There may be nothing finer than a pair of well-made Italian shoes. Classic lines, impeccable detail, rich leather. So WTF with all the Crocs? I never thought I’d see Crocs on cobblestone but they are here and they are bright. At first I thought only the tourists had succumbed to the power of the plastic but it seems to have infected Italians, too. Neon green, bright white and bold orange boats-con-holes are slapping their way through the Vatican, resting against the archways of the Colosseum and squeaking up the Spanish Steps on a daily basis. I realize they are comfortable but they don’t breathe. I wouldn’t want to be around a pair discarded after five hours of sightseeing ruins in 92 degree temperatures. But that’s just me.
The gals and I went to the Pantheon. We ate at a cafe in the piazza before roaming around inside. It is old and it is beautiful and there is nothing more comfortable than sitting on the base of a 6o ton Egyptian column. From there we wandered to shops and I may have purchased a two-toned red Italian leather bag that was 35% off. We ended our shopping excursion with a beer at a local bar. The bartender—an Ed Nortonesque guy–asked us where we were from and upon hearing the States he inquired, “McCain or Obama?” and offered that he was “for Woman.” But not just one woman; he was “for all Woman.” We thanked him for his vote before catching the next bus home.
Later that night we headed toward to the Piazza Navona where we met my friend Bonnie and her boyfriend for drinks. I haven’t seen her in almost 10 years. We squeezed ourselves into a four top. Most cafes we’ve been to—sidewalk cafes on winding, cobblestone streets, under the shutters of apartments, drying laundry and old world lanterns–have been close quarters. But it works.
The five of us shared some antipasti and a bottle of vino bianchi and were apparently the subject of some smirks among neighboring patrons and our waiter. We weren’t being loud or demanding we were just there and this can happen anywhere to anyone. The complementary limoncello and the fact that the waiter forgot to charge us for our second bottle of wine more than made up for it. We wended our way over to the Cul de Sac restaurant, apparently a Willem Dafoe favorite, and proceeded to have another bottle of wine and amazing food. Mine was “salmon in paper” and it was delicious. Bonnie’s boyfriend tried to give me some names for similar delicious wine, one by the name of Greco di Tufa. “What’s a tufa?” I asked. He attempted to explain that it was a type of stone but I interrupted him with, “Like, the Rolling Tufas? Or the Tufa Temple Pilots? Like I always say, let no tufa go unturned…'” The gems kept coming, an obvious side effect of three glasses of wine, limoncello and after dinner Sambuca. We ended up in Campo de’ Fiori next to Bruno the heretic, where, for reasons unknown, one last drink in the form of Peroni seemed like a good idea.