2019 Leads to La Traviata in Rome


Nearly Full Moon

Moon over Rome, Piazza Della Repubblica

Piazza della Repubblica is a semi-circular piazza in Rome, at the summit of the Viminal Hill, next to the Termini station. On it is to be found Santa Maria degli Angeli e dei Martiri. It is served by the Repubblica – Teatro dell’OperaMetro station. From the square starts one of the main streets of Rome, Via Nazionale

Happy New Year! I share my thoughts and invite you to give it a go.

This year, rather than command myself with stale obligations that likely already shout ‘should’ or carry the undercurrent of ‘lack’, I vow to myself to do one thing, never before experienced, each month this year – 2019. Not important what, when, where, how or why. To cite a well-worn cliché, I will “Just Do It. Success is automatic.

In this warp-speed technological age of ‘plugged in,’ I have discovered that I must monitor my tendency toward ‘auto-pilot’, the survival mechanism which, in a steady state of being overwhelmed, is fueled for prime form. Even if I walk to work a different route, select food items off my habitual list of bananas, oranges, feta, beets etc., choose a new vendor at the market, travel on a new tram, or wait to the last day of the month to DO IT !, I am a winner. I have created. I have decided to and begun to follow a path of self-satisfaction and self-appreciation for crafting my attentions toward what I desire. I learn to focus fun into the everyday mix of activities. I open with a blank canvas this January 2019, and I seek moments of excellence.

Receive a random hotel offer: choose to fly to Rome, enjoy opera, dinner, spa, work in a change of air, and return home. January: mission accomplished. Excellent!

credit Romanico Palace

Credit: Romanico Palace Hotel, Exterior

The Romanico Palace Hotel situated at Via Bon Compagni 37 is an unassuming, understated and elegant good value hotel in the heart of Rome. The authentically historically classic interior enriches the feeling of attentive yet unobtrusive services. The quiet freedom of home comfort paired with the convenience of amenities such as gym, spa, restaurant, concierge services. It offers promotional guest packages and selections of personal sightseeing and shopping tour arrangements. A short walk brings a breath of garden air at Villa Borghese and gardens with nearly 200 acres of public park. It is Rome’s third largest public park.

The quiet authenticity infuses the feeling of elegance into one’s work: easy and comfortable, better than ‘work from home’. The staff are not overly present with queries, yet they are present for assistance. They are service-oriented, clearly interested in client experience and delightfully patient. Many aided my progress and laughed with me as I dared to practise Italian.

Authentically historical interiors, Romanico Palace Hotel

The restaurant on the seventh floor naturally breathes romance. The open setting with panoramic views of the city also invites selective outdoor seating on the terrace, offering stupendous views in fresh air. The daily buffet breakfast, American/Continental depending on your reservation package, may be 15€ at most. Dinner is served nightly from 7:00 to 10:00. I have eaten at this restaurant where the spaghetti pomodoro beyond satisfied, and the memorable creamy, savory, luxurious vegetarian lasagna tickled my fancy.

Luxurious Baroque Immersion

Credit: Romanico Palace Hotel,  Seventh Floor Breakfast and Dinner Restaurant Exposes Resplendent Romantic Rooftop Views and Beyond

I recall photographing a young couple who to me embodied European film-quality romance – then, at a glance, to my surprise, each was occupied on his or her respective cellular phone! No comment. My film. Beauty in the eye and story in the imagination of the beholder!

As the hotel restaurant was closed for renovations this weekend, the staff recommended and reserved for me a table at Ristorante La Lampada just around the corner. It appeared to be serving many people who were well-known clientele. I enjoyed its “fresh authentic roman culinary tradition and the best ‘zuppa di minestroni’ of my life! The pleasant (and again patient) staff provided me with biscotti to go. It looked like the sort of biscotti my former boss used to bring to work on Fridays. Later on, friends explained that it was a special sort of biscotto served to accompany an after-dinner wine called vin santo, which is served in a small glass similar to a digestive liquor (not in the cocktail glass wear pictured below).

 Cocktail Glass Wear

Traditional Cocktail Glass Wear

I am learning that Italian eating tradition can be very rigid. A friend once told me, “I did not know how Italian I was until I left Italy!” I seem frequently to break the rules. For example, cappuccino is recommended only before 10:00 in the morning. I typically extend my permission to 11:00. Yet clearly it is not an afternoon drink for Italians.

Classic Caffé Era

This is Not Nespresso

Ristoranti La Lampada at Via Quintino Sella, 25, is open for lunch (la pranza), then closes at 3:00 and reopens at 6:00 for dinner (la cena).  Reservations are possible by website or telephone. “Fall in love with Rome and let yourself be conquered by its cuisine.”

Continuing Sensory Pleasures and Health Care

Steam baths improve circulation throughout the body which leaves the skin healthy and glowing. They encourage the body to look good  and feel great. The heat from the steam (or sauna) relieves tension, soothing nerve endings and relaxing muscles. The heat causes toxins to be released from the body.

Spa Amenity Hot Cleansing Steambath

Credit: Romanico Palace Hotel,  Health The Turkish Bath / Steambath

I have found 3 hours in the spa takes 20 years off my face and leaves me feeling ready for everything! If only… every day!

The spa ROMAMOR at the Romanico Palace hotel, as stated in publicