My first meal on my first day was a cone of creamy caffe, my all-time favorite flavor (flavorite?), for just €1.50. As we were walking from our apartment to the Centro Storico, I spotted a hole-in-the-wall gelateria somewhere on the Via Lepanto, marked with the words “gelati Siciliani” and “produzione propria artigianale.”
Now, Gelati originated in Sicily and foodies assert that gelati in Sicily is way different from the rest of Italy. Another tip I found around the blogosphere is to keep an eye out for gelaterias that are marked “produzione propria” (homemade), “nostra produzione” (our own production) or “produzione artigianale” (produced by artisans).
If you can’t tell by the smile on my face, this gelato was the my idea of a most kick-ass benvenuti from Rome. Marlon had the cannele, or cinnamon, which was everything you would imagine cinnamon gelato to be. Not having that was probably my only regret of the entire trip!
In the same neighborhood, near the Keats-Shelley House, was the Chowhound-recommended La Campana, where I ordered (and thoroughly enjoyed!) something very out of character for me: rigatoni with oxtail. Romans love their offal—so as they say, when in Rome…
Friendly service was also a pleasant surprise at Anti Luzzi, a tiny, family-run sidewalk trattoria near the Pantheon recommended by the owners of our B&B. At €8, their pizzas were half the price of those being sold across the street. And when I ordered a granita di caffe to cap my meal, the waiter tried to explain something to me in Italian. After seeing that I couldn’t understand him, he brought me a small taste of their granita… just to make sure I liked it enough to commit to an order.