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Sunday, December 20, 2009

The Pope and Us - views from the bar

With Christmas coming, we think some mention of the Pope is in order.

The photo here, taken at Bar Tony, in Monteverde Nuovo, is a perfect example of the Italians' mix of ... well, just about everything.

As we walked into Tony's this day, the TV was showing the Pope giving an address (I can't recall on what just now). He was framed by two Bar signs: one listed "Happy Hour" (yes, in English - with the picture showing a cup of coffee and a croissant but the wording advertising a buffet and drink), and another listing other tasty items such as sandwiches filled with "Hamburg," along with "Pasta a Peso" - pasta by the weight (1 Euro per etto (about 2.2 ounces) "by Tony".

After snapping this photo, we took our glasses of wine to the side room of this small bar, enjoying a break from the rain showers, when a group of 4 men came in. They were speaking Spanish, ordering and enjoying their beers while they chatted. Then in came a group of mothers with children of various ages, clearly picked up after-school. Gelato was quickly ordered and the children spilled over the tiny tables next to us. And then there was us, trying to get love notes to each other on the TV show by texting into the cell phone #s listed on the screen. The convivial combination of people, ages, classes, languages, media, food, drink... is partly what defines modern Rome.

If you get up to Monteverde Nuovo, and the large street, Circonvallazione Gianicolense, walk just across from the market at Piazza San Giovanni di Dio and try Tony's, reputed for having the best vanilla ice cream (i.e. gelato and flavor/gusto - crema) in the city; sometimes through a window in that side room, you can see them making it.


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