Postcard from Nervi, Genoa, Italy: Seaside perch home to fishermen and the wealthy

The day was gray. Then it was sunny. It was the kind of day that couldn’t make up its mind, wavering back and forth. The lushly planted 22-acre grounds of Parchi Di Nervi and some of its museums were closed, as groundskeepers and museum staff refluffed everything after the wear and tear of the three-week-long Euroflora 2018, an event attracting 285,000 people to the park.

But none of that spoiled the outing to Nervi, a fishing village and seaside retreat now considered part of Genoa and only a short commuter train ride from its center. Handsome art nouveau or Liberty-style villas line her streets, and several museums (more later) welcomed us and one or two other visitors.

Named for the Brazilian-born wife (1821-1849) who fought alongside Guiseppe Garibaldi (1807-1882) in every battle he waged until she was felled by malaria, the winding mile-and-a-quarter long Passeggiata Anita Garibaldi hugs the rugged cliffs plunging down to the sea and provides stunning views at every turn. All of this so dramatically different from Genoa with its harbor full of freighters and cruise ships.

Taking a stairway down even closer to the sea than the passeggiata, we found an outside table perched on the balcony of Bagni Medusa for sampling some of the seafood the local fishermen haul in fresh daily.

Postcard from Rome, Italy: Offering up a few “last suppers”

These final food photos from our stay in Rome offer a few more glimpses into the confusing multitude of choices available when seeking sustenance in a city of 2.87-million people. TripAdvisor lists close to 6,000 establishments classified as “Italian Restaurants” in Rome.

These are merely listed alphabetically:

Enoteca Buccone – Tables are tucked among well-stocked shelves of wine from which you can select or ask for recommendations without restaurant mark-ups in price.

Knick Knack Yoda – Casual, funky spot with great burger layered with grilled eggplant, spinach and fig jam, but avoid ordering the absurdly expensive bottle of wine with it. Stick with beer.

L’Asino d’Oro – Best part, selecting trio of desserts to share.

Ombre Rosse in Trastevere – Always bustling spot for pizza and salad (spinach and walnut soup featured at top).

Pasta e Vino Come na Vorta – I am bratty about ordering at the counter and being served on paper plates with plastic utensils, but the Mister would have returned often for the rich flavors of coda alla vaccinara, oxtail stew.

Pizza Rustica – One of Rome’s most heralded pizza-by-the-slice spots.

Poldo e Gianna Osteria – Best part of the meal was the pear poached in red wine for dessert.

Popolo Caffe – Crowded, unpretentious neighborhood restaurant with basic good Italian food.

Ristorante Al Borghetto -The risotto with oxtail was among the best risotto dishes ever, but countered by the ridiculously parsimonious presentation of not-inexpensive ceviche.

Ristorante Virginiae – Enjoyed all courses of our fixed-price lunch here.

So many restaurants. So little time.

Postcards from Rome, Italy: Foraging off the beaten track

Taking another quick food break.

Glancing down the street from the corner, one would not be at all tempted to turn down Mantova street in Rome. We only found it because we wanted a lunch spot in semi-close proximity to MACRO and noticed a Berbere Pizzeria was nearby.

We previously had become acquainted with a Berbere in Bologna. The pizzerias are known for the slow-rise, highly “digestible” (We have never understood this foodie-ism issue.) crust topped with fresh local ingredients. The zucchini pie did not disappoint.

Eating outside, we noticed locals going into two establishments on the other side of the street. Looking online for reviews of them later, we found the super-majority of the contributors posting in Italian. Via Montova is not in the tourist zone.

The chef at Il Salento in una Stanza Vini e Cucina seduced us quickly with two amuse bouche offerings – cute little puffballs of fried bread and the best fried anchovies we had on the trip. I wanted to cancel my order and beg for a plateful of anchovies. The meatless-balls in a red pepper sauce were composed of eggplant, and the photo of the fish soup shows its amazing bounty. Looking back at the photos, I’m wishing we had made it back for another lunch.

The pasta with Sicilian tuna at Osteria Via Mantova was a refreshingly different seafood dish, and the flavorful chestnut gnocchi with a hearty lamb ragout was the only such offering we encountered.

And to think we ate it all on Mantova Street. The rewards from venturing away from the crowds often are savory.