HeartRome

My life and times in the eternal city and beyond

Arrivederci Roma for 2014

It’s hard leaving Rome.

There I said it.

It’s been over three years now and I still get a little sad when it’s time to leave.. Knowing full well that I’ll be back.

I’m also dying to go home!!

Yes, home to Melbourne. To my family. My nephews. My friends. I want to hug my mum and dad and all my family who (other than my beautiful sister) I haven’t seen in almost a year.

Living in two worlds doesn’t get easier. Only an expat will understand what I mean by this.

I am blessed however, to have two homes in the world and be surrounded in both by amazing people and lots of love.

And so as I prepare to fly out today, I reflect on another year in Rome.

There were extreme highs, some blowing lows and some life changing experiences. I’ve discovered, learnt, laughed, loved, cried, danced and now I look back at what has been another massive year for me.

Rome, my friends and my roman life – I miss you already. But Australia awaits.

As I do every year, here is a recap of my 2014 and HeartRome in pictures.

Trying a Mimosa cake for the first time at Mondi bakery in Ponte Milvio. This sponge and cream delight is traditionally eaten around International Women’s Day on 8 March

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Riding the cocktail bar wave in Rome and discovering new bars like Co.So in Pigneto

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Dancing to footloose in the freezing cold for my cousin Vanessa’s 30th birthday video message

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Seeing the famous lock bridge at Ponte Milvio for the first time

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Hosting many a dinner party and making my very first tuna tartare

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Dressing up for Carnevale and parading around the Trevi Fountain

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Witnessing countless protests, strikes, transport shut downs. On a weekly basis! Life in Rome!

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Rocking quite a few concerts in Rome and beyond

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Taking a limousine ride around Rome with a stop at the Colosseum

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Walking around Trastevere with Peeta Planet’s Peyman Al Awadhi shooting their Rome episode

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Trialing the Eating Italy Food Tours‘ new cooking class with Nonna Bruna at my place

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Eating Bigne di San Giuseppe for the first time – the traditional Fathers Day sweet

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Visiting many a church in Rome – even Santa Maria Maggiore – for the first time

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Taking a cooking course in Tuscany

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Shooting on location in my Trastevere with the Peeta Planet crew

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Wine tasting in the Chianti in Tuscany for the #chiantidavivere press trip

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Eating confetti (sugared almonds) in the home of confetti – Sulmona, Abruzzo

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Celebrating Easter in Abruzzo with family and eating lots of canestrelle (traditional sweet ricotta treats)

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Sampling new places in Rome all the time with roman friends – like the doppio schizzo – a flat cornetto pastry topped with fresh chantilly cream and chocolate sauce at local institution, Dar Sorchettaro

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Visiting Bologna for the first time and eating my way around this pretty porticoed city

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Finding family roots with my Australian cousins in our family home town, Prezza in Abruzzo

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Looking out to the river Arno in renaissance Florence

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Enjoying family time with my cousin in Trastevere

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Celebrating another birthday with friends

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Catching a match at the BNL Tennis Internationals

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Drinking beer (even though it’s not my drink of choice!) at the Rome beer festival in Testaccio

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Attending many exhibitions including Roma Ti Amo – showcasing the history of AS Roma (the only team in Rome!)

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Seeing myself and HeartRome on TV for the first time!

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Being announced as one of the Top 100 Travellers to follow on social media in 2014

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Standing out front the Sistina Theatre waiting for the cast of Jesus Christ Superstar to come out so to selfie-stalk!

