Our first full day in Rome, and my first experience with dialysis here.
I was feeling a bit uneasy, with visions of the techs eating pizza and screaming at each other, and the taxi ride to the Villa Anna Maria did little to help, with the driver lurching from stop to stop and seemingly driving in circles.
We arrived at the clinic, set in a nice residential neighborhood, and went in. The receptionist motioned us to wait as she was on the phone, consumed with some animated conversation. I was sure she was saying, “No, no, Anselmo – I said shoot him in both knees, not just one. He served the wrong cheese on my pasta at lunch!” 10 minutes later, she finally broke long enough to tell us that we needed to go to the second floor, which we promptly did.
I was greeted by the nurse, said goodbye to David for a bit, and was relieved to find that the clinic was excellent – professional staff, spotless facilities, and all new equipment. The only problem was that the TV had no English-language channels.
David headed for the Piazza di Spagna to see if he could get some repair parts from the Tumi store for my suitcase. Being a residential district, there were few if any taxis, so he walked a bit to a busier area where he finally was able to flag one down. He reported back that he walked through the crowded square and streets to the Tumi store, where he was able to find all he needed.
After that, he strolled to the Antica Enoteca, a wine bar we like in that area and had a light snack of bresaola with arugula and shaved parmesan, with a glass of Barbera. Then, it was off to get me at the clinic.
The taxi driver was a very nice young lady, who got him to the clinic much faster than the previous one, and then returned us to the Santa Chiara, also without incident.
We grabbed a small map the hotel had given us and headed out to the Piazza Navona. Unfortunately, given the quality of the map, and David’s lapse of navigation skills, we found ourselves in the Campo de’ Fiori, where the market was just ending. Rather than picking one of the many restaurants there for wine and a snack, David was determined to redeem himself and get us to the Piazza Navona. Several missteps later, we arrived to find the usual crowded mayhem – artists, performers, tour groups swarming like big schools of game fish being stalked by vendors hawking every imaginable item.
We took a seat at Tucci under an umbrella and enjoyed a glass of wine while taking it all in. As the crowds thinned and the light dimmed, we headed off to find one of several prospective restaurants nearby for an early dinner. The curse of the map and David’s navigation malaise struck again, and we wandered from street to street. Finally, we decided to return to the area near the Pantheon (which should have been just two blocks away) but continued to wander until I asked a policeman how to get to the Piazza della Rotondo. Armed with his directions, we finally were in sight of our destination, scanning the street for good or recognizable restaurants.
David recognized the name “Rosetta” from his research, so we headed there and asked if they had a table for two. The friendly woman in charge, despite a terrace of empty tables, said that they were fully booked for the night. We chatted for a bit, and she said we were welcome to dine if we could be done by 9 pm, when the last table was booked. We agreed and headed inside to a warm, wood-panelled dining room. David glanced at his info on restaurants, and saw that Rosetta is one of the best seafood restaurants in Rome, and one of its most highly rated.
Our meal confirmed that, with a welcome glass of Prosecco and wonderful amuse bouche: pumpkin soup with shrimp, brandade of cod, and a rice ball with fish. The menu was extensive and expensive, virtually all seafood, and wonderfully varied. I started with scallops with zucchini blossoms while David had the tuna tartare. Both were exceptional, as good as anything we’ve had anywhere. For wine, David went with a Sauvignon Blanc from Trentino, which was marvelous, with a taste of wild strawberries. Our main courses were also superb – a pasta with langoustines for me and pasta with Grouper for David. While I ended the meal with an espresso, David had a green Chartreuse, then we asked for the bill so we could honor our bargain and leave on time. The bill was hefty at 200 Euro, but not excessive given the quality of the food and wine. David asked for the wine captain, as the bill had no charge for his Chartreuse, and was delighted to be told that it was a gift from the house. Just one example of the marvelous, friendly service we enjoyed throughout our meal.
The hostess gave me a small bag of chocolate biscotti as I left and said she hoped we would return. A wonderful experience.
Five minutes later, we were back at the Santa Chiara enjoying a nightcap on the terrace while music from nearby serenaded us. A nice end to a mixed day.