We headed out one morning to visit the Vatican. No tickets, no plans on going in…maybe??? It was just after Easter and when we got to St. Peter’s Square, it was jammed. So, we sat at the base of a column looking at all the statues, etc. wondering what to do next. Perhaps we’ll go in?? You should have seen the line-up! I am not up for standing in line for tickets on a quite warm, sunny day! Guess we should have pre-bought those tickets after all! But then, it seems like a good excuse, among others, to go back to Rome.
Before we go on vacation, I make a “wish-list” booklet of things we would like to see. It’s a good reminder, so I carry it with me. This day, we looked over the list and thought, let’s go to Pigneto! We had read a review of a restaurant (what else) there, so why not give it a go; off to the tram stop!
It seemed further than we thought! We arrived, probably got off at the wrong stop, as per usual and started our wanderings. Found that a lot of places were not open, probably more action in the evenings. It seemed sort of sketchy or at least not pretty. The neighbourhood was historically working-class-communist but has morphed into Rome’s latest alternative hot spot; attracting young professionals, artists, directors & architects. So far, it is relatively “undiscovered” by tourists.
Our quest for the restaurant paid off. Primo al Pigneto is on Via del Pigneto at #46. The via is a pedestrian only strip and in the early mornings has a fresh fruit & vegetable market. Of course, as usual, by the time we get there all that’s left are some scraps of veggies strewn about! Never mind…we had a great lunch; sat outside on the tree lined street under an umbrella’d table. To start, we shared a rabbit breast rolled in herbs traditionally used to make porchetta (rosemary & fennel), served with greens drizzled with balsamic and EVO. My partner in crime ordered fresh tagliolini with artichokes (it was artichoke season) & bottarga (salted and cured roe of grey mullet) and I ordered fresh fettuccine with cherry tomatoes, eggplant & smoked ricotta. We loved our pasta’s! Our wait person, a lovely, friendly, young woman, thought we should try the locally made artisanal goat cheese; she was right, fabulous! With the lunch we had a bottle of red made in Lazio by a young winemaker. Definitely two thumbs up!
It’s time to head back to the apartment, unfortunately. On the way to Pigneto we noticed a Roman ruin; turned out to be the Porta Maggiore built by the Emperor Claudius. Took the #19 tram back to Rome; not without incident, though; about halfway through the journey, our driver stopped the tram and told everyone they had to get off! Yikes…my Italian is not great now and was worse then. There we all are standing around the tram stop wondering what to do next. Another tram with the same #19 comes along in the next few minutes and the same thing happens to those passengers? Like what’s going on? After a number of minutes, our driver says we now can re-board the tram! When we get on the tram I say to the driver “andiamo” (we go) and he nods, si. It’s a mystery!
Speaking of “porchetta”, Anthony Bordain, in his new programme called “The Layover” travels to Pignetto to sample the “best” porchetta at I Porchettoni at #68 Via del Pignetto only a short distance from where we had our fab. lunch! Next time!
If you have never had the opportunity to sample Italian porchetta, what can I say? My favourite so far is at Macelleria Cecchini in Panzano, Chianti, Tuscany. As I am writing this, my mouth is watering!