Tag Archives: Rome

Antica Trattoria Polese – A Roman Tradition

Antica Trattoria Polese

Antica Trattoria Polese
Piazza Sforza Cesarini, 40
Owners: Paolo & Lorenzo Polese


For a typical Roman meal, Antica Trattoria Polese is a good choice.   In business since 1960, it is now managed by the second generation of the Polese family, brothers Paolo and Lorenzo.   Located not far from Piazza Navona, in the historic 15th-century Palazzo dei Borgi, the restaurant includes several intimate rooms inside on the ground level as well as a beautiful basement level with vaulted ceilings. It also has a characteristic canopied dining area set up outdoors in the piazza for fair-weather dining.

The trattoria’s history started in 1961 with a dream and plenty of hard work by two brothers from the province of Molise.   Biagio and Vincenzo ran the eatery until the 1980’s.  Paolo and Lorenzo carry on the dream and the hard work began by their father and uncle, with the assistance of ten employees, half of which are immigrants from other countries, reflecting the changing faces of the Italian population in general.  What hasn’t changed is the quality of their culinary offerings, which have earned them the Cucina Romana Award in recognition of their long-standing tradition of typical Roman cuisine. Giovanni, the chef who produces these many flavorful dishes, began as a dishwasher in 1965.

Paolo Polese is a gracious host, and a very busy one.   The trattoria attracts a large crowd of both Romans and visitors to the city.  We followed his recommendations for our dinner selections and it was a good decision on our part. The tonnarelli (fat spaghetti noodles) con cacio e pepe were delectable, the tagliata (thick beef cutlet) was grilled to perfection and was as tender as can be.   The meals ended with their homemade specialty dessert, semifreddo al amaretto, a frozen cream dessert made with amaretto.  The house wine, a white wine from the Castelli Romani near Castel Gandolfo was a tasty companion to our meal.

Trattoria Armando al Pantheon – the art of la cucina romana

Trattoria Trattoria Armando al PantheonArmando al Pantheon
Salita dei Crescenzi, 31
00186 Rome
Owners: Fabrizio & Claudio Gargioli


When a family can claim a Roman ancestry that goes back to the 1700’s, and said family loves to cook – they are bound to have mastered the art of “la cucina romana.”  Armando Gargioli established this popular restaurant, located in the shadow of the Pantheon, in 1961, when friends encouraged him to take on an older establishment that was failing.  Under Armando’s direction, the trattoria was an immediate success with the locals and remains so today.

Armando’s two sons, Fabrizio and Claudio, are the reason why one is well-advised to reserve a table at this quaint trattoria.  These two brothers grew up in old Rome and tenaciously cling to the traditions of old Roman recipes, to the delight of the locals and enlightened travelers.  In an area, hemmed in by “tourist” eateries, Claudio, the cook, goes about the business of dishing up authentic fare that caters only to the standards that he sets for himself, replicating the dishes that his family and neighbors have enjoyed for generations.

Fabrizio knows people and his wines, blending his passion for both in welcoming and guiding his guests in selecting the best wine to accompany their meals.  Claudio’s daughter, Fabiana, has also mastered the sommelier art and now works side by side with her uncle.  So, what does one order from the kitchen?  We let Fabrizio take over – very wise of us – and we sampled two different primi, both Roman specialties – Bucatini all’Amatriciana with a zesty tomato sauce flavored just right with guanciale and pecorino and Pasta e Ceci, the chickpeas golden and velvety smooth, drizzled with a peppery green-gold olive oil.  Claudio’s bollita di manzo was simply divine, slices of tender beef stewed in a delicate tomato sauce.  We ended with Torta Antica Roma – a cake made with a filling of ricotta cheese and strawberry preserves.

Auguri, Claudio and Fabrizio, don’t change a thing!!!

ITALY – the Beauty and the Feast

Italy - The Beauty and the Feast

To my friends and readers who love Italy as I do, I announce with great pleasure the publication of my newest book “ITALY – The Beauty and the Feast” along with a free shipping offer from Blurb.

“Has Italy captured your heart and your imagination? In this travel journal, Ginda Simpson captures the essence of the country, not through the usual highlights of a whirlwind tour of the peninsula, but through leisurely travels to the cities and countryside, often off the beaten path and during the quieter seasons. Festivals that ignite the imagination, banquets of tables laden with Italy’s abundant harvest, shepherds and farmers toiling their land, opera divas that sing in a way that almost breaks one heart – these are the experiences that inspired the title: Italy – the Beauty and the Feast. Ginda invites you to travel along with her. For your own planning purposes, she includes contact information for the various hotels, restaurants, and festivals mentioned in her stories. This is the sequel to her first collection of travel stories to be found in the book entitled: Italian Wanderlust.”


To order you copy today and get free shipping, click here:


Seafood at La Bussola in Ostia Antica

La BussolaLa Bussola
Via Attilio Profumo, 46
00119 Ostia Antica
Owner: Simone Marrocco

La Bussola menu smallTucked away on a little street in a residential area, like many good finds, you will discover La  Bussola, a gem of a restaurant specializing in seafood. After all, Ostia Antica is a stone’s throw away from the sea, while being convenient to the ruins of Ostia Antica and not too far from Rome’s Fiumicino airport. Three good reasons to book a lunch, or dinner, at this unpretentious restaurant, where the atmosphere is casual and the food excellent.

