After a morning spent wandering the Vatican museums and Sistene Chapel, I was ready for lunch.
My number one tip for Rome is to buy your tickets for the Vatican museums and Sistene Chapel in advance. You can buy them online here. I’m so glad I did – the line was 3 HOURS long. Whereas the queue for the reserved tickets line contained….er…no-one. We strolled straight in. Result!
Just around the corner from the Vatican was the Restorante Renovatio La Soffitta located at Piazza del Risorgimento 46/A, on the corner of Via Crescenzio and the Piazza. Walking there I was somewhat concerned by the terrible looking food the restaurants nearby were churning out. But I needn’t have worried. When we walked down into the friendly (and it turned out, large) restaurant I could see we were a million miles from the cheap, reheated frozen lasagne being served nearer to the Vatican.
We took our table…
The waiter brought us the menu and I got the opportunity to try out my newest trick. That morning I’d been given (another!) lesson by the hotel concierge on the correct pronunciation of the Italian for “I’m Coeliac”. The Italian phrase is “lo sono Coeliaco” and he made me repeat over and over again Eliza Doolittle syle the word “coeliaco” as “chilli-a-ka” until he deemed I’d finally got it.
When I explained this to the waiter he said no problem and would I like a gluten free beer while I read the menu. Hmmm….now let me think…The Lebensfreude gluten free lager turned out to be crisp and light in flavour but fairly strong at 4.8%.
If the prospect of a gluten free pizza wasn’t enough, they also offered gluten free pasta, calzone and even gluten free lasagna! The list of pizzas on offer were huge and it took me a while to decide.
In the end I settled on the Capriocciosa. The gluten free base was thicker in Milan. The pizza had a lot of topping so it was very filling.
What I liked about this friendly restaurant (apart from the gluten free pizza and beer!) was that the staff seemed really proud of the fact they offered gluten free options. How nice to be treated as someone special, rather than as a customer with a problem allergy the kitchen were going to have to deal with.
As we left I passed by a girl grinning inanely at the table. As I looked further I could see she had also ordered the gluten free pizza while her friends were tucking into their ‘normal’ pizzas. Her look of pure joy made me smile too.
A couple of photos from Rome…
Michelangelo’s jaw dropping Sistene Chapel. Apart from his supreme skill, imagine the stamina and dedication required not just to paint this, but to do so suspended from the ceiling for hours and hours on end for 4 years:
The queue for entry to Vatican museum. This was one-third of the queue, it snaked much further around the corner. Buy your tickets in advance, people!
The giant rotunda of the Pantheon. Its age and scale make this one of my favourite buildings in the world.
And finally a surprising sight. Last time I was in Rome it was November so I guess it wasn’t the season for orange trees but they were absolutely everywhere.
Do read on to the comments below for lots of suggestions on eating out in Rome.