Friday, May 21, 2010

Day Six- Tivoli

At the entrance to the Villa D'Este
Boy were we wiped out after all of that gallivanting around Rome the previous day. I don’t know how far that was that we walked but it did follow the walking of the previous day in Pompeii. These old bodies aren’t as resilient as they used to be. Thank God for Tylenol and IB. Well, today was to be a big adventure. Last year I couldn’t figure out how to get to Tivoli but did know that the trains went there. So, we set off, walked down to ‘Re di Roma’ to get the Metro and took it to Termi. We climbed up out to the track level, purchased our tickets and then learned that the train to Tivoli doesn’t leave from Termi, it leaves from Tiburtina, the guy also told us to go down to track one to the information booth. Silly us, we thought that there was something that we needed to know, so we walked all the way down to the information booth on track one, waited in line and then told the lady that we wanted the train for Tivoli. She says that we have to go to Tiburtina to get the train for Tivoli. So I say, “OK, how often do the trains run?” She answers that we have to go to Tiburtina to get that information too. So I guess that was all the information that they had for us at Termi. Back down to the Metro and a short ride got us to the correct station. The Metro really is quite wonderful in Rome, who would have thought. By the way, I just saw today that they are building a new Metro line ‘C’, supposedly it is going to go to all of the ancient ruins. I’m not sure how they are going to pull that off since there are ruins everywhere but I guess we’ll just have to wait and see.

View of Rome
Neither of us has a watch, so I have no idea how long it took us to get to Tivoli but it seemed like around an hour and Tivoli was beautiful. From up there, you have a fantastic view of the valley that houses Rome. We would recommend Tivoli as a good place for an overnighter as well. The town is very inviting and there are lots of things to explore. Arriving, I asked in the train station how to get to the Villa D’Este. The lady said, just down the road, about a ten minute walk. Well, it wasn’t exactly that, there were some turns and stuff but it wasn’t all that far and along the way we discovered that Tivoli had another attraction. I did not absorb its name and it was closed by the time we got out of the Villa D’Este but what it is essentially is a very, very deep compact valley with what are advertised as the most spectacular waterfalls in Europe. Since it was closed, we cast around for someplace to eat and did go into a place named after mom called, ‘Flo’s Bar’. We didn’t actually go into Flo’s which was at street level but instead followed the signs for the restaurant which led us down a few flights of stairs to a large terrace cantilevering over the above mentioned canyon. So, I did get a few photos of the waterfalls from above even if we missed out on the chance to walk in it.

Villa D’Este! What can I say, if you haven’t ever been there, you really must go and experience it for yourself. Some Pope must have really liked water, they re-routed two rivers to power the fountains of the garden and some of these fountains really have power! Dad, I took photos of all of the different runnels that went down the sides of staircases and in one case down the top of a railing. I remember that you wanted to somehow replicate these ideas at the Kensington property. Perhaps someday I’ll eventually have the opportunity to do one somewhere. Todd & Gail perhaps a PowerPoint presentation for the membership would be in order. I have literally hundreds of photos of the fountains and of the town.

As with all walking adventures, we eventually got pretty tired of waking and Renzo had told us that in Tivoli right next to the temple of the Sibili there is an excellent restaurant that is THE place to go have lunch in Tivoli. So we set off over the hill and off to the left of the center there was a Roman temple which an old lady confirmed was the temple that we were looking for. Next to it was a restaurant that proclaimed its name was Sibili. We figured OK and set off for it. Arriving, apparently after 3:00 p.m. the place looked extremely expensive but we went in anyway and asked for lunch. The guy inside was on the phone but he looked at his watch and said that the restaurant was closed. We took off a little concerned, the restaurant below ‘Flo’s’ was the next one that we tried but they told us their kitchen was also closed as they delivered a plate of pasta to this French guy who insisted on trying to talk to us about how he forced them to allow him to eat outside instead of in and read me an excerpt from his photocopied one hundred year old travel guide of Rome and its surroundings (in French) that explained how great the waterfalls in the canyon really were. This deck had its own private entrance into the canyon garden and Donna tried to tempt me but we went on to look for a place that was willing to serve us lunch. We crossed the street to the next restaurant and that one was closed (locked up) and went next door to the next one. This one looked very promising as there were still a number of different tables of guests eating lunch. We asked the owner to seat us; he looked a little worried and stuck his head into the kitchen returning to tell us that the kitchen was closed. Well, we had exhausted every restaurant in the neighborhood and the eating district was uphill, we asked the guy at the sidewalk gas station what time it was and found that it was less than ten minutes before the next train left for Rome. Off we went in a hurry and jumped on the train minutes before its departure.

Once in the neighborhood of where we were staying, we went into a place that I had found that morning that was full of whole prosciuttos, cheese and bread. We proceeded to buy two ettos of prosciutto, two balls of mozzarella di buffola and three soft, fresh rosetti along with some freshly made tortellini stuffed with ricotta and spinach. We also stopped at a roadside stand to buy some tomatoes and a head of finochio (fennel). For me, I was in heaven; I had one and a half sandwiches of prosciutto and mozzarella in roman paninos along with a finochio salad and some tortellini and a bottle of cheap red wine which in Italy is actually, pretty good. That was possibly the best meal I had in Italy because I missed it so much. I know that those of you that live in San Francisco can actually purchase rosettis from Il Fornaio but I never have found them in San Diego and both the prosciutto and the mozzarella seemed to be better than what I am able to buy at home. Renzo says that if I like it so much I should buy a leg of prosciutto and bring it back on the plane. He insists that it needs to be brought back as carry on and not be checked. Perhaps because if it is checked, someone will make off with it before it gets to San Diego. When he came home Renzo asked if I had eaten at the restaurant next to the temple of the Sibili, I explained that it was closed and that in fact all of the restaurants were closed. He looked at me and said, Bryan you grew up in Italy, you should have known. Restaurants close after the lunch hour. The other side of that is just try to get a meal in Italy before 7:30p.m., it just isn’t possible. The Italians have a lot of rules about when you can eat or at least, when they are willing to serve you.

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