If you read my first edition of The Smooth Traveler (Sorrento), you have probably realized that I am, well, not so smooth. I am a little clumsy, a little goofy, and a bit of a goober! In fact, I am pretty sure that when I take a vacation, my brain takes a little vacay as well! 😉
And now, in an effort to share some travel stories and a laugh, I am here to present you with the second edition of The Smooth Traveler (Rome).
Back in 2007, we were vacationing in Italy for our first anniversary. Ahh Italy, l’amore… I am sure you are imagining the same romantic Italian holiday that I am: embracing on a gondola in Venice, sipping Prosecco in Florence, sharing a gelato on a hot day in Rome…
But nah, that’s not us. We didn’t even go alone. We actually took two friends along. You know, as buffers, because we refuse to be alone together! Here is a picture from our romantic anniversary: my friends, my backpack, and me. Since the hubby is nowhere in the picture, one can only assume he was already over it and took off at this point! Well, either that or he was the one taking the picture! Potato, potato! 😛
I’m afraid I have veered off track. Back to my super sophisticated traveling adventures: So anyway, one of our top picks for restaurants to try in Rome was the Trattoria der Pallaro. This restaurant is known for serving traditional Roman meals that are prepared by a little Italian Nonna. There is no menu, but customers are all served whatever has been prepared that day. We had read about this little trattoria in Frommers, and we were ready for a delicious, home cooked, Italian meal!
Getting there took a little longer than we expected. There may have been some extra sightseeing along the way. Here is my husband “sightseeing” while a kindly member of the polizia locale points him toward the restaurant.
Once we reached the Trattoria der Pallaro, we were seated at a table and asked what we would like to drink. From then on, there were no menus, no other questions, just delicious food being delivered to our table. Throughout the restaurant, the diners looked well-fed and happy. The proprietress was even out and about, greeting the customers!
Midway through our meal, I knocked my fork off of the table. Darn it! I have always wondered which is worse: picking your utensil up off the ground during a meal or leaving it there for someone else to have to clean up. Well, I went for the pick-up and, as I was hunched over mid-retrieval, Mrs. Paola, the sweet little nonna, came to our table. Oh the timing! She saw what I was doing and was apparently displeased. How do I know she displeased? Because she smacked my hand, of course. Yes! With her kitchen gloved-hand, she swatted mine and took the fork, saying, “no, no, no, no.” She then got a clean fork for me and continued in amiably greeting our table. I actually think she thought nothing of it, but oh man, was I embarrassed!
But let’s focus on the positives. First, I gained a life experience that night, for this was my very first authentic Italian grandma smack. I may not have been blessed with an Italian grandma of my own, but right then I got a little taste of the good life. Secondly, I learned the answer to an age old question: to pick up a fork or not to pick up a fork? Apparently you do not!! 😉
The rest of our meal was thankfully blunder-free. We enjoyed each course and the experience was one we will always remember! Unfortunately, I have no pictures from this dinner, so I can’t show you the bowl of delicious lentils or the rich and creamy pasta. I cannot incite jealousy in my fellow carnivores with a picture of perfectly cooked veal. I am not even able to show you all a picture of my new nonna! You can however see all of these kinds of pictures from more savvy travelers who actually remembered to use their cameras. There are good pictures and many reviews on Tripadvisor if you are interested. You can also read this Global Goose article with a feature picture of the hand-smacker herself.
Tips and Lessons Learned:
- If you are going to be in the amazing city of Rome, be sure to head to Trattoria der Pallaro for a wonderful meal.
- Local police can be excellent direction-givers!
- Take pictures of the memories you want to hold dear! You may think you are seconds from dying of starvation, but chances are, you can spare a moment to frame a nice picture of the restaurant, your dessert, and certainly your new honorary grandmother!
- No skimming the floor for utensils at dinner. Apparently it is poor etiquette! 😉