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
Riding the cocktail bar wave in Rome and discovering new bars like Co.So in Pigneto
Dancing to footloose in the freezing cold for my cousin Vanessa’s 30th birthday video message
Seeing the famous lock bridge at Ponte Milvio for the first time
Hosting many a dinner party and making my very first tuna tartare
Dressing up for Carnevale and parading around the Trevi Fountain
Witnessing countless protests, strikes, transport shut downs. On a weekly basis! Life in Rome!
Rocking quite a few concerts in Rome and beyond
Taking a limousine ride around Rome with a stop at the Colosseum
Walking around Trastevere with Peeta Planet’s Peyman Al Awadhi shooting their Rome episode
Trialing the Eating Italy Food Tours‘ new cooking class with Nonna Bruna at my place
Eating Bigne di San Giuseppe for the first time – the traditional Fathers Day sweet
Visiting many a church in Rome – even Santa Maria Maggiore – for the first time
Taking a cooking course in Tuscany
Shooting on location in my Trastevere with the Peeta Planet crew
Wine tasting in the Chianti in Tuscany for the #chiantidavivere press trip
Eating confetti (sugared almonds) in the home of confetti – Sulmona, Abruzzo
Celebrating Easter in Abruzzo with family and eating lots of canestrelle (traditional sweet ricotta treats)
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
Visiting Bologna for the first time and eating my way around this pretty porticoed city
Finding family roots with my Australian cousins in our family home town, Prezza in Abruzzo
Looking out to the river Arno in renaissance Florence
Enjoying family time with my cousin in Trastevere
Celebrating another birthday with friends
Catching a match at the BNL Tennis Internationals
Drinking beer (even though it’s not my drink of choice!) at the Rome beer festival in Testaccio
Attending many exhibitions including Roma Ti Amo – showcasing the history of AS Roma (the only team in Rome!)
Seeing myself and HeartRome on TV for the first time!
Being announced as one of the Top 100 Travellers to follow on social media in 2014
Standing out front the Sistina Theatre waiting for the cast of Jesus Christ Superstar to come out so to selfie-stalk!
Watching an opera and ballet outdoors at the impressively amazing Terme di Caracalla
Devouring one of the best bacon sandwiches ever on the Eating London food tour
Having an aperitivo whenever and wherever possible
Enjoying a picnic with friends in Villa Borghese for Italian national day
Spending many summer days at the OS Club swimming pool
Lunching on seafood and visiting Santa Severa beach for the first time
Exploring the awesome street art that defines London’s east end
Sipping on a Bellini cocktail with a view in Aventino
Finally seeing beautiful Sperlonga in Lazio
Catching a sunset in Formentera, Spain with my little sister
Having my first beach side calamari fritti for the season at Ostia
Seeing the Colosseum underground (and above ground) after dark
Belatedly celebrating my birthday in Rome with my sister at Metamorfosi
Exploring more of the Lazio coastline and getting to Ponza island
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
Spending quality time with my second family in Gaeta (sans one)
Roaming Rome with the crazy kids that are my sister and little cousin
Enjoying many a summer drink and dance with friends at one of Rome’s outdoor clubs like Bosco delle Fragole
Seeing my name in print (real print and not online!) for USA Today Travel
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)
Dressing up for Rome’s fashion night of nights – Vogue Fashion Night Out
Making new friends after a trip to Formentera, Spain and having them mark it with it a special cake on our return
Strolling the Lungotevere and enjoying the summer program
Having HeartRome featured in the Rough Guide to Italy as one of the best online sources for Rome!
Trying Brazilian / Japanese fusion at Temakhino in Monti, Rome
Attending the Taste Festival for the second year running to sample dishes from Rome’s best chefs
Celebrating 3 years of my HeartRome blog!
Visiting Palermo for the first time and absolutely loving it
Launching HeartRome on Facebook. This little blog now has a social media following of approximately 5000. Love you all!
Smoking a cigar in Frascati to mark the birth of my beautiful second nephew
Celebrating a very special hen’s party on Rome River Tracks – a floating aperitivo and live music on the Tevere
Stuffing my face with porchetta (and red wine!) in Frascati
Having afternoon tea for the first time at Rome’s historic Caffe Greco
Spending some quality time with my favorite Adam in the world (of Travels of Adam) in Verona
Learning how to make traditional Venetian bigoli pasta in Cavriana, Veneto
Touching Juliet’s bronze breast for love luck in old Verona
Making beautiful new friends on the #VeronaGarda blogger press trip (love and miss you all and #tiamo Jeff)
Making tortellini in Valeggio sul Mincio – or node d’amore as they’re known ’round here!
Thrillseeking at Italy’s biggest theme park, GardaLand
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!
Gazing up to the wonders of Ancient Rome on any day of the week
Going back to Athens for TBEX (Travel Bloggers Exchange) 2014 and loving it all over again
Hosting very Australian tea parties with my ribbon sandwiches, scones and cupcakes
Experiencing the craziness that is Mucca Assassina club for Halloween
Going to my first social eating event thanks to Casa Fabri
Seeing the dance show Stomp with friends at the historic Brancaccio Theatre
A short trip to the ever magical Venice that I won’t ever forget
Wining and dining the Rome Food and Wine Festival at Eataly
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
Casually bumping into Ben Stiller at dinner during Rome Restaurant Week
Being interviewed for the Rome episode of Food Paradise on the Travel Channel (USA) about burger culture
Dressing up as Madonna in the 80s for a special friends’ birthday and having an absolute ball with my gorgeous lady friends
Hanging my annual Buone Feste (Happy Holidays) sign for my farewell Rome 2014 party
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 ❤️