We decide to lunch here and what a feast it turns out to be. An array of seafood appetizers does more than please the eye and tease our appetites. They manage to nearly fill us up BEFORE we venture into the even considering what to choose for primi e secondi. Our waitress, Corrine, brings us sparkling white dishes and platters of fresh anchovies, salmon, octopus carpaccio, steamed mussels, shrimp nestled in a bird’s nest of fried vermicelli… Have I forgotten anything?

Each bite satisfies and has us realizing that we must pace ourselves. So, we decide to share our first course – spaghetti alle vongole – with a twist in that the sauce is slightly thicker and dusted with Botargo, a salted delicacy of cured fish roe, typically of grey mullet – a unique departure from the traditional. We follow this by sharing stuffed bass presented on a bed of tempura-battered vegetable fries. Superb.

For the first time ever, I have no room for dessert. We simply finish our chilled sparkling white wine, local to the area, and perfect for sealing our memories of a beautiful afternoon in Ostia Antica.

A Roman Restaurant with a history

Da PancrazioDa Pancrazio
Piazza del Biscione, 92
00186 Rome
Owners: Paolo & Laura Macchione

In the heart of old Rome – built above the ancient ruins of Rome’s first theater – Da Pancrazio can claim one of the most historical settings in the city.  Dedicated in 55 B.C., the theater of Pompey was the first permanent theater to be constructed of marble in ancient Rome.  Attached to it was a large Curia used for Senatorial assemblies and it was here that Julius Caesar was assassinated.

People who come to Da Pancrazio to dine are no doubt intrigued by this history and are invited to descend into the lower levels of the restaurant to feel its unique 2000-year-old atmosphere.  It is an awesome experience, but what makes dining here most memorable are not its cellars, but its kitchen.  Pancrazio Macchione opened the restaurant in 1922 and today it is under the careful direction of his grandson, Paolo.  In fact, the fourth generation of Pancrazio’s family are now involved in continuing a tradition of Roman cooking that has no parallel.  Adjacent to the historic market square, Campo de’ Fiori, the restaurant need not go far to seek the freshest ingredients.  When carefully selected and prepared masterfully by their chefs, these same ingredients are transformed into Roman dishes, pure and simple, some would say divine!

The cannelloni, with its delicate filling and rich tomato/béchamel sauce, is a dish fit for the gods.  But so are the paglia e fieno and the saltimbocca.  Indeed, the gods and we mortals have many choices here and we can fill our drinking vessels with the delightful house wine or choose from a list of many prestigious labels.  Da Pancrazio is a restaurant that one returns to time and time again.  Second to having the good fortune of living in this picturesque neighborhood, would be discovering this restaurant at the beginning of your visit to the eternal city, so that you can repeat what is truly a most gratifying experience.

Read more about my books featuring this and other lovely restaurants and hotels, Rooms with a View and Italian Wanderlust, by clicking on their covers:

Rooms cover      italian wanderlust 2

All content on artfulroomswithaview.wordpress.com/, both images and writing, is copyrighted material © Ginda Simpson unless otherwise indicated. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this content without express and written permission from Ginda Simpson is prohibited.

“In all Rome there is no more delightful spot”

          View for Hassler Roma rooftop terraceoriginal watercolor paintingcopyright - Ginda Simpson

View for Hassler Roma rooftop terrace
original watercolor painting, copyright – Ginda Simpson

Hassler Roma
Piazza Trinità dei Monti, 6
00187 Rome

Non est in tota laetior Urbe locus – In all Rome there is no more delightful spot.

When the Friars built the Convent of the Trinity on the Pincian Hill in the 14th century, these words were inscribed in their library.  Both prophetic and poetic, these words imprint themselves on my heart now, as I gaze at the unparalleled panorama of the Eternal City from the terrace of the Hotel Hassler.  The twin bell-towers of the 16th century church of Trinità dei Monti are to my right, overlooking the triple Travertine marble stairway of the Spanish Steps and the lovely Piazza di Spagna below.

Wondrous gardens have graced the Pincio from earliest Roman times, creating peaceful oases where, throughout the centuries, the wealthy built sumptuous villas. The Hotel Hassler came into being towards the end of the 19th century when it was not uncommon for families to open their private villas and palazzi to entertain the city’s high society.  The Hassler’s position, elegant atmosphere and impeccable service made it one the most sought-after destinations for visitors to Rome.  In the 1921, the Wirths took over the management and in 1940, it opened its famous Rooftop Restaurant, the first panoramic restaurant ever built in Rome.

During my stay, Mr. Roberto Wirth, fifth-generation member of the famous Swiss hotelier family, welcomed me personally.  A passionate collector of art and fine wines, Mr. Wirth is a charming gentleman who has made countless visitors feel perfectly at home in this exquisite hotel – visitors that have included royalty, celebrities, diplomats, writers and artists, and certainly those who seek the very best in Roman hospitality.

Hassler’s Palm Court, where breakfast and afternoon drinks are served, has ivy-covered walls with Roman statuary and marble fragments that embrace a tranquil and shaded courtyard, an oasis within an oasis.  Here, as in the sitting room, our bedroom and the rooftop terrace, it happens – everyday cares evaporate like the misty spray of the city’s fountains. In all Rome, there really is no more delightful spot.

Read more about my books featuring this and other lovely restaurants and hotels, Rooms with a View and Italian Wanderlust, by clicking on their covers:

Rooms cover      italian wanderlust 2

More about my books.

All content on artfulroomswithaview.wordpress.com/, both images and writing, is copyrighted material © Ginda Simpson unless otherwise indicated. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this content without express and written permission from Ginda Simpson is prohibited.