Wednesday, 25 July 2007



After leaving Barcelona we found ourselves in the first European city I ever visited as a child, Rome. While some may find this city crowded and chaotic, to me it is still a magical place. Perhaps I still have my childhood blinkers on but to me Rome is all about elegant men in well cut suits and gelato drips and walking through history. I am enchanted by the city. Although it's no hidden secret the Spanish Steps are a perfect spot for lunch, especially when you're on a four hour whirlwind tour as we were.

Tucked away under the Spanish Steps, Ristorante alla Rampa knows how to please tourists and locals alike. The staff are warm, attentive and flamboyant. It is an absolute delight to dine here and on a summery day there are few better places to sit quietly and take in this wonderful city. Unlike many dining destinations in this tourist locale this definitely is not a case of style over substance. Just like Rome this restaurant has both in hefty doses.

We nibble on grissini and delightfully chewy bread while sipping wine and browsing the menu.

We start with an excellent plate of bresaola drizzled with lemon juice and olive oil. The bresaola is meltingly tender and deeply flavourful. We fight over the last slice. A perfect way to start a Summer lunch.

The Writer chooses the "Mare e Monti" or tagliolini with clams, calmari, mushrooms and mussels I quickly devour a forkful or two. It is fresh, simple and flavourful. The perfect summer pasta dish.

I opt for the tacconelle pasta Roman style with lamb and pecorino cheese. The fresh ragged strips of pasta have enough substance to pair perfectly with the tender, rich, herbey lamb. Without fuss or pretension it is a beautiful balance of flavours and textures.

Unlike the locals our meal ends there but one day we will be able to handle the second meat or fish course. Instead we relax in the sun with an espresso and tiramisu. The tiramisu is topped with a rich custard not dissimilar to a zabaglione that makes our restraint seem wise.

Unfortunately after lunch we have to rush to Termini for the train to the coast so as to catch our ferry to Croatia the following day.

The details
Ristorante Alla Rampa
Piazza Mignanelli 18
Roma, Italia
06 6782 621

The Abruzzo Region

We take a train through the striking countryside of the Abruzzo region. The landscape is studded with mountaintop villages and serene winding streams. Luckily the rain holds off and we spend a sunny day at an Italian seaside resort.

The following evening we take the overnight ferry to Croatia and farewell this beautiful country at sunset to wake up to stunning Croatia at sunrise.


Fortunately that wasn't the last we saw of Italy. While in Northern Croatia we hopped over to Slovenia and drove into Italy for lunch. It all seemed very indulgent. This time our lunch destination was Trieste.

We found ourselves in a charming little trattoria with a strong local following. We sampled the antipasti, pasta with a basil-less garlicky pesto and a rich, sticky ragú.

After lunch we settle in a sunny square with excellent coffee and even better desserts.


Anh said...

Truffle, oh my god, I wish I could follow you! Your trip was amazing!!!

Johanna said...

I love the look of the trattoria - and the sound of dashing across from country to country - how exotic - my fondest food memories of italy are of the desserts - especially the gelati - so am glad to see you were enjoying some fine desserts

Wendy said...

Sounds like you made the most of every day! Haven't been to Italy since I was a teenager. A fussy-eater of a teenager too! Must return.
Really enjoying your travelog.

Truffle said...

Thank you so much Anh! It was undoubtedly my best holiday ever :)

Johanna- It was lovely having the freedom to go to new countries on a whim. I love the gelati too. I actually have a rather bad gelati addiction!

Wendy- I think it's time for a return visit. Thanks so much for reading :)

Amanda at Little Foodies said...

I thought you were going to have an amazing trip and I'm so pleased that it felt indulgent. How wonderful and special. WOW!

thanh7580 said...

What amazing photos. The photos of the scenery wasn't bad either haha. Only kidding. The photos of the scenery were definitely better than those of the food, even though I really love tiramisu, it's hard to make it look really sexy.

BC said...

Fantastic pictures. We visited Rome for the first time this year and I was absolutely bowled over with delight.

Rose said...

Lucky you! I have never been to Rome before but have some great memories from Barcelona. And all these dishes make me hungry.

katiez said...

We've lived in Europe for 11 years and have never been to Rome (should be whipped soundly with wet noodle)
Have been to northern Italy, (lots) Croatia, and Slovenia, though.
Your food looks sooo good, makes me want to go there right now!
What a wonderful trip you had!

Truffle said...

Amanda- thank you so much! It wouldn't have been nearly as good without all your help.

Thanh- the scenery was pretty amazing. I think it's hard for the food to compete with that :)

bc- it's a lovely city, isn't it? I wish we could have stayed for longer this time.

Rose- The food in Barcelona is wonderful, isn't it? Oh I'd love to live there!

Katiez- lucky you living in Europe! I'd love that so much. I thought Croatia and Slovenia were both stunning. Next time I'd love to try taking the ferry between Venice and Northern Croatia.

JennDZ - The Leftover Queen said...

This looks amazing! Especially that Roman version of Tiramisu! As Roberto is from Rome I will have to show him this post so he can relive his life before coming the US. Such great travel stories! Thanks so much for sharing!

IronEaters said...

your pics look wonderful! I wish I could be there now too! and the tiramisu, I just wanna hav a big spoonful of tt =)

Nora B. said...

Truffle, it's wonderful to read about your trip. oh how you make me long for Italy, esp. the south. It is one of my favourite places to visit. I was lucky enough to stay with my then boyfriend's parents who lived near the coast in Bari and we ate wonderful fresh local produce at every meal. The only thing that took time for me to adjust to is dinner at 10pm! I was sooo hungry, but was too embarrassed to say anything, so I suffered in silence...Also, it was mandatory at their house to take a nap straight after lunch, which is usually a long lunch (that's when I got hooked on long lunches). I wasn't used to lying down after a full meal, but I liked that ritual after a few days.

Truffle said...

Jen- thanks for reading! I envy Roberto as I would love to live there.

Ironeaters- I'm so glad you're enjoying the photos. The tiramisu was pretty good!

Nora B- I love the long lunches too! Luckily we got used to the late dinners in Barcelona and I've now found it hard to adjust to eating at an earlier hour.

jfox said...

welcome back truffle! thanks for sharing your lovely food-a-logue and travel-a-logue, that photo of the croatian sunset is gorgeous.. ok, back to drooling over your food pics!

Lucy said...

You must go back to Rome Truffle. You'll love it even more when you spend a lengthy period of time there.

Isn't it amazing that you can drive from Slovenia to Italy for lunch? I tell ya, those Europeans don't know how lucky they are.

Truffle said...

Thanks so much for reading jfox :)

Lucy- I am more convinced than ever that I must live in a European city and soon so I can have the pleasure of really discovering it and knowing others are just a drive away!