Sunday morning dawned with clear blue skies and gentle breezes. A perfect day to head to Harry’s Bar on the Via Veneto for Bellinis.
A Bellini is Prosecco and (in Harry’s case) freshly pureed peach juice. Refreshing, and not overly sweet.
We grabbed a cab and headed for the Via Veneto, the numero uno street in Rome, lined with luxury hotels, upscale shops, bars, and restaurants. At the top, next to the walls of Rome and Borghese Gardens is a Roman landmark, Harry’s Bar. Harry’s American Bar was once a landmark in the Piazza San Marco in Venice, and the reputed birthplace of the Bellini. A branch was opened in Rome, but after decades it evolved simply to Harry’s. Home to celebs and the rich and famous, the interior is paneled with rich woods, the bar always featuring multiple bottles of Champagne on ice in a silver tub.
We pulled in and got a table outside, next to the street. We ordered four Bellinis, which came with a generous assortment of snacks – potato chips, peanuts, olives, and small sandwiches. The sun was out and an endless stream of characters strolled by, allowing us to comment on their dress, hair, etc. Ah, it is good to be so judgmental.
After a second round of Bellinis, we strolled down the road next to the old Roman walls to the Sofitel Hotel, where David and I stayed on our last trip. We grabbed the elevator to the seventh floor and got a table on the dining terrace with fabulous views over the city of Rome and surrounding countryside. David and I got flutes of Prosecco, while Tom and Katherine opted for glasses of Gavi di Gavi. The waiter helped us identify the many buildings that can be seen from the terrace – St. Peter’s, the Vatican, and on and on. The weather cooperated by giving us warm sunshine with occasional light breezes.
David ordered a plate of artichokes done multiple ways – stuffed with a foam of Pecorino cheese, tempura, and in a mousse. The three of us had a serving of bigoli Amatriciana – fat spaghetti with a sauce of tomato, onion, and guanciale. We spent an hour or so taking in the views and enjoying our lunch, then headed back to the Minerva to meet Darren and Misha, who had just arrived from Venice on the train.
Darren and Misha have been having a great time and regaled us with tales of their trip – the places they visited and saw, and the wines and food they enjoyed. It is wonderful to see them smiling, happy, and enjoying life. David was thrilled that they are having such a great time.
We headed off to a restaurant that Darren and Misha like near the Pantheon – Osteria dell Ingegno – just opposite the columns of Hadrian’s temple. It’s small and cozy, with an inventive menu and pleasant service. Lots of laughs, and good food. Misha had Osso Buco, Katherine a salad and soup (which she raved about), David an appetizer of bread stuffed with vegetables and herbs…all were terrific. David was thirsty, so opted for a local beer, which he enjoyed.
Then, we walked back to the hotel, through the maelstrom that is the Piazza adjacent to the Pantheon – filled with tourists, vendors, and people of all types, enjoying a gorgeous evening in Rome.
Tomorrow is the long-awaited visit to the Trevi fountain (always a zoo), and our favorite restaurant in Rome, Al Moro. I know that Darren and David have been looking forward to this for a long time.