Dolce far Niente
For our honeymoon we are so happy to have gone with the Italian Concerto through Trafalgar. As mentioned in the previous blog post, we were so pleased with the trip. We made many new friends, had a wonder tour guide and learned so much about the Italian culture. We’d both highly recommend Trafalgar for anyone looking to travel and doesn’t want the stress of planning and organizing the whole trip.
One of the most popular Italian sayings is “Dolce far Niente“, which means “the sweetness of doing nothing.” The Italians seem to live by this motto. They don’t seem super stressed and just enjoy being in the company of comrades.
On our third day, Nathan and I decided to skip the extra excursion to Tivoli to catch up on our sleep. Everyone in our group said they really enjoyed seeing the gardens, but we both felt so much better sleeping in until 10am.
After getting ready for the day, we set our sites on exploring Rome by foot. We stopped at a cute little cafe, Nathan had his standard double espresso and I had a cappuccino and a kiwi pastry. Here we practiced Dolce far Niente.
We then continued on our walk, poked our head in some shops and then eventually found our way to another little cafe for lunch.
During lunch we sat next to the sweetest woman from Germany, Ursula Preiss, a fine art photographer. We had the most pleasant conversation with her and it was fascinating to ask her view on the Italian culture from the German perspective. One of my favorite things she said was that “Italians dress for fashion, and Germans dress for comfort.” So true!
We continued our walk and made our way to Trajan’s Forum. This forum was built on the order of the emperor Trajan with the spoils of war from the conquest of Dacia, which ended in 106 AD.
Just past that is the Altare della Patria, which is a monument built in honor of Victor Emmanuel, the first king of a unified Italy, located in Rome, Italy. It occupies a site between the Piazza Venezia and the Capitoline Hill. The monument holds the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier with an eternal flame.
It was interesting to learn that a lot of Romans do not particularly like this building. The monument, the largest in Rome, was controversial since its construction destroyed a large area of the Capitoline Hill with a Medieval neighborhood for its sake. The monument itself is often regarded as conspicuous, pompous and too large.
On our walk back to the hotel we both picked up a little gelato. Gelato is made with a base of milk, cream, and sugar, and flavored with fruit and nut purees and other flavorings. It is generally lower in fat than other styles of ice cream. Gelato typically contains less air and more flavoring than other kinds of frozen desserts, giving it a density and richness that distinguishes it from other ice creams. Nathan got strawberry and I did a combo of vanilla and fresh mango.
We hung out at the hotel for a bit, just resting after walking all over town. Then a bit later, we met up with the rest of the group and visited the Spanish Steps. The Spanish Steps are a set of steps in Rome, climbing a steep slope between the Piazza di Spagna at the base and Piazza Trinità dei Monti, dominated by the Trinità dei Monti church at the top.
Fun facts about the Spanish Steps include:
- There are exactly 135 steps.
- They are called the Spanish Steps because the Piazza di Spagna at the foot of the steps is named after the Spanish Embassy there.
- You cannot eat lunch there. Roman urban regulations prevent anyone from tucking into lunch on the steps, as part of an effort to keep them pristine.
- The steps hit the big screen in Audrey Hepburn film A Roman Holiday, where the steps’ status as a popular meeting place made them the perfect location for Gregory Peck’s character to ‘accidentally’ bump into Hepburn.
After the steps, we all headed to an amazing little restaurant, Il Giardino di Albino, which was hidden away in an alley and had a true, multi-course Italian meal, complete with entertainment!
Comment below if you have any questions or let me know what you like seeing in the posts.