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Watching an opera and ballet outdoors at the impressively amazing Terme di Caracalla

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Devouring one of the best bacon sandwiches ever on the Eating London food tour

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Having an aperitivo whenever and wherever possible

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Enjoying a picnic with friends in Villa Borghese for Italian national day

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Spending many summer days at the OS Club swimming pool

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Lunching on seafood and visiting Santa Severa beach for the first time

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Exploring the awesome street art that defines London’s east end

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Sipping on a Bellini cocktail with a view in Aventino

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Finally seeing beautiful Sperlonga in Lazio

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Catching a sunset in Formentera, Spain with my little sister

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Having my first beach side calamari fritti for the season at Ostia

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Seeing the Colosseum underground (and above ground) after dark

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Belatedly celebrating my birthday in Rome with my sister at Metamorfosi

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Exploring more of the Lazio coastline and getting to Ponza island

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Feeling as though I was in a scene from La Grande Bellezza (the Academy award winning Great Beauty) going behind the door that holds the keyhole of the Knight of Malta

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Spending quality time with my second family in Gaeta (sans one)

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Roaming Rome with the crazy kids that are my sister and little cousin

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Enjoying many a summer drink and dance with friends at one of Rome’s outdoor clubs like Bosco delle Fragole

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Seeing my name in print (real print and not online!) for USA Today Travel

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Trying out new restaurants in Rome like the delicious Pepper in Pigneto and finding out I could fall even further in love with pork (these are porchetta tortellone)

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Dressing up for Rome’s fashion night of nights – Vogue Fashion Night Out

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Making new friends after a trip to Formentera, Spain and having them mark it with it a special cake on our return

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Strolling the Lungotevere and enjoying the summer program

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Having HeartRome featured in the Rough Guide to Italy as one of the best online sources for Rome!

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Trying Brazilian / Japanese fusion at Temakhino in Monti, Rome

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Attending the Taste Festival for the second year running to sample dishes from Rome’s best chefs

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Celebrating 3 years of my HeartRome blog!

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Visiting Palermo for the first time and absolutely loving it

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Launching HeartRome on Facebook. This little blog now has a social media following of approximately 5000. Love you all!

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Smoking a cigar in Frascati to mark the birth of my beautiful second nephew

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Celebrating a very special hen’s party on Rome River Tracks – a floating aperitivo and live music on the Tevere

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Stuffing my face with porchetta (and red wine!) in Frascati

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Having afternoon tea for the first time at Rome’s historic Caffe Greco

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Spending some quality time with my favorite Adam in the world (of Travels of Adam) in Verona

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Learning how to make traditional Venetian bigoli pasta in Cavriana, Veneto

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Touching Juliet’s bronze breast for love luck in old Verona

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Making beautiful new friends on the #VeronaGarda blogger press trip (love and miss you all and #tiamo Jeff)

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Making tortellini in Valeggio sul Mincio – or node d’amore as they’re known ’round here!

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Thrillseeking at Italy’s biggest theme park, GardaLand

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Meeting Sofie of the blog Wonderful Wanderings in Rimini and then again in Athens. Sometimes it takes only a couple of encounters to find friends for life!

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Gazing up to the wonders of Ancient Rome on any day of the week

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Going back to Athens for TBEX (Travel Bloggers Exchange) 2014 and loving it all over again

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Hosting very Australian tea parties with my ribbon sandwiches, scones and cupcakes

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Experiencing the craziness that is Mucca Assassina club for Halloween

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Going to my first social eating event thanks to Casa Fabri

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Seeing the dance show Stomp with friends at the historic Brancaccio Theatre

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A short trip to the ever magical Venice that I won’t ever forget

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Wining and dining the Rome Food and Wine Festival at Eataly

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Uncovering parts of Rome that I’ve never seen before, like the quartiere Coppedè – the elaborate architectural mix of Art Nouveau, medieval, Baroque and ancient Greek in a tiny district

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Casually bumping into Ben Stiller at dinner during Rome Restaurant Week

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Being interviewed for the Rome episode of Food Paradise on the Travel Channel (USA) about burger culture

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Dressing up as Madonna in the 80s for a special friends’ birthday and having an absolute ball with my gorgeous lady friends

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Hanging my annual Buone Feste (Happy Holidays) sign for my farewell Rome 2014 party

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Happy holidays to all my readers and followers on social media. I love you all and wish you a prosperous and safe 2015.

My love, my life, my Rome.
Until we meet again. Be good!

Signing off from Trastevere (with a heart that feels a little heavy but is singing at the same time)
Baci Maria ❤️

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