakob) threw us a little bit of a going away party for us to see the neighbors and everything because we were leaving the Rome area that week. We had grilled fish, grilled meats, and grilled cheese (actual cheese, on the grill-not the sandwich). We also had some pizzas that they cooked in their outdoor oven. The night was finished off with a variety of desserts and a fruit torture device. 🙂

Mozzarella, fruit arrangement and bread

Food getting ready to be set out. She and I created that fruit thingy in the back and we were quite proud of it notwithstanding the fact that it almost took a nosedive for the floor and it looked like it might hurt the floor.

Cheeses to grill

Cheeses to be grilled, then eaten hot and stringy. Yum!

Bread with prosciutto and cheese in it. Bread with spinach and cheese in it.

A type of bread with spinach and cheese in some and prosciutto and cheese in others.

Italian party in the back yard

Everybody digging in and socializing.

Party in the yard

Same as above. 🙂

Checking the food on the grill

Checking the various meats and fishes for doneness. Alex, Andrew, Cristina, and another friend.

Eating and enjoying time with friends


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The Three Musketeers (or Stooges) on their own

The three boys went into Rome on their own while I went around with a friend of ours and her adorable baby, Jakob.  Jakob

Jakob getting ready to eat

Jakob in Rome, Italy

Sleepy boy

The boys went to the Liberation Museum which was the Prison and headquarters used during the Nazi occupation in Rome. (Sept. 11, 1943 – June 4, 1944)

Liberation Museum in Rome, Italy

Entrance to the Museum.

Cell number 1 in the Liberation Museum, Rome, Italy

Cell No. 1

Letter in the Liberation Museum, Rome, Italy Letter in the Liberation Museum, Rome, Italy

Various official Nazi documents.

Second Lieutenant A. Paladini, condemned to die, written in the Liberation Museum, Rome, Italy

Writing in the wall reading “Lieutenant A. Paladini sentenced to die.” Arrigo Paladini was born in Rome and after getting involved in some resistance work was caught by the Gestapo on May 4, 1944. He was tortured until June 4th, 1944 when he happened to escape while on his way to be shot.

Calendar from a prisoner of the Nazis in the Liberation Museum, Rome, Italy


A calendar on the wall from one of the inmates.

British flag carved in the wall in Nazi prison that is now the Liberation Museum, Rome, Italy

A British flag also carved into the wall.

"Courage Mama" in bread in the Liberation Museum, Rome, Italy IMG_0562

A sign reading “the bread of Ignazio Vian with his final farewell to his family” Ignazio Vian was in Torino, Italy, on a mission when he was arrested by the Fascists. He was tortured repeatedly but would not give any information about the resistant forces. He tried to commit suicide in prison so that he couldn’t be forced, in a moment of weakness, to reveal anything he knew, but the attempt failed. He was later “tried” and hung.


After the museum the boys went to the Janiculum Hill where a howitzer is fired off everyday at noon.

Howitzer on the Janiculum in Rome, Italy

Getting ready!!

The view from the Janiculum in Rome, Italy

Andrew enjoying the view

Janiculum hill, Rome, Italy

Alex enjoying the view

The boys then walked to the Vittorio Emanuele II Monument and went to the top to look around Rome.

View of Rome from the Vittorio Emanuele (Vittoriano, and Altare della Patria [Altar of the Fatherland])

In the background the Colosseum and in the foreground the church San Giuseppe dei Falegnami (St. Joseph’s of the Carpenters)

View of Rome from the Vittorio Emanuele (Vittoriano, and Altare della Patria [Altar of the Fatherland])

Colosseum from the Vittorio Emanuele Monument

Gelato from Old Bridge.


No explanation needed….. 😀


I, on the other hand…. Spent most of my day like this.

Philly with Jakob




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Villa Borghese

Saturday we wandered around Rome a little and then met up with a friend of ours. Together we walked up to Villa Borghese and hung out there. It was a nice change of pace to be around all that greenery and fountains after hustling and bustling center city.

Fontana della famiglia dei Satiri, or Fonte Gaia in Villa Borghese

Gus… Being Gus…


Pond in Villa Borghese, Rome, ItalyPond in Villa Borghese, Rome, Italy 

The lake inside the gardens


De Piante family and Alby in front of the pond in Villa Borghese, Rome, Italy.

Photo without Andrew


De Piante family and Alby in front of the pond in Villa Borghese, Rome, Italy.

Photo WITH Andrew!


Il Pincio with Alby.


We walked with our friend to his bus stop and on the way there we watched a bunch of street performers. It was fascinating to see the various ways they could contort their bodies.

Breakdancers and street performers in Rome, Italy Street performer and dancer in Rome, Italy.


Later that evening we went back to Villa Borghese to try and get into the Borghese Gallery and Museum. It was supposed to be free because it was a promotional night at the museum. Turns out that you had to make a reservation. They had left that out of the promotional banners etc. so when we got there we were told we couldn’t get in. However, as we were sitting by a fountain being depressed another group of people came up asking for directions and they hadn’t known either. It made us feel better that we weren’t the only ones… 😉 We did get a few nice pictures of the actual building and of a nearby fountain at night.

Borghese Gallery and Museum, Rome, Italy.Fountain in Villa Borghese, Rome, Italy.Fountain in Villa Borghese in Rome, Italy.






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Piazza del Popolo and il Pincio

The kids are still going strong on their own! On Friday we walked around Piazza del Popolo and people watched there. Then we headed up to the Pincio which is a hill that lies to the north of the Quirinal and overlooks Campus Martius.  Piazza del Popolo, Rome, Italy Lion in Piazza del Popolo

Andrew sitting on one of the water shooting lions in the Piazza.


Il Pincio, Rome, Italy Il Pincio, Rome, Italy

The view from il Pincio.



Three boys fooling around on some little pillars/columns


IMG_0498  IMG_0492

How we arrived at the above picture of Alex, Andrew and Augustin standing.


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Kids on their own

Today Mom and Dad left early for Vienna. But the kids went in to Rome on their own and did a little site seeing. We went to the Colosseum, and its surrounding area, the Bocca della Verità, (the Mouth of Truth – Gus didn’t do so well there…. 🙂 ), and Trevi Fountain. We went to grab a kebab for lunch shortly afterwards and went to Old Bridge. Again. After that we headed to St. Peter’s to try and actually get in this time. We spent most of our time there, then we went home and ate.  

Colosseum, Rome, Italy Arch of Constantine in Rome, Italyin front of the Colosseum in Rome Italy IMG_0261 Bocca della Verita Trevi Fountain, Rome, Italy Trevi Fountain Rome ItalyTrevi Fountain, Rome, ItalyOld Bridge GelatoGelato in RomeGelato in RomeSt. Peter's, Rome, ItalySt. Peter's in Rome, Italy


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