On our fourth day in Italy, we wanted a slow, relaxing day. We wanted to take a day trip outside of Rome. Our friends Adam and Stacey recommended that we check out Sperlonga.
I actually had in mind that we would go to the famous town of Positano while we are in Italy. Positano is where colorful houses sit atop a coastal hill and is a hot (insta) “gram” spot. But it was a 3+ hour drive from Rome, at best, so it was not meant to be. Sperlonga it is! We drove.
Sperlonga is a relatively unknown beach town, an hour drive south of Rome. It looks like Positano, except that the hilltop houses are white instead of colorful and it is a smaller town. It is apparently one of the best kept secrets of Italy.
We had heard that food outside of Rome could be even more amazing than inside Rome. And that was right! We went to a Michelin star restaurant called Gli Archi and we had such good food. And not that expensive. We had two types of pasta, a plate of grilled vegetables, a whole fish with white wine sauce, and wine. The waiter rolled out a cart with a plate of real, whole fresh fish before he took our order. I think we chose dorado, which served 2-3 portions. The waiter was wearing a tux and had great service, making jokes with us. Amazing food at a coastal Italian town, CHECK.
After leisurely lunch, we took a leisurely stroll around town and had some gelato. We had strawberry, pistachio, and coffee flavors. Breezy, slow-paced, charming Italian coastal town with whitewashed houses atop a hill overlooking blue sea, white curvy stair cases, white walkways, CHECK CHECK CHECK.
We drove about 10 minutes to go see a famous cave, or grotto, at Villa of Tiberius. It is an ancient ruin of a fishing settlement. It was part of a museum. The museum was hard to find. There was no sign to speak of. We went into three different streets or parking areas before we decided we found it. We had to ask the person at the museum to learn that it was in fact the museum, because there was no clear English sign. It was a nice walk around the cave and the grounds.
We drove back to Rome before dinner time and had dinner with Adam and Stacey at Le Tavernelle, near their apartment. It was a home-style trattoria. We had cacio e pepe, which was a dish Care Bear and I were obsessed over in Italy and had ordered several times in Italy at different restaurants. It literally means “cheese and pepper” and it’s a simple white spaghetti dish with just black pepper and peccorino cheese. I don’t like cheese and I don’t like black pepper, but I like this dish. We even had it after we came back from Italy to the bay area, at an Italian restaurant in SF.
We also had a dish of cooked greens I never had before, salmon ravioli, pesto pasta, grilled shrimp, baked artichokes, and others. I ate my heart out. I ate like there was no tomorrow. I was so happy to be in Italy. I took pieces of bread and soaked up the sauce from the bottom of the dishes. I did not want to leave any bit of Italian goodness behind.
After dinner, we went to the Trevi fountain, just the most famous tourist spot in Rome. I was so happy to be back here, 20 years after I was here the first time. My life had changed since that time. I became an adult, I got married, I had a baby, and I was a full-blown lawyer. I am thankful for my parents who showed me the world and took me around famous places in Europe while I was still only a teenager. And I am thankful that I was able to be back here as a happier person. I found happiness in those 20 years, hooray!
Trevi fountain was built around the same time the American White House was built, in the late 1700s. It gets its water from, or at least it used to, an aqueduct nearby. And, as far as I can tell, it is famous because it was in the movies a lot. It was nice to visit it during night because there was less people and the lights were pretty.
A note about Dash’s stroller: Dash’s car seat stroller and car seat had not made it to Rome when we arrived in Rome from California. I think they got lost in the Heathrow airport, where we had a layover, because the Heathrow airport has a weird rule that does not allow gate-checking. (Our stroller and car seat were gate-checked in California.) Thankfully, out of luck, British Airways somehow found them, when they had initially said they were lost, and the stroller and the car seat arrived to our friends’ place on our third day.
But it turns out we did not, or could not, really use the stroller much in Rome or Venice because of the hills and the cobblestones. We got good use out of the hipseat baby carrier every day instead.
The only times we used the stroller was to walk to the Trevi fountain from our friends’ place, which was a 10 minute walk, to go to lunch in Sperlonga, and on our fifth day, when we spent the whole day in Vatican City. Thank you Care Bear for carrying Dash around in the baby carrier for so long almost every day. ❤