I’ll admit that I hadn’t heard of Villa Borghese until I began planning this trip. Similar in scope and size to New York City’s Central Park, Villa Borghese houses a renowned art gallery and stunning views to boot. The park is dotted with cafes and gardens, a perfect place to spend a leisurely afternoon after four hectic days.
Our first stop at Villa Borghese was a small cafe for an early lunch. I got a salami and cheese panini and we ate our sandwiches while we walked, taking in the view between bites.
For a park that began in construction in the 1600s (but wasn’t opened up to the public until 1903), Villa Borghese is impeccably well-preserved. But it’s also seemingly endless, and Melody and I endlessly looped around in search of the lake at Giardino del Lago until we gave up and consulted a map.
We never did find the lake, but we were happy — Villa Borghese was worth the trip to the outskirts of Rome. We were hungry though, so found our way towards the Tridente neighborhood and decided on Life…Ristorante for lunch. The intentionally placed ellipses are part of Life…Ristorante’s name, and and it was with a mixture of amusement and curiosity that we sat down to eat.
I was feeling decadent, so I had the fetuccine with porcini mushrooms and black truffles, with an aperol spritzer on the side. My fetuccine was fresh and perfectly cooked and the truffles weren’t as strongly-flavored as I’d hoped, but satisfying nevertheless. The mushrooms were soft and velvety, a texture I’m unaccustomed to in porcini since they’re usually dried. Melody had the pappardelle with porcini mushrooms and broccoli because she’d caught a cold (that I’d soon catch too) and well, broccoli is a vegetable so naturally that made the huge plate of pasta good for a cold.
After lunch, we spent some time strolling around Tridente and admiring the narrow sidewalks and chic boutiques. Our trip was nearing to an end, and this is where I began to go into a low-grade panic mode that we hadn’t yet sampled enough Roman fare. I stepped into the closest gelateria and bought a Nutella gelato.
We never did make it to Rome’s famed Gelato di San Crispino, but the gelato at Centurion did the trick. By this point it was getting late, and there were few restaurants in the neighborhood where our hotel was located, so we stayed in Tridente and had dinner at Hosteleria di 31.
It was packed inside, with diners practically sitting in each other’s laps, but service was brisk and no-frills. I ordered the pappardelle with wild boar sauce, and Melody had the spaghetti Bolognese.
I’ll be honest. I wasn’t even hungry, but I’d never tried wild boar and curiosity got the best of me. It was richer than beef, and the sauce was doused in flecks of black pepper. I probably would have enjoyed it more had I not just downed a plate of pasta and cone of gelato beforehand, but nevertheless, I was sated.
We declared our stealth eating mission an accomplishment and headed back to our hotel for an early night in. We picked up a bag of tangerines on the way back to fight our colds and settled in for few episodes of Willy il principe di Bel Air.