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About a half an hour after checking into the Hotel Solis, we found ourselves walking out of the doors of the hotel for our first walkabout. We were in good hands, for daughter Jen and I were being led by Rome’s biggest fan… my husband Frank.

The three of us were weary, however a few more hours on our feet and then a nice dinner would ensure a good nights rest.

Although it was late November, the air was pleasant and comfortable. Our sweaters and cowls kept us plenty warm.

There were lots of people in the streets with the same idea in mind, an evening of strolling up and down the sidewalks. In Italy, this is known as the ‘Passegata’ or evening walk.

After stepping outside our hotel, we turned right on Via Cavore and walked to the end of the street. From there we had a fine view of the Coliseum which was straight down the street to our left. To the right was the Forum and Trajun’s Market.

We turned right and headed down Via dei Fori Imperiali. We walked till we could get a good view of what what Italians commonly refer to as “The Wedding Cake” or the Altare della Patria.

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According to Wikipedia, in English, this translates into “Altar of the Fatherland” also known as the Monumento Nazionale a Vittorio Emanuele II.

Translated, this means: National Monument to Victor Emmanuel II who was Italy’s first King after Unification.

You see, Italy had quite the struggle trying to get all the states on board to become one country. According to scholars, the struggle began in 1815 and lasted till 1871.

It’s a pretty long and dramatic story, one I hope to become eventually more familiar with.

Nevertheless, this is an enormous white marble Monument, the likes of which I have never seen before. It truly does look like a wedding cake.

I’ve included a picture with this blog post, so judge for yourself!

It was at that point that Frank turned us around and we began heading back along the three blocks that would lead us back to our hotel. Knowing Frank, I knew without a doubt we would be revisiting these sights tomorrow.

Frank and I had to wait four years until we were able to come back to Rome. It was a very long wait for us.

And so, you should be able to understand why I found walking the streets of Rome as the sun was setting all very surreal…. the roar of the Vespas, the car fumes, the loud yet odd sounding ambulances, hearing the Italian language and not English.

I had at last found my bliss…

As we walked through the people, traffic, and alongside the ancient buildings, we began to scout for a restaurant. There were many restaurants. They were all wafting of authentic Italian cuisine, but which one?

Finally, we decided on one that we had frequented four years earlier. It had remained my favourite because of their fried zucchini flowers: zucchini blossoms stuffed with cheese and spices and then lightly fried to perfection. I highly doubted that they would be available because it was after all, late fall. I thought that surely, the zucchini flower would be out of season.

Imagine my pleasant surprise to find that yes… they were on the menu.

And so, on our first of twelve evenings in Italy, we feasted on fried zucchini flowers, arancinos and bruschetta for our first course.

Then for our ‘secondi’, Jen had her first authentic Pizza Margherita, while Frank had veal cutlets. I indulged myself with a feast of tortellini in a pesto sauce.

On the way back to the hotel, Jen got herself some chocolate gelato, while Frank and I contented ourselves with a bottle of Italian white wine.

That night, after being awake for almost two days…

…we were in all in bed by seven p.m.

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