Roma, Italia

One of the oldest cities in the world, with a history spanning more than two and a half thousand years, I never imagined I would be spending my 20th birthday here!

As my birthday falls on the 5th of August, Rome was in one of its largest heat waves it had experienced in 50 years! Accompanied by my two closest travel companions, we had rented an apartmento for a week up in the north-eastern corner of the city near the Villa Borghese.

I had studied the city of Rome intensely over the previous years at school, so I knew intimately the individual history of many of my favourite sights and monuments. Needless to say I was overwhelmed with excitement at my chance to finally view some of these wonders and I dragged my friends to as many as they could stand to see.

When we weren’t recovering from heat exhaustion or becoming dwarfed under the cities grand pillars we were hunting for Roma’s great food, coffee and produce. On the evening of my 20th birthday my friends and I bought some vino and Frangelico from a local enoteca and we feasted on a pasta-filled, apartment-cooked degustation – laughing and drinking into the wee hours of the morning. I can still remember the burnt umber sun rising over the ocher-coloured apartments of Rome as we finally tired and put our festivities to rest.

The next day we continued the merriment and dined at a restaurant that had caught our attention several times… Gusto! It was a 3 storey apartment type building with high glass panels and rich dark timber tables. There are many different facets to Gusto which is what makes it such an amazing place to visit. It has a Formaggeria, Caffe, Wine Bar, Pizzeria, Emporio, Ristorante, Rotisserie and more. We ate outside under the high-pillared walkway, and my dish consisted of squid ink butterfly-pasta with lobster, organic local herbs and vegetables, paired with their local wine of course!

If you are thinking about going to Rome, don’t just think about it, do it! It is busy, it is packed full of people and buildings but it has a magical feel about it that is enhanced by the city’s local inhabitants, its age, gastronomy and unique beauty.

I will never forget Roma!

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