Saturday, December 23, 2017


Monet beckoned at the Museo Centrale del Risorgimento in the Piazza Venezia, a piazza better know this holiday season as the location of Rome's dead Christmas tree. We got a first hand look at the tree on our way to the museum.

The winter days in Rome, at least the one's we've been experiencing, are crisp, clear and verdant unlike many of the northern U.S. cities to which we are accustomed where we'd be freezing our butts off in this holiday season
On the side of the Palazzo Venezia where Italy's unknown soldier is buried is where you'll find the Museo.  The Palazzo Venezia is a huge monument which is the hub connecting the spokes of Rome's main thoroughfares.
At the entrance of the Museo we found we were in for a double treat.
Along with the Monet exhibit there was an additional exhibit of one hundred years of photography sponsored by Leica.
The exhibit carried you from the early days of 35mm Leica cameras and how it changed the way we photograph images. There were names like Henri Cartier-Bresson and Robert Capa posted under prints made famous from their reportage techniques.
I had my favorites and these were some of mine. I'm  a sucker for movement and capturing a candid moment.
I'm also a sucker for the off-beat and the humorous. The only issue we had with the exhibit is that Italy is a bit tight on finances and the exhibit turned out not to be heated. Even when the temperature outside was in the low fifties inside those thick stone caverns it was freezing. We should have known when the people behind the ticket counter wore Bob Cratchit style fingerless gloves and were wrapped in huge bubble jackets.
The Monet exhibit was a little warmer. I'm not sure if the content of Monet's work helped to take the chill off or not but filling the rooms of the exhibit with water lilies and roses helped me psychologically.
We hit the Monet exhibit at the exact time that about  five hundred primary school kids had the same event penciled into their datebooks. Teachers were everywhere trying to explain how an almost blind man could paint such beautiful images.
The rooms of the show were not only filled with Monet's work but with artifacts of his life as well. I've never seen a painter actually use an artist's palette but apparently Monet did. When it's Monet's palette that you're looking at it becomes art by default. It was frameable and worthy of inclusion
After Monet we decided to  search  out the vintage clothing district of Rome. Emmy has an expert eye on finding the deals hidden in a rack of rags and she's always up for the hunt.
By this time the hunger bell had rung we were once again on the hunt for the perfect lunch. Rick worked his magic on his iPhone and came up with a place called Etabli. The only problem is neither Rick nor I are any good with any of those GPS apps. We've decided that's why we take Emmy with us. She could somehow figure out the direction arrows far better than either of us. She got us through our frustration and pointed us in the right direction to another marvelous lunch.
We knew the minute we walked in the door we'd made the right choice, an open fire, whippets on the floor and a Christmas greeting over the fireplace sending us Best Wishes surrounded in lights made from shot glasses.
Once again while I settled for an egg casserole with spinach, cooked ham, and stracchinato cheese Rick took the lead with a Roman saltimbocca of slowly cooked veal wrapped with prosciutto and sage and served with chicory and pecorino cheese.
After our meal we took cappuccinos by the fireplace in front of a tableau of frosted Christmas trees below a graphic tree of  made out of old 45's.
After lunch we waddled back along the river searching for a shop we'd been hearted on on Instagram.
Babastyles specializes in luxury vintage clothing and accessories. It wasn't the easiest place to find but once inside we couldn't help but be impressed with their stunning array of finds.
From Gucci bags shaped like English riding saddles to Prada dresses our eyes kept saying "I want" but our wallets replied "No way".
After Babastyles we found a cab and headed back to the hotel for one of Alessandro's artful holiday drink concoctions. This one he fashioned with the ingredients of a Moscow Mule rimmed with a snowy dusting of coconut.
We'd only made two dinner reservations for the entire trip. One was still waiting for us in Ghent but the other was a favorite we had from the last time we were in Rome.
Al Chianti is situated in a neighborhood just far enough off the beaten track to make it more local than touristy.
They are known for their Florenitine beefssteaks and we were back for one more stab into a thick juicy three inch steak.
We coupled our steaks with whole steamed artichokes, roasted potatoes, and a fresh green salad. I keep forgetting to mention the wines. It did seem as if everywhere we went the wine flowed freely and was more prevalent than water. It was the perfect way to cap off an evening Rome.

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