Reacquainting with Rome

We just returned from 10 days in Rome. Although we lived there for many years, this city will never lose its appeal. Where else is it necessary to stop every 50 yards to admire an ancient building, a provocative statue, a scene from “La Dolce Vita”, a painting glimpsed through a window, a dramatically modern restaurant or any other of the myriad views that the city nonchalantly offers, as if observing 2500 years of civilisation is “normale”?

What other place on this globe has given so much culture, art and engineering to the world, not just once, with Ancient Rome, but twice, with Renaissance Rome too? Nothing can match the greatness that Rome has given to the world. Add a glorious climate, great food, wonderful wines, stupendous music, the warmth of the people, and Rome’s charms far exceed its drawbacks.

Of course there is a price to pay for all of this. There is so much history and architecture to preserve, that no city or even a country could possibly afford to maintain it all in pristine condition, let alone one managed like Rome and Italy are managed. So dilapidated monuments are everywhere, laughable “lawns” abound in the parks, and the traffic strives mightily to reach the heights attained by Naples’ inhabitants, but happily never quite attains that level of insanity. The governmental administration at various levels is questionable, and not averse to corruption.

The people, being naturally resistant to rules and regulation, are not averse to surviving in chaos. Within limits, this too becomes a perverse attraction as one thanks God that this unique gem is not run like Singapore or Zurich, but remains a vibrant and living museum to our shared human civilisation.

There is limited prospect that Italy will be “Great” again. These people were “Great” longer than any other civilisation. They’ve learned that being “Great” is not all it’s cut out to be, that there are more useful, pleasant and productive things to do than being “Great”. Just being in Rome is one of them.


Upcoming Events in Sermoneta, Italy

See more of Sermoneta

Welcome to Sermoneta.

A perfect medieval Italian village, Sermoneta is about an hour drive south of Rome, with a wealth of touring possibilities within and surrounding the city.

Sermoneta is a rare, largely unchanged hilltop village, with the fortress of the Castello Caetani (Caetani Castle) looming over its preserved beauty.  Set in the Lepino Mountain Range, stunning views overlook the vast countryside and out to the sea.

While the village itself is worth the visit, with cobblestone alleys, historical intrigue, and not to mention the serene Italian way of living, there are also plenty of events and sights to see that showcase Sermoneta’s vibrance. Here are some of the upcoming events you should plan for in 2016:

Gardens of Ninfa
Starting with the enchanting Gardens of Ninfa. The magical gardens are listed #1 things to do in the Latina region on Tripadvisor – certainly not to miss if you can catch a visiting date. These romantic gardens have been preserved around restored ruins, with a uniquely perfect climate allowing the gardens to flourish. To preserve the delicate nature of the gardens, there has historically been very limited openings to visitors. This year, more open days are available than in the past, giving visitors a chance to see one of the most beautiful gardens of Italy. Plan your trip – see all 2016 Gardens of Ninfa dates.

Love music? Several summer festivals showcase Sermoneta’s vibrance, like Maggio Sermonetano – a series of concerts and events in the streets of Sermoneta, or Festival di Chitarra “Caroso” – an international guitar festival in August.

Of course, there’s always room to celebrate wine and food! See all these exciting events below –

Sermoneta tower MAGGIO SERMONETANO (MAY SERMONETA)

Music and art fill the streets and squares of Sermoneta during Maggio Sermonetano (May Sermoneta). Enjoy free events of several musical genres, from popular music, jazz, classical to workshops, poetry, cinema, and more.
SEE MORE: MAGGIO SERMONETANO

 Sermoneta Caetani Castle

 

FESTIVAL DI PONTINO DI MUSICA

In June and July, the International Campus Foundation of Music organizes concerts of classical music, chamber music, and contemporary in the beautiful setting of Castello Caetani.
SEE MORE: PONTINO MUSIC FESTIVAL

Chitarra FESTIVAL DI CHITARRA “CAROSO”

In August, authors and performers from around the world celebrate the world of Guitar, with plenty of performances around Sermoneta.
SEE MORE: GUITAR FESTIVAL

 Wine SKYWINE FESTIVAL

A local cultural event at the end of August, the SkyWine Festival showcases the regional food and wine, as well as art, for a total cultural immersion.
SEE MORE: SKYWINE FESTIVAL

 Olives SECOLARE FIERA DI SAN MICHELE
At the end of September, experience a traditional fair exhibiting local specialties, from organic products, food stands, wine, as well as musical entertainment, shows, seminars and farm education.
SEE MORE: SAN MICHELE FAIR
 Gardens of Ninfa LIFE DRAWING AND FRESCO PAINTING CLASS
NEW! A unique opportunity to learn history, ancient techniques of life drawing or fresco painting in the Gardens of Ninfa, under the guidance of professors from the Academy of Fine Arts of Rome.
SEE MORE: ART IN SERMONETA


