First off: Dar Poeta pizzeria, located not too far from where we stayed in Trastevere. We'd really wanted to go to Ai Marmi (another pizzeria also known as 'the morgue' because of its stone tables) but they were closed for the holidays. Bummer. They must be amazing, as when we tried to go, we met another couple outside the gated entrance who'd come halfway across the city to eat there too. Much disappointment was had by all that night!
Anyway, back to Dar Poeta. First time there (we ate there twice, since as I said, they were really close by), we got carry-out and ordered a marinara pizza and one with anchovies and olives. Marinara was good, anchovies one was way too salty for my taste. Second time, we ate in and had another marinara and then one with cheese and mushrooms. The restaurant got quite crowded while we were eating (we arrived maybe a half hour after opening and were lucky to get a table right away), and there was a line outside by the time we left. Service was efficient but hurried as the waitresses had so many tables to cover. I wasn't impressed by the mushroom pizza either, and we actually left about a third of it on the pan. Perhaps I'm spoiled by Chicago pizzas and all the good food we had in Florence, but I can't say that I was terribly impressed by this place, and we weren't sure why it had so many raving review.s Decent pizza yet, but nothing spectacular. However, prices are reasonable and as long as you don't set your standards too high, Dar Poeta is all right for a casual meal.
Dar Poeta Vicolo del Bologna 45/46, Rome (in Trastevere)
Next up: Torre Argentina Cat Sanctuary, in the Torre Argentina ruins (home to Pompey's Theater, among other buildings). This cat sanctuary is non-profit and run entirely by volunteers. When you need a break from sightseeing and want some relaxation time with furry friends, this is the place to go. The sanctuary is home to about 250 cats, many of which love any extra attention they can get. To enter the sanctuary, just look for the sign at the corner of via del Torre Argentina and via Florida, then go down the nearby steps. Donations are always needed, although we didn't feel at all pressured to hand over any cash when we visited. They also have a little gift shop, so you can help out that way if you feel the need to get something material for your monetary gift.
Here's the link if you want to check them out: Torre Argentina Cat Sanctuary
I REALLY wanted to take this little guy home with us! Good thing we couldn't fly him back, as I doubt that Wasabi and Sushi would have approved.
Cat in the Torre Argentina ruins
Finally, a great little store in Trastevere: Polvere di Tempo, literally 'powder time' or 'powder of time'. In a time when shops and merchandise is becoming increasingly globalized, Polvere di Tempo transports you back to the age of the artisan. This shop, according to their website, 'specializes in time-keeping devices- but not clocks or watches - and in all manner of scientific instruments, ancient measuring devices, and old fashioned curiosities'. The interior of this shop is simply amazing, and since I asked, the owner's daughter was kind enough to agree to my taking a few pictures. (Note, if you do get to visit this lovely shop and want to take photos, be sure to ask. I always ask, but apparently lots of people don't think to do so, and I can definitely see how it would get annoying to have unapproved flashes and shutter clicks going on in such a peaceful shop).
We bought a lovely compass-inspired keychain to take home, and there were so many more items that I really wanted to purchase! Polvere di Tempo is definitely THE store to hit up for unique souvenirs, or especially for gifts for the man who has everything.
Polvere di Tempo, Via del Moro 59
Here is their website, complete with a map for locating the store: Polvere di Tempo.
Some of Polvere di Tempo's wares. Simply beautiful pieces.
So, that's it for Rome! Next up: Malloraca and all its amazing restaurants!