Once upon a time, Rome was known as Caput Mundi, Latin for “capital of the world.” It best described the power and strength that she wielded for centuries via her mighty sandal-clad legions and her extraordinary influence over the arts, architecture, politics and law.
Today, the capital city of Italy continues to captivate as she attracts millions of globetrotters annually who are eager to inhale her history and exhale her charm. And, I’m no different as I join up with a group of like-minded travel scribes invited to experience Caput Mundi in January on the third-annual #WinterinRome blogging event.
Our 72-hour, customized assaggio (taste) of the sights, sounds and savors of the Eternal City is the brainchild of Linda Martinez, owner of The Beehive — an upscale hostel/budget boutique hotel conveniently located just two blocks from the Termini train station in the heart of Rome — and sponsored by a handful of English-speaking tour operators eager for our collective ink: Eating Europe, Personalized Italy, The Roman Guy, Context Travel and BonAppetour, where the first of my five tantalizing #WinterinRome narratives begins.
Through an accent-lighted, floral-filled courtyard of a residential complex, we make our way into a two-person lift and slowly ascend to a fifth-floor apartment in Flaminio, Rome’s very first quartiere (neighborhood) located just outside the centro storico.
No sooner do we cross over the threshold then we’re greeted warmly by Chef Amanda and Sommelier Maria Laura, handed glasses of bubbly and begin our night of “social dining” at one of BonAppetour‘s many popular “home restaurants” around Rome that invite you in to savor la cucina romana with locals.
Just like being invited over by old friends, Amanda and Maria Laura pull out all the stops and treat our party of 12 to a bounty of traditional, homemade Roman fare: an array of appetizers; pasta con carciofi (baked pasta in a white creamy sauce, tender artichokes and parmesan cheese); polpette (meatballs); an oven-baked potato and spinach flan; stir-fried winter broccoli; a salad of fresh fennel, olives and oranges; a layered dessert of pears steamed in red wine and whipped ricotta cheese smothered in a warm dark chocolate sauce; red and white wines; cordials of sweet passito (dessert wine); and, single shots of strong espresso. Mmm.
After obligatory double-cheek kisses are exchanged, we bid our gracious hosts a fond arrivederci and then draw straws to see who gets to take the two-person lift back down to the ground floor. Darn! Stairs for me.
For complete information on how you and your friends can dine with locals at an authentic “home restaurant” in the Eternal City, along with cookery classes, market tours and much more, just log on to the BonAppetour website by clicking HERE.
Next up on #WinterinRome, a foodie tour through Trastevere with Mimmo of Eating Europe.
Ciao for now.