Roaming Rome with a Roman:

Updated: Feb 22, 2020



Everyone should have a neighbour like Bruna. I have been to Rome many times, but never to 'Bruna's Rome', which she insisted was quite different than regular, everyday Rome. Bruna is a Roman through and through, it's just that she doesn't live there, and hasn't for a very long time. This did not diminish her enthusiasm.

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We had five days to tour the city. We could have had five years and still not see everything there is to see in Rome.

Our first stop was the QUIRINALE PALACE, current official residence of the President of the Italian Republic, at the Piazza del Quirinale.

Quirinale Palace, Piazza del Quirinale

Built in 1583 as a summer home for Pope Gregory X111, the Quirinale occupies 110,500 square meters of Collis Quirinale, the highest of the seven hills of Rome. This makes the building, built a top of the Roman Quirinus Temple ruins, the 9th largest palace in the world.

From the top of the Quirinale's staircase, you can see the whole of Rome. And what a sight that is!

Just a few streets down the hill, you will find the Quattro Fontane at Via Quattro Fontane, 23. These four sculptures, at each corner of the intersection was commissioned by Pope Sixtus V and built by Muzio Mattei between 1588-1593, and represent the River Aniene, the River Tiber, and goddesses Juno and Diana the huntress.

We scuttled past the crowds at the Trevi Fountain, and headed to the area of Rome that we were staying for the week, TRASTEVERE (pronounced Trast-a-very, darling.)

Trastevere, known for it's food and nightlife, is a former working class district just across the River Tiber. The cobbled ally-ways twist, turn and impress and ultimate led me to the best place on earth- Caffe Settimiano on Via Porta Settimiano. It was in this cafe that Bruna and I started each morning of our holiday.

Caffe Settimiano

An Italian coffee shop is really part of the experience of Rome. You must approach this with absolute confidence. Jostle your way to the bar, attract the attention of the barista and yell at him what you want. After two days, the staff at Caffe Settimiano knew our order and we no longer needed to yell.

My drink of choice was a standard cappuccino, with Bruna preferring a macchiato in a glass hot glass, with dribbles of chocolate down the inside of the glass. Each sip of perfectly blended coffee and milk washed down the light, fluffy and crunchy sfogliatella. The sfogliatella, sometimes mis-translated into 'lobster tail', is a pastry pulled, stretched rolled into a log, filled with ricotta and cut into a sea shell shape. Nothing needs to be said, just look at the picture.



Villa Farnesina in Trastevere, is considered one of the most harmonious buildings of Italian Renaissance.

Commissioned by Sienese banker Agostino Chigi in 1505 and designed by architect Baldassarre Peruzzi, the interior is decorated with frescoes by Raphael Sanzio, Sebastiano del Piombo, Giovanni da Udine, Giovanni Bazzi known as il Sodoma, Giulio Romano, and Giovan Francesco Penni. villa was finished in 1511 and presented to Pope Julius the Second.

The building is filled with frescos and mosaics organised into halls, galleries and rooms. One of the most interesting galleries is the Hall of the Grotesque, in the Domus Aurea. Discovered after being hidden for many years by a young Roman man who fell through a crevice, the hallway is decorated with frescos depicting Nero's lavish palace.

At the end of the sixteenth century The Villa was purchased by Cardinal Alessandro Farnese from whom it takes its name. The Villa is open for viewing now also used for official representative purposes by the Accademia Nazionale dei Lincei.

Gallery of the Grotesque, Villa Forensina

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About Us


Fearing the empty nest? Don't! Since my children have flown the coup, I have had time to refocus on my passions of travel, art, and writing.  This little blog is a handy tool that helps me share what I have learned with others.


I grew up in the States, but have lived a large chunk of my adult life in the UK. I now split my time between London and South Africa as well as chasing the sun around the world. 


 When my nest emptied, I began to plan my trips according to my own schedule, indulging in going solo. Once one gets used to traveling solo, it can be a very freeing experience. I seek out interesting, informative and unique experiences, and proffer advice with my network of readers.  I also have a lot of fun!


 Spa retreats and personal growth travel are core to what I do.  If there was a master's degree in the art of booking massages, I would be a scholarship student! I also plan to conquer Europe one city break at a time and with all that effort, I need as many beach holidays as possible. 


So please enjoy reading my tales of travel. I hope you are encouraged to get on that plane and perhaps have a few giggles along the way.


When my large family was quite young, we lived in several international postings. In an age before Google Translate,  I negotiated the grocery stores of foreign countries in search of tasty ingredients. I soon became an expert at discerning information from food labels and also learned to cook healthy, quick meals from local sources. 


From this experience, I became quite the foodie, even before 'foodie' was a word. And now as an empty-nester and devotee of food travel networks, I  interpret those old recipes into smaller, even tastier versions. 


Being an editor and food/wine travel columnist,  I travel the world sampling indigenous recipes which I share on Old Bag on a Plane. I also love wine!


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As we are all not traveling much, now would be a great time to share favourite travel, wellness, and food stories. We would love to include your best tales on this blog. If you would like to collaborate, please email us here at

Around this time each year, we would create a recap of all our best adventures from the year just passed. As this is 2021, and there were no adventures in 2020, here is a short video montage of all the things we did while we were not doing anything at all.