Ritorno a Roma !

This post is also available in: Nederlands (Dutch)

Back to Rome!

It is Sunday 4 July and, after an early three-hour drive, I arrive at Lisbon airport. I have to pinch myself every now and then because I still can’t believe that in just over an hour I will be leaving for Rome! A few days ago I could not have dreamed that I would be sitting here today….. Normally, I can’t travel in July and August. The last time must have been about 25 years ago and, which makes it even more unreal.

Unfortunately,  received many cancellations in the last few weeks because of the virus that we can’t seem to get rid of. So now I can do one of two things, mope around or make a virtue of necessity. The universe must have thought the same because “out of the blue” a Flash Sale from a well-known airline company landed in my mailbox. A return to Rome for € 10.00.

I know that this is actually not ok and I did have some doubts but, I also realised that if I don’t take it, someone else will. And that doesn’t solve the environmental problem, does it? So I silenced my conscience for a moment and, a day of puzzling and organising followed. It was possible!


At 2 pm. I arrive in the district of Trastevere where I will spend my first night. This is a deliberate choice because, during my previous “flash visit” to Rome, I did not have time to visit this beautiful area. I quickly dump my suitcase in my room and start exploring the neighbourhood. This makes me so happy😍! This room may not be in Florence but, it is “A Room with A View”.

The name “Trastevere” comes from the Latin “Trans Tiberim”, which means on the other side of the river Tiber. This district is like Vatican City and the Prati is located on the other side of the river Tevere (Tiber).

It is a labyrinth of cosy, narrow streets, paved with the so-called Sampietrini. This pavement, which looks a lot like “cobblestones” or the “Portuguese Calçada”, can be found everywhere in the historical centre. There is a lot to see in Trastevere, but for today, I will stick to the cosy streets, the Basilica di Santa Maria and last but not least Villa Farnesina.


Basilica di Santa Maria (Trastevere)

By Romanic standards, this is quite a small church but it is also one of the oldest churches in Rome.  Pope Callistus had this church built in the 3rd century! Why is it that Rome has preserved so much from antiquity? If you visit this church, then please also take a look at the inside and admire the interior, which is decorated with beautiful mosaics. Especially the triumphal arch is an incredible masterpiece of the 12th century.

Villa Farnesina

Of course, I cannot skip a visit to Villa Farnesina mainly because of its beautiful frescos made by my great love Raffaello Sanzio. But the other parts of the villa and the gardens are also worth a visit. It is not very big so you won’t spend many hours here. My advice is to buy the entrance ticket online: Tickets | Villa Farnesina

Raffaello Sanzio completed his enchanting frescos in 1512 and they are a fine example of the Renaissance. His frescos are based on two stories from Greek Mythology, the story of “Cupid and Psyche”, and the story of “Triumph of Galatea”. Both stories are about love (what else could it be ?) If you are interested in these stories you can click here for more info on Cupid (Amor) & Psyche Triumph of Galatea

The first afternoon has already come to an end and now it is time for my favourite drink Aperol-Spritz! It is served in almost every bar or restaurant and if you order one late afternoon, it’s always accompanied by some tasty snacks. So, I think they will be stuck with me for a while …..


Most of you probably know the recipe for an Aperol-Spritz but I’ll share it anyway:

  • Fill a large glass with a generous amount of ice cubes. Then add the Aperol, Prosecco and sparkling water in the following proportions.
    3 parts Prosecco, 2 parts Aperol and add a little (1 part) sparkling water.
    Add an orange slice and that’s all !

Monday July  5th- Cook with us in Rome

It is Monday morning and the adventure can start. You know that I adore Italian food and today I will take you with me to my cooking class with Cesare and Gianni. I am excited and curious! I do arrive a little before 10h00 (still that Dutch punctuality 😊) at the cooking studio where I am warmly welcomed by Cesare and Gianni.

After a short tour through the cosy cooking studio, Gianni offers me a glass of Prosecco. It is now a little after 10h00 … well … why not ?😇 Today, I will experience this cooking class with a very nice American family and the fun starts immediately as it turns out that they also don’t have any problems with a glass of Prosecco on an early Monday morning -:)

I won’t repeat the whole lesson in detail but it was a really great and educational experience that I can recommend to everyone. (Cook with us in Rome) Unfortunately, I can’t explain the making of fresh pasta here, that needs to be done in a video, but I promise that I will share another tasty recipe with you at the end.

One very important thing I learned from this class, is that we often make things too difficult with too many ingredients. The secret is in super fresh ingredients, time and love!

We end this cooking class with a delicious lunch, of course with our own homemade dishes and a good glass of Italian wine.

The Vatican and Castelo Sant’Angelo

In the afternoon, I move to an apartment very close to Vatican City and Castelo Sant’Angelo (Castle of the Angels). A good opportunity to take some night photos and see if Franciscus is at home.

Castelo en Ponte Sant’Angelo 

During the first years, this fortress served as a Mausoleum for Emperor Adrian who had it built in the year 130. Afterwards, the building had many other functions, such as papal residence and a military prison. Nowadays it is a museum.

