22 July 2007

Rome | Piazza Navona

Jule 6, 2007
Rome, Italy

The next stop on our one day tour of Rome was Piazza Navona. Now while there are several architectural and historical reasons why Piazza Navona is famous - we went to simply watch the people.

Jesse and I put a lot of effort into this plan. We saved Piazza Navona for a time near dusk. We chose to eat at a restaurant located near the middle of the square. We made it a point to sit as close to the walking traffic as possible. Basically, we wanted to have a perfect stoop in the Piazza Navona neighborhood. And that's exactly what we got.

We ate at Caffe Domiziano. We chose it because it was centrally located. Initially, we sat close to the back because even though we wanted to be near the people passing through the piazza, we also wanted to see as much of it as possible from one vantage point. Fortunately a table in the front became available before we even saw our waiter and we helped ourselves to the better real estate. Moving to a better locale turned out to be a smart decision - because it distracted from our terrible service.

I understand the European concept of not rushing through a meal. But there is a difference between not-interrupting and neglect. The waiter was not the scurrying sort. There were even people who sat down, studied the menu, waited, and left because the waiter never came to them. We ordered quickly and while I am not sure, I think the food took its time as well. Nevertheless, the pesto showed me it was worth the wait.

We both ordered pasta. I chose pesto. Jesse chose pomodoro. We both chose well. The food was not too oily (although I did drip and stain my shirt) and the flavor was distinct. We devoured it. Once we had eaten, it didn't matter that our waiter had better things to do. He stopped by when it was important (when I wanted gelato) and left us to appreciate the sites on our own.

Mostly we watched street performers. There was one kid who apparently carried his livelihood on a cart. He rolled to a stop, unloaded his Viola, and started a little radio. He played while we ate and just as we became used to the serenade, he stopped and took out his purse. We gave him the change we had and he left. Apparently no one gave him enough euros to stick around for an encore.

He was quickly replaced while we sat there, and so was his replacement. We watched the sun go down and the artists come out. Eventually we left too. We still had more touring to do.

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