Of course, a holiday in Sermoneta wouldn’t be complete without an equally beautiful place to stay –
Domus Doull

Sermoneta Review

BOOK YOUR SERMONETA HOLIDAY 


An Embrace with Culture From a Vacation Rental

Rome keyholeWhen you search for places to stay in Rome, Paris, or wherever your desired travel plans take you, a slew of choices appear: from hotels, hostels, convents (believe it or not), apartments, B&B’s, free couches, and of course, vacation rentals. Surely, personal preferences will rule out many options quickly, but the choices can be overwhelming,  What begins as an eager attempt to plan a fun vacation, can quickly become a daunting and tiresome task- making your eyes blur and your head ache. Talk about information overload! Going with the safe choice for fear of exploring new options can make you miss out on a magical experience. I’m happy to share with you my first experience in a vacation rental and how I saw my future vacation choices changed forever.

Before I became a member of the Commendable Rentals Team, my introduction into the world of vacation rentals came when planning my first trip to Rome.  Beginning with my usual routine to search for a place to stay, something caught my eye as I scrolled the pages for Rome lodging. Renting an apartment instead of a hotel both intrigued and inspired me. I had always wanted to stay in a foreign country as more than just a tourist in a hotel. I wanted to embrace the culture of the Eternal City, not just seeing the sights, but living the culture, like a local. I wanted to hear the locals speaking (ah, lovely Italian!) and interacting in their daily lives, not only through commercial transactions. The idea that I could rent a house or apartment from a local and pretend it was my home was immensely appealing. And actually, it did become my home- at least for the extent of my stay, and always in my fond memories.

Living Room

The beauty of staying in a vacation rental is that it already has the feel of home. Here at Commendable Rentals, we pride ourselves on selecting homes with character, just like the one I rented. From the unique decorative details to the charming authenticity of the buildings, each special vacation home brings the comfort and familiarity of “home” while resonating the local vibe of each destination. For those historically-inclined, especially in Rome, you can often discover interesting stories about the history of the residence. A building’s architecture can be aesthetically pleasing, but the architect, design, and background of a home (and its owners) might bring new life to your stay. Like in a good story, immersing yourself in the setting and gaining a sense of living the adventure elevates the experience.

Vacation Rental KitchenA unique memory I acquired while staying in a vacation home can be attributed the full kitchen. While I did my fair share of eating out, I loved browsing the local Roman fruit and vegetable markets. The large Testaccio Market (where our partnered Expert Roman Food Guide takes her market tours) has such an expanse of regional delectables, I couldn’t resist buying fresh market items to bring home. Even something so simple as washing a snack of fresh tomatoes (so delicious in Rome. Pairing them with the fresh mozzarella, even better!) or creating Italian-inspired meals, the convenience of the kitchen’s refrigerator, appliances, dishes, and real utensils made me feel like I was in my own kitchen.

moka-potI was also able to learn something new in my vacation rental kitchen that gave me the feeling of being Italian, and very proud of myself! When I wasn’t indulging in a coffee break and people-watching at the quaint sidewalk cafes, I was able to privately experiment with different freshly ground coffee beans that I picked up from an Italian specialty store. I attempted making “perfect” cup of espresso using an Italian coffee percolator stocked in the home. As I had been told, though the process is simple enough, the grounds, packing, timing, and pour all contribute to a good espresso.  Coffee aficionados or those that frequent Europe may not see this as a novel experience, but it was something that this budding traveler appreciated doing in coffee-cultured Italy. Among memories of the Colosseum, the vast halls of art at the Vatican museum, the rustic cobblestoned alleys, I still remember quietly enjoying the espresso I poured fresh from the percolator into the cutest blue espresso cup, and sipping it on my balcony overlooking the Roman streets.

Whether a short or long term stay, a vacation rental can offer originality to your vacation that other places cannot. I loved the apprehension and courage greeting Italian neighbours in the elevators with ‘Buongiorno’, and learning informal ways to say good evening. I was able to learn where people buy their newspapers, what they buy at the grocery store, and how they throw their trash (Rome has quite an emphasis on recycling); the things that seem insignificant but are part of the local culture someone would not experience in a place that caters to tourist traditions.

The vacation rental experience is not for everyone, however, it should be a consideration for anyone. For travelers like me looking to experience something beyond a typical hotel stay, the vacation rental option provided an extra layer of intrigue to my travels. On top of that, for someone that is just curious about how people in different places live, this also gave me a chance to peek inside the world of a local’s life…and for that short while, I lived that life, and loved it.

