On Sunday, August 11, we celebrate our second anniversary of living in Rome. Glorious Rome, magical Rome, exciting Rome—I love almost everything about Rome, and I love finally realizing my lifelong dream of living in a different country. Lucky, lucky me!
My very favorite thing to do in my adopted city is go out to breakfast. I usually do that two or three days each week, although I don’t know why I don’t go every day. My very favorite breakfast is a cappuccino and a cornetto semplice, the Italian version of a plain croissant. Cornetti range from rich, flaky, and buttery to hard, stale, and boring. I prefer the former! Now having an excellent cappuccino and an excellent cornetto are important, but the setting is equally important, and I like to have my breakfast outdoors, at a table with a view.
Three places tie for first for making the best cornetti in Rome. Gran Caffè Roma, a restaurant on Via Veneto, about a block up the hill from Piazza Tritone, has scrumptious cornetti and excellent cappuccini. This restaurant has several tables on the sidewalk, and Via Veneto is a great place to while away the hours and watch people. Cost: €6.50. I recently discovered that my favorite restaurant on Campo de’ Fiori, Obikà Mozzarella Bar, also has a scrumptious cornetto, and I like its cappuccino just fine. Sitting on the Campo watching the world go by is definitely a nice way to begin the morning. Cost: €6. Although I don’t know its name, a pasticceria (pastry shop) just east of Volpetti on the south side of Via Marmorata in Testaccio makes a delicious cornetto and excellent cappuccino, but it doesn’t have a terrace, alas. Cost: €1.90 (such a bargain!).
I always stop at Canova, a restaurant on the southeast side of Piazza del Popolo, for breakfast before I go to hair appointments. It’s one of my favorite places to watch people, and I always feel unusually happy there, no matter what the weather—I don’t know why. The cappuccino and cornetto are good, although expensive, but I love Canova nonetheless. Cost: €10.50 (yikes!). Another favorite is Ombre Rosse, a cafe in Trastevere on Piazza di Sant’Egidio, about a block northwest of the Basilica di Santa Maria in Trastevere. Trastevere is the old working class neighborhood in Rome, and it always feel as if everyone knows everyone else there—very friendly and very fun. Ombre Rosse is also a wonderful place to have an Aperol Spritz or a glass of interesting wine in the afternoon or evening, and it’s always busy, so if you see an empty table, don’t dither—grab it! The cornetto is good—not great—and the cappuccino is good. Cost: about €3.50-4.
But my favorite place of all for breakfast in Rome is Caffè Farnese, my home away from home. It’s about four blocks from our apartment, and I go there so often that the staff now know me and bring me my breakfast before I’m settled in my chair. The cornetto is good, the cappuccino is good, Piazza Farnese is MY piazza so it’s great, and the staff are terrific. If you visit us in Rome, I promise that you will eat breakfast at Caffè Farnese at least once. Cost: €6.10.
P.S., One thing I don’t like in Rome is August. It’s too blankety-blank hot, and many, many businesses are closed for the month. We learned today that scorpions live in Rome and they like heat but they hate light and move indoors to avoid it. I wish they wouldn’t. I was washing a load of towels this afternoon, and I opened the washer door to take them out. Lying dead on the rubber gasket just inside the door was a scorpion. Really! It’s about an inch long and uglier than sin! This did not make my day. But I still love Rome.