Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Rome Everyday

Well, that's it, 30 days - with a bit of cheating to hit the every-day target.  Hope you've enjoyed the random spin through my life here in Italy. And now I'm off to celebrate by ... leaving Italy. Just for the weekend of course.

Ciao, ciao!

(Photo from my recent trip to Florence)

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Rome Everyday

Beautiful walk to work this morning - beyond freezing, but very, very beautiful.

Monday, November 28, 2016

Rome Everyday


Since most of my visitors don't just hang around the Embassy neighborhood all day, here's another pizza recommendation you can try just about anywhere in Rome (as you can tell from the map below). I highly recommend a simple pizza margherita here - they make it somehow fresher and more flavor packed than any other pizzeria.  Another bonus is that they sell pizza 'al taglio' meaning you can choose whatever size you want from any of the types available - and mix and match if you've got a big enough appetite.

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Rome Everyday

More recommendations. This time for pizza - my favorite also happens to be the most convenient on a workday.  It may not look fancy but they make the best "diavolo" I've tasted in Italy so far. 

Saturday, November 26, 2016

Rome Everyday

Ok - it's after Thanksgiving, so what better time for leftovers?

From the Palazzo Barberini again - a couple stragglers that deserved their own post: Little Dogs of the Barberini collection

Well, they seem nice.

Friday, November 25, 2016

Rome Everyday

This weekend I saw Palazzo Barberini - a great museum that would be a very big deal back home for it's collection of crazy famous artists.  Here it's more of an 'off the beaten path, if you run out of other things to do' - type of museum. But it's that much more enjoyable for the lack of crowd!

One of the Barberini family? He certainly found someone better than the Medici's to do thebust...

La Fornarina - by Raphael, one of the museum's most famous pieces

Henry the VIII! Even I, the non-history buff recognized this one. (By Hans Holbein)

Forgive the photo quality but this is a close-up of a piece by El Greco. I had to wait for 15 minutes (I swear) for this old German couple to move so I could see it. It was worth it.

Beatrice Cenci, by Guido Reni - I think she gives the girl with the pearl earring a run for her money

And of course, a Caravaggio - in this case, one of history's favorite themes: beheading. (There were more Caravaggio's but I only pick the best for my faithful readers.)

Judith - "This is disconcerting. Why is there so much blood?"
Judith's grandma - "Give it to him good!"

And just to wrap things up, a Bernini (not to be confused with Barberini) statue featuring the Barberini family signs - bees, keys, and the papal crown. ... and sea creatures just for added effect

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Rome Everyday

Almost Thanksgiving and the weather was *perfect* this afternoon.

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Rome Everyday

The park again - it never gets old.

Monday, November 21, 2016

Rome, Everyday

Italy: Fancy for a Living

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Rome Everyday

It was a beautiful day out and with nothing better to do (at least nothing that I intended to waste such beautiful weather on) I hit town and took a stroll through my favorite park. Falling leaves, roasting chestnuts, and of course, a stop for coffee. Italy is going to be a tough act to follow...

Saturday, November 19, 2016

Rome Everyday

Mystified why anyone, no matter how much they like portraits of themselves or how naturally unattractive they might be, would commission such unflattering busts... or maybe this is the work of an extremely early caricature artist?

Friday, November 18, 2016

Rome Everyday

Continuing with the 'not actually in Rome theme', I visited the Uffizi Gallery. Saw some art, you know. Nothing major. Just Michelangelo, Leonardo, Rafael, Botticelli, Caravaggio....

Mostly just enjoyed without my camera but here are a couple I couldn't resist:

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Rome Everyday

Those Medicis sure knew how to decorate

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Rome Everyday

I could see myself living here. Couldn't you?

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Rome Everyday

I love the light in my neighborhood in the fall. And the chill in the air outside just makes my home feel that much cozier; such a change from last year when I was still trying to settle in to my empty apartment. Now my balcony garden is growing strong, my walls are finally filling up, and everything has it's place.  Lucky I still have nine months to enjoy this post!

Monday, November 14, 2016

Rome Everyday

Good morning to me!

Sunday, November 13, 2016

Rome Everyday

The lovely NYU campus in Florence (I know, I know, it isn't Rome but how could I resist?)

Saturday, November 12, 2016

Rome Everyday

For the first time in a year+ I've actually seen 2+ cats at the cat sanctuary of Largo del Torre Argentina.  They weren't up to much.

Friday, November 11, 2016

Rome Everyday

Santa Maria Maggiore - one of the four papal basilicas in Rome.  It was nice, but unless you are on a pilgrimage I would say it wasn't really any nicer than the dozens of other churches I've visited in Rome. Still, a good stop on an overcast Veterans' Day.

Thursday, November 10, 2016

The Hatch Act

I don't know if you heard, but the U.S. just had a tiny, little, totally uncontroversial presidential election.

Many of my friends are talking about it - but those of us in the State Department have been - and will continue to be - pretty quiet on social media.  Let me assure you that this isn't because we don't have opinions on the subject.  Rather, we're bound by something called the Hatch Act, designed to keep the federal workforce from becoming a tool of (or being intimidated by) any one political party.  You can read all about it at the link above, and here's just a small sample of the do's and don'ts in case you're just too busy for that extra click.  It's worth a read too if you're considering a career with the federal government.

And let me just take this moment to say one (non partisan) thing about the election.

