Thursday, February 11, 2021 12:16 PM by Jens
There is nothing like the authentic Italian dining experience. It's not just about food, but about atmosphere and becoming a friend of the house. One may need a break in hectic Rome. My best place for a break is St. Peter's Basilica. Not far away, and also in the Vatican, lies an unknown gem in Rome. Galleria delle Carte Geografiche is the Mona Lisa for travelers. Google Earth from the 16th century. Food to eat, a place to take a break and maps for travel dreams - what more could you ask for as a traveler?
It is said - when you are in Rome, do as the Romans.
Fortunately, that involves dining out at your local Hosteria.
And this is where the good friends comes along - or as the Italians say 'I Buoni Amici'.
A real Italian restaurant treats you like a good friends of the house - maybe even like family!
One of the friendliest local Hosterias I know in Rome is "I Buoni Amici" in the San Giovanni neighborhood.
The food is good - but not great - but the authenticity is what drives this small Hosteria.
I'm sure the locals find it homely - I find it Italian in the best way. Small tables with tablecloth, no pretensions, families, couples, lots of Italian conversation and you can look into the kitchen where the host couple is cooking ... You will simply be happy to be a guest here!
Buoni Amici has reasonable reviews on most sites - including Tripadvisor - but you need to visit the place to get all the impressions - not just the food!
When it comes to food, it's your classic hosteria menu. Primo, Secondo and Dolce ... nothing mentioned. Nothing forgotten .. ahh maybe I should mention the lamb chops ... and their dessert cupboard with lots of cake!
The area where Buoni Amici is located is not a typical tourist area. But I like staying at Eurostars Saint Johns. It's close to Manzanilla Metro Station - so basically it's close to everything in Rome. And Bueni Amici is the local restaurant!
An evening stroll from Saint Johns can easily lead you down to the Colosseum and back - just enough to justify a little Italian ice cream on the way!
And as an extra treat - the Colosseum is especially beautiful in the evening when floodlights illuminate the arena's old walls ...
Just as Bueni Amici is my dining temple, so is St. Peter's in its best days i.e. when it is almost empty of tourists - my utimative temple for a break In Rome.
I love the way you as a visitor lower your voice, walk around with devotion, relax and take a break from life outside.
Whether you are a believer or not - the inner peace you can experience if you just sit down in St. Peter's and soak up the atmosphere and church life - is amazing.
On a hot summer day, there is also no better place to get in the shade and cool off a bit in the church rooms cool temperatures.
The Vatican is a special place, with lots of small and big gems.
As a traveler, the Vatican's most amazing gem is the Gallery's large blue maps of 16th-century Italy.
Overlooked by most on the way to Michelangelo's Sistine Chapel, and the Last Supper, they are painted on the walls of the gallery leading down to Michelangelo's masterpiece.
If you get the chance, stop by and explore Italy in the 16th century in a very special perspective.
Galleria delle Carte Geografiche is a beautiful collection of maps of most parts of modern Italy. It was a trend in the 16th century that the church and the nobility got maps painted . Medicis in the Palacchio Vecchio in Florence did it - and the ruling pope decided - we need that in the Vatican too.
I always find it a paradox that lust for power and jealousy of powerful men can bring beauty!
The story is simple about envy and power - and therefore a desire to show off - and perhaps show that the earth was really flat.
Pope Gregory XIII commissioned Egnazio Danti to paint 120 meters of maps so that the Vatican did not lag behind the Medicis.
And so did Danti between 1580 and 1585.
I usually spend a lot of time in the gallery. Dive into the fantastic deep blue and green colors of the maps. These colors almost make you - literally, dive into the map and into the magic of the maps.
The Maps stretches from from Sicily to the Alps in the North. With cities and landmarks neatly painted in. Recognizable and yet a little skewed compared to the map we know today.
If you're a Google Earth dreamer like me who can easily spend a few hours just moving around to new and familiar destinations on Google Earth, you'll feel right at home.
Find the well-known places in Italy, dive into the details and find places you haven't visited yet.
Stop and look at the perspective of the maps. You will discover that it really is Google Maps from the 16th century! The maps are painted with "birds eye" perspective - but without the help of satellites and planes.
As a traveler you will not only enjoy it .. you will love it.
Like a good Italian dinner atmosphere and a break in St. Peter's Basilica.