In the year 239, the pedestrian bridge to the fortress was built. This bridge is called Ponte Sant’Angelo. The fortress and the bridge got their name because of a vision that Pope Gregory I had. He had a vision of an angel (Archangel Michael) who appeared above the castle/fortress and saved the city from the plague. I think we desperately need such an angel too!

Passetto di Borgo

In the 14th century, the fortress was converted into a castle and connected to the Vatican via a secret passage. This passage was used in times of danger to transport the Popes safely from the Vatican to the secure fortress.

The breathtaking view 

At the very top of Castelo Sant’Angelo you will find a roof terrace with a breathtaking view of Rome with the impressive “Altare della Patria” at Piazza Venezia in the background.

Vatican City – Urbi et Orbi

 Our next stop is Vatican City which is just a stone’s throw away from “Castelo Sant’Angelo”. I have already visited the Vatican during my previous visit to Rome but it continues to be impressive. (Click here to read my previous article on Rome) Vatican City is an independent state covering only 44 hectares and it has its own security service the GUARDIA SVIZZERA PONTIFICIA or “Swiss Guard”. This Swiss Guard was founded in the Middle Ages and in my opinion, not much has changed since that time!

The main star is of course the Basilica di San Pietro (Saint Peter’s Basilica) This basilica is truly enchanting and perhaps even more stunning by night than during the day. My favourite part is the enormous dome designed by my other true love, Michelangelo Buonarroti. (Yes, I know… I am keeping myself quite busy with all these loves 😊)

Unfortunately, I haven’t seen the inside yet, and this has everything to do with my worst pesrsonality trait…… I do not have much patience for certain things. In Rome, the rule is that one may not ask for money to let someone into a church, so a visit to the church is free. This means that there is almost always a very long queue in front of the entrance. But one day, I will enter because there is another wonderful masterpiece from Michelangelo, the “Pietà”, which I would very much like to see. So, for the time being, this one will remain on the Rome Bucket List.

so for now a borrowed photo

By the way, Franciscus was not at home and for a moment I thought he had fled to Castelo Sant’Angelo ……… but later it would appear that he was in hospital for an intestinal operation. Fortunately, it all went well and hopefully, he will be able to give his Urbi et Orbi at Christmas.

Palazzo di Giustizia – Prati

 On the other side of Castelo Sant’Angelo you will find another impressive building. The “Palazzo di Giustizia” or the Palace of Justice. This huge, impressive building (170 m x 155 m) was built between 1888 and 1910 so we can speak of a young one …..

Via Cola di Rienzo in Prati

For the shoppers amongst us, Via Cola di Rienzo is a must. Here you literally stumble across the most beautiful boutiques. You probably would have expected me to come home with a nice dress from Rome, but I decided to visit a huge shop with kitchen utensils. A true kitchen paradise! No one is perfect 😊

I was afraid that this would happen .. we are only one and a half days into our trip (out of five), and this article is already getting way too long. There is only one thing to do, finish it off with a tasty recipe and the next time we will continue our journey in the city of Rome!

SUGO DI BROCCOLI (Broccoli sauce – delicious with any short pasta)

Ingredients: (4-5 people)

  • 1 Broccoli or Romanesco
    Vegetable stock (can be replaced by meat stock)
     Olive oil
     Garlic (1 whole clove without skin)
    1 to 2 blocks of fresh goat’s cheese (use the amount depending on how cheesy you want it)

Preparation :

Clean the broccoli and cut it into florets. Steam the broccoli for 15 minutes. Check to be sure that the broccoli is tender after 15 minutes, if not steam for another 5 minutes.

Heat the vegetable stock.

Heat olive oil in a large frying pan and add 1 clove of garlic. Fry for a few minutes to give the oil a garlic flavour and then remove the garlic.

Put the steamed broccoli in the frying pan with the hot oil and add ½ to 1 cup of stock. Add salt to taste. If you like spicy food, you can also add some pepperoncino (Italian red pepper) for a spicy bite. Let the broccoli cook on low heat.

Boil water in a large pan for your pasta. As soon as the water boils, add the pasta to the water. (This is when you use fresh pasta, otherwise start cooking the pasta before you start frying the broccoli).

Add 1 or 2 cubes of goat cheese, depending on how you like your sauce.

When the pasta is ready, add it directly to the broccoli sauce in the large frying pan and toss well.

Serve immediately, with some delicious Parmesan cheese on top, if desired.

Buon appetito !!


This post is also available in: Nederlands (Dutch)



  • Anja 30/07/2021 at 7:03 am Reply

    Lieverd, zo mooi en knap beschreven, ook nog een schrijverstalent!!! Trots op jou! Hoop samen een keer Rome te bezoeken, lijkt mij prachtig❤️

    • johanna 30/07/2021 at 5:49 pm Reply

      Dank je dat is lief van je ! Hopelijk kan dat laatste stukje onzekerheid ook nog een keer over boord -:) En wij gaan vast een keer samen naar Rome !! ❣❣

  • Carol 30/07/2021 at 7:28 am Reply

    So pleased that you have been able to return to your believed Rome. Your photos are amazing! I am eager to follow in your footsteps.

    • johanna 30/07/2021 at 5:51 pm Reply

      Hi Carol, yes I was a very lucky girl (again..) Thank you for your kind words and please go to Rome and explore it all !!

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