What a morning! My friend Jeannie took me on a tour of some of her favorite food shops in Trastevere. We left our boys, Nico and Jack, drawing with crayons at Scuola Arcobaleno, and took the 44 bus down the hill, transferred to tram, crossed the Tiber, and hit the streets. Our first stop was at a bar (yes, it was morning, but coffee shops are called bars, here), the interior of which was like a cave of sparkling chrome and mahogany. We stood at the marble counter and sipped cappuccinos, priming ourselves for a busy morning.
Our first stop was Antico Forno Marco Roscioli—a beautifully abundant bakery better known as Roscioli. Follow the “FORNO” sign:
Inside, a curved bank of display counters embraces the gaggle of customers pointing high and low to the breads and pastries they want.
I bought pizza bianco, a half-loaf of whole wheat bread with figs baked into the crumb, and four little almond macaroons which, I just discovered, conceal a sweet cherry in their centers. Next time, I’ll have to get one of these apple torts:
From there, we wandered into the Campo di Fiori, over which the hooded heliocentrist heretic Giordano Bruno presides, and where on weekday mornings there is an open-air market.
I bought un pezzo di zucca—a chunk of pumpkinish squash—which I’ll use in risotto, and some spices I’ve been missing: ground cumin and cumin seeds, and cinnamon. The vendor scooped tiny handfuls with a plastic bag:
Next, we went to a shoe store. Having brought with me four pairs of sandals and two pairs of tall boots but nothing in between for the rainy fall weather, I justified to myself a shoe-shopping detour. Jeannie took me to a shoe store, called Ugo Celli, that has been in business since 1912. After looking at the selection in the window display in the foyer, you enter the store, which has looked just like this since 1938, when it was last renovated:
They still have the original register (though they also accept credit cards):
Feeling weighed down with purchases, we decided to turn in the direction of home, but made one last culinary-destination stop, at Antica Caciara, a friendly cheese shop just off of the main drag of Viale di Trastevere. Jeannie bought a mild cheese called Sienetta and some feta, and I asked for some Sienetta as well, along with some ricotta, all of which were wrapped carefully in slightly waxy paper.
Lunch hour was approaching, and we both had fresh things in our fridges, along with the bread and cheese we’d bought today, so we decided to head home. We also felt a twinge of guilt for not working but shopping all morning. The walk home will make anyone feel virtuous, though, because it’s basically a climb up a mountain. This aspect of living in Rome gives me deja vu, because it’s just like my walk from “the gourmet ghetto” of Berkeley to Euclid Ave., where I lived for a few years. Stairs, paths, hairpin turns, bags heavy with good food, lush vegetation.
Here’s just a taste of my walk home:
Just one more flight…