Alley


Made In Italy: Shopping in Rome

 

While it is a treat to shop in Rome, it is not desirable nor worth your limited time filtering through the hundreds of stores searching for the best items. As we’ve all experienced, shopping in an unfamiliar place can be exhausting.

We’re sharing with you a simple, yet unbeatable tip for finding the best shopping spots in Rome. What better way to shop like an Italian fashion expert, than shopping with an Italian fashion expert. Before you discount this as an obvious tip, who will guide you and how to snag a slot in their date book can make the greatest difference between a frustrated or fulfilling shopping experience. First, let’s talk Italian shopping..

MADE IN ITALY: These coveted labels are synonymous with high-end quality items crafted with superior artisanship. You know the names (think: Gucci, Prada, Ferrari), and some you know by celebrity debut. Italian craftmanship is often linked to trades and traditions passed down through generations. The skills adapted to create quality items are what elevate these items to luxury standard.


Shopping in Rome for the high quality latest trends can be daunting if you’re not from the area. Most shoppers will head straight to those beautiful wide window displays near the Spanish Steps. This is a great start, where you can find rows of Roman streets filled with endless shopping possibilities. And to think, this is just one neighborhood amongst many. If you’re looking to bring home a worthy bounty, and maybe a one-of-a-kind item or two, shopping smart is the key.

We like to take a savvy shopping partner with us when trying out the latest trends. When your shopping partner is a well established Italian fashion journalist, you’ll get more than a nod of approval. Journalist for L’Espresso, l’Officiel and Vogue Italia, Eleonora Attolico will no doubt heighten your experience shopping in Rome.

Meet your Expert:
Eleonora Attolico

The daughter of Count Giacomo Attolico (former Ambassador in Paris and London), a member of the Roman social-set, an established fashion expert and journalist, Eleonora offers an elevated insider’s approach to Roman life. 

Eleonora is fluent in Italian, English, French, and Spanish. 

Photo credit: Michele Acampora

Whether you’re looking for women’s, men’s, accessories, or anything you can shop for, your Grand Tour Shopping is customized to your desires. Eleonora revels in the personal experience that can be shared during your time together. She has mastered the "art of shopping" and provides an unmatched knowledge of Rome, fashion, and Italian lifestyle. Mark you calendar for a shopping date!



For more information or to reserve, email us: info@commendablerentals.com

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Discover The Tasty Side of Rome with Maureen Fant

 

There’s Italian food, and there’s Italian food. One of the best things you can do in Rome is eat like a real Roman – from buying fresh ingredients (not just a trip to the supermarket), knowing what’s in season and where and how to buy it, to cooking and of course, eating in an Italian kitchen.

That’s why we were really excited to meet Maureen Fant. Not only can you follow Maureen, a Roman local for over 35 years, to the best markets and shops for all the best ingredients from artichokes to pecorino cheese, she leads you on a fantastic journey from grocery bags to the delicious finale.

Maureen’s love of Rome began with her studies in Roman classical archeology and flourished into writing, lectures, and living the life of a Roman. With a love of Italian food, Maureen’s archaeological beginnings morphed together with an emphasis on food, making her a wonderful source of information on Roman food and Rome itself.

You won’t just be eating in any Italian kitchen; Maureen is a notable food writer, especially of Roman cuisine, with fantastic knowledge and experience, and a passion to share the story of food.

Starting with a casual walk around Rome’s dynamic markets, Maureen will offer tidbits on local produce and offerings and help you discover all you wanted to know about Roman food. 

Maureen’s love of Roman food and cooking offers a chance to really tantalize your tastebuds and learn what Roman food is all about.



In a very special,offer, we are pleased to share that a Private Food Tour with Maureen can now be reserved by guests who book with Commendable Rentals. Delight your senses, discover Rome, gain tips from an expert insider who can truly share what you never knew about Roman food. 

Casual, yet informative, Maureen is all about taking you on an inside peek of what a typical (and yet so fantastically Italian) day of preparing a genuine Roman meal with her entails. With no set menu, Maureen will guide the day based on seasonal offerings, suggestions, and special attention to your interests and discovery of new food. Get to know Rome, through food!

AND NOW EVEN BETTER..

We’d like everyone to come away from a day with Maureen with even more than tasty memories. We have a limited time offer those guests who book a Rome rental together with one of Maureen’s incredible food tours through Commendable Rentals, a FREE copy of her book as a memento!

Co-author Maureen Fant’s new book, Sauces & Shapes: Pasta the Italian Way, is a must-have guide to genuine Italian sauces and the very important harmony of complementing pasta. This is a 35 euro value that you’ll not only enjoy, but can use for years to come!

Discover the tasty side of Rome with Maureen! 

Ask us about booking a tasty tour today!

 

 

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