I will be doing this report in fits and spurts, as I want to get it going, but don't have big blocks of time available.
Our first night in Rome, we were exhausted from the long trip and flight delays. We let our innkeeper lead us by the hand (literally), a block or two away to a small, homey place that he recommended, Trattoria ai Villini at Via Marcantonio, 48. This is a basic, family-run spot, with minimal decor, and inviting aromas. Everyone else who entered was greeted with cries of recognition, kisses and hugs. We were not among tourists.
We ordered simply, and minimally, starting with a prosciutto and mozzarella antipasto. Mr. Nightshade had the Rigatoni alla Carbonara, I had the Tonarelli alla Grica. Mr. NS, who is a dab hand at Carbonara, declared this better than his own, but couldn't say why. I think the ingredients are all just a notch above what we can get, and that is what makes the difference. Both dishes were very good, and the vino rosso della casa was more than drinkable. Our dinner, with wine, was just under 30€. We hadn't yet gotten into the swing of multi-course Italian dinners, and we were nearly ready for bed.
Except we needed to stop for gelato. On our way home was Gelateria dei Gracchi, which was well worth our sleepy stop. Between the two of us, we enjoyed the chocolate, the hazelnut, and the pistachio flavors that night. At the end of our trip, after trying a few different gelati in Rome and Florence, this spot remained my favorite. Excellent rich flavors and perfect texture.
More to come...