Oh, Sacrofano… How we miss you…
When we arrived in Italy, we flew into Rome, which was about 40 minutes to an hour from where we were staying. Luckily, our AirBnB hosts were able to arrange for a pick-up from the airport. So we FINALLY got to be those people who had their names on the signs drivers hold waiting outside of baggage claim. We felt very famous 😉
If you have never been in traffic in Rome before, allow me to paint you this picture…
Bumper to bumper cars, trucks and motorcycles all starting, stopping, and zipping around one another. Parked cars rarely make it to the curb and tend to jut out into traffic here and there, or they will just be unapologetically double-parked.
It’s not tailgating in Italy, it’s just using the car in front of you as a guide.
When a driver is going too slow in the left lane, it will be honked at, yelled at, and motorcycles will drive between lanes to yell at them up close. Now, you may not know this, but Italians tend to talk with their hands, especially when yelling about traffic.
(we seriously saw this happen: as the motorcycle driver almost lost control of his bike yelling with his hands, regained control of his motorcycle, then continued to yell)
And if you ever do drive in Rome, remember, motorcycles and mopeds are more important than you. Just deal with it. Let them zip around, in-between you at will. You will not win.
When we finally (and all in one piece) arrived at our lovely accommodation we were greeted with this view:
I think we’ll be OK here.
Sacrofano is a small village outside of Rome. There are only a few grocery stores – and those are really more just small markets, a few restaurants, and not too much else. It was lovely.
Our AirBnB was located above a restaurant that was also run by our hosts and only open Thursday – Sunday. Because, Italy.
We, of course, dined there several times and it was incredible! Handmade pasta and tiramisu? Yes, please!
Our AirBnB hosts ALSO run an espresso roaster so we had amazing espresso to drink each day. Also because, Italy.
I think we’ll be OK here.
We ventured into Rome only twice during our two-week stay and that was enough for us. We longed to return to our little haven after the madness of “the city” each time.
Being in a smaller, less-touristy town meant a few things.
1- Everything was cheaper.
5 Euros for a bottle of wine. A BOTTLE! At a restaurant!
A glass of wine was not even an option.
2- We spoke more Italian.
Less English was spoken so we got to practice our Italian phrases.
3- We felt more “local”.
Because Sacrofano is a small town and there aren’t as many tourists, we became more familiar with life there.
We got to know our grocer from India, our local pizzeria family, our hosts, and another little to-go pizzeria down the street, where the owner would wave at us each time we passed.
Waved at by an Italian grandfather from across the street = THE MOST AMAZING FEELING EVER!
Rome was wonderful. I’m so overwhelmed by the history there. It’s really incredible to be standing where Romans stood. To walk the same earth, to touch the same buildings.
We did a tour of the Coliseum which was to be expected. Crowded and amazing.
We made it to St. Peters right when it opened and were able to walk right in and up the hundreds of stairs to the top of the dome as the rest of Rome was still waking up.
The Vatican Museum is astounding. And crazy crowded.
You can pay for tours to skip the line and walk you through, but honestly, the whole place was so overwhelming, I’m really glad we went on our own and could set our own pace.
Back in Sacrofano, we happened to land during their town’s saint festival that happens once a year. Lucky us!
The streets were lit up and there was something going on each night during our last weekend. Live music and shows took over the main town square and food, games, and little booths were there for your shopping, eating, and fun needs.
One evening we enjoyed the locals re-enacting the founding of Sacrofano. (we think, it was all in Italian)
Our AirBnB hosts, in addition to running the restaurant downstairs, also arranged a couple of experiences for us.
One was a cooking class taught by our host Antonella and interpreted by her daughter, Valeria.
In the restaurant’s kitchen, we learned how to make an Italian sort of biscotti that you dip in your wine, an amazing appetizer salad, pasta from scratch, and of course an amazing ragu!
It was wonderful and we are obviously professionals now. We can be hired for your next special occasion for a price.
They also arranged a winery tour for us. Valeria took us to a local winery where they stock the wine served at their restaurant. We got a tour of the vineyard as well as where the wine is processed and fermented. And of course a wonderful tasting!
I feel like no day is complete in Italy without wine.
After the winery, we stopped over in the small hill town of Calcata. Winding the historic streets and old stone archways, it felt like we were stepping back in time!
Sacrofano was beginning to feel like home and we can’t wait to go back.
We’re even thinking about renting the same apartment and the one next-door for my big 4-0 coming up in a few years.