This year we had an inspiringly large showing of voters from all walks of life come to the Embassy and our outreach events to get their voting questions answered.  And regardless of the moderate spike in our workload it was a fantastic experience.  I'm honored to have helped my fellow citizens exercise their right to vote and immensely proud of our team that worked like crazy right up to election day.
And I'm pretty sure the Hatch Act doesn't have anything critical to say about that.

  • May not engage in political activity – i.e., activity directed at the success or failure of a political party, candidate for partisan political office, or partisan political group – while the employee is on duty, in any federal room or building, while wearing a uniform or official insignia, or using any federally owned or leased vehicle. For example: 
    • May not wear or display partisan political buttons, T-shirts, signs, or other items.
    • May not make political contributions to a partisan political party, candidate for partisan political office, or partisan political group.
    • May not post a comment to a blog or a social media site that advocates for or against a partisan political party, candidate for partisan political office, or partisan political group.
    • May not use any e-mail account or social media to distribute, send or forward content that advocates for or against a partisan political party, candidate for partisan political office, or partisan political group.

Permitted Activities

As discussed, further restricted federal employees are prohibited from taking an active part in partisan political management or partisan political campaigns. Specifically, these employees may not campaign for or against candidates or otherwise engage in political activity in concert with a political party, a candidate for partisan political office, or a partisan political group. However, such employees, for example:
  • May register and vote as they choose.
  • May assist in nonpartisan voter registration drives.
  • May participate in campaigns where none of the candidates represent a political party.
  • May contribute money to political campaigns, political parties, or partisan political groups.
  • May attend political fundraising functions.
  • May attend political rallies and meetings.
  • May join political clubs or parties.
  • May sign nominating petitions.
  • May campaign for or against referendum questions, constitutional amendments, or municipal ordinances.
  • May be a candidate for public office in a nonpartisan election.
  • May express opinions about candidates and issues. If the expression is political activity, however – i.e., activity directed at the success or failure of a political party, candidate for partisan political office, or partisan political group – then the expression is not permitted while the employee is on duty, in any federal room or building, while wearing a uniform or official insignia, or using any federally owned or leased vehicle.

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

We interrupt our regularly scheduled program to bring you....

My next assignment!

Specifically, Sao Paolo, April next

Til then, back to business!

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Rome Everyday

Alright, so continuing the recommendations, my other favorite gelateria is the very famous Giolitti (which you may have seen if you've been to Rome and had a gelato craving anywhere within a half-mile radius of the Pantheon).

While the experience of visiting Giolitti is incredibly unpleasant for the crowd averse (me) the actual gelato is my favorite in Rome. In fact the perfect gelato in my book would combine the Come il Latte cone and cookie and chocolate set-up with a scoop of the caramelized fig flavour that I only seem to be able to get here. Most gelato is too milky for me and gives me a stomachache but this shop seems to have perfect gelato down to a science.  So every once in awhile I suffer through the horrendous crowds to enjoy a cone.  But pro tip? If you can't handle the hordes either Giolitti has a branch in the neighborhood of EUR and it's as calm as the other branch is crazy.

Happy snacking!

Monday, November 7, 2016

Rome Everyday

As long as I'm posting every day I thought I'd throw out some recommendations and provide a little value add to my faithful readers.

From yours truly, all my fav places in Rome after 14 months on the ground.

First up, Come il Latte - close enough to get to from work, but still tied for my favorite gelateria in town.  They will ask if you want chocolate inside the cone. Yes, yes you do.  Also - you want a cookie dipped in chocolate on top.  Trust me.

Picture from their website - I figure they
won't mind since I'm sending a shoutout right?

Sunday, November 6, 2016

Rome Everyday

This stuff. Love it.

Saturday, November 5, 2016

Rome Everyday

Homemade fruit roll-ups! Way easier than you'd think - right up to the point where you try to peel the fruit off the wax paper.... Let's call this one a work in progress.

Friday, November 4, 2016

Rome Everyday

Not how you pictured Italian food right? I think this one has been recently introduced from Italy's neighbors to the north...

Thursday, November 3, 2016

Rome Everyday

Ok not technically Rome. ;)

This is the pedestrian bridge in the town of Pescara where I was recently on a work trip.

It doesn't count as cheating if I backdate a whole week's worth of blog posts since it's my blog after all and it has been a stressful week. 

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Lately in Rome

This fall has been beautiful and I've been out and about quite a bit.  Some places I can recommend from my recent in-Rome travels:

St. Paul Outside the Wall

This church is one of four Papal Basilicas in Rome and it is gigantic.  It has a very convenient metro stop and is located in one of those 'cool but off the beaten path' neighborhoods of Rome - Ostiense - that's full of graffiti, students and new restaurants.  The Basilica doesn't immediately seem to fit the neighborhood theme but it's lovely regardless.

The church is full of images from the life of Paul - as one might expect - and has a picture of every pope in history. It's a pretty impressive sight.  I spent entirely too much time looking for the current one - only to realize that he was pretty well marked. Figures.

I'd give this one 1- 1.5 hours and skip the paid tour - the best parts were free.

Ah yes, there he is. The one with the spotlight.  

Also: other random stuff:

This building in Trastevere

 Garibaldi at the top of Gianiculo hill. Come for the view, stay for a picnic.

 Balloons at a political rally that I happened upon in Piazza del Popolo. Beautiful day.

And finally - the Vincent Van Gogh exhibit. Well worth an hour of my Sunday and it's amazing to live in a country where an art exhibit warrants a round-the-corner line of families, hipster couples and everything in between.