Even though I despise the song “It’s a Small World” after being stuck in that ride for ONE HOUR at Disney World and hearing the same tune in the same squeaky voices over and over and over and over again until I wanted to get out of the boat and wade out of the ride, it IS a small world!
A bus strike foiled my plans for today, so I hied over to Trastevere for lunch. Gorgeous day—80 some degrees, blue sky, a lovely breeze—perfetto! Michael and I stopped for breakfast Sunday at Sabatini on the main square in Trastevere. There I spotted one of the kitchen staff carrying just-made cannelloni into the kitchen. I LOVE cannelloni, but it rarely appears on menus in Rome, and the one time I had it, it was just okay. I raced back to the table to tell Michael the good news. We almost had lunch right on the spot, but we were too full, so I vowed to return to Sabatini for lunch this week. Today was the day. Sabatini was packed but I spotted one table out of the sun, so I grabbed it and placed my order. My waiter suggested a light white Frascati wine because it was too hot to drink red, and that was fine with me.
While I was on pins and needles waiting for my cannelloni, a vendor on the square stepped out of her shop and spread breadcrumbs for the pigeons. The square was suddenly full of pigeon feathers! Out of the corner of my eye, I spotted a small dog hurtling across the square, aiming for the pigeons. He got there, the pigeons scattered, and he was a happy dog. This happened about six times—the pigeons would settle and the dog would race toward them out of nowhere. You could almost see the gleam in that dog’s eyes! After about three times, he raced to a huge fountain in the middle of the square and jumped up against it. His owner came over, put him up on the rim of the fountain, and that dog jumped in and went nuts, wiggling, splashing, turning around and around, and having a fabulous time. He jumped down from the fountain, shook himself off all over all of the tourists in the square, made another beeline for the pigeons, and life was SO cool! Made ME want to jump in that fountain and wiggle around.
The cannelloni arrived, and it was the real deal—stuffed with ground veal, topped with excellent tomato sauce and béchamel—sublime. Ahhhh! The couple at the next table spoke to the waiter in English, but I could tell that it wasn’t their native language. We’d exchanged pleasantries and laughed together over the crazy dog, so I asked them where they were from. Sweden, they said. I told them that my great-grandfather had emigrated from Sweden, and it turns out that he came from a village just down the road from this couple. I mentioned that one of my favorite authors is Henning Mankell, and he’s one of their neighbors! It’s a small world after all! My favorite part of their story, however, was that they got together about three years ago following the deaths of their spouses from cancer. The couple was so sweet and so happy—it’s nice to know that sad stories have happy endings sometimes.
Michael suggested that we go out for an aperitif Monday, and I never turn down an aperitif, so we walked over to Piazza Navona. We found a good spot, Cybo, on one of the side streets to the west of the piazza, and I had a Spritz Aperol. We then decided to have dinner there, and as we were leaving, a woman sitting behind me said to Michael that she overheard him tell the waiter that he’d grown up near Philadelphia. She said that she also had and asked where he lived. He told her, and she had lived nearby. He asked her where she went to school, and they went to the same high school. She asked him when he graduated, and they graduated in the same year! They were from a class of 1,000 in which the boys and girls were taught separately, so students often didn’t know each other, although Michael and this woman knew some of the same people. It’s a small world after all!
I wandered home through Trastevere after my happy lunch and decided that I’d better stop at a gelateria that was vying for the top of my list, Bar Latteria, just behind Trilussa. Very hot day—yes, indeed—I must have a gelato, no? Si! So I had stracciatella, and truly, THIS is the best gelateria in Roma, hands down! So my official list for the moment is Bar Latteria, Grom, Cremi (in Trastevere), and Fassi, the Palace of Cold.
Life is good (and so’s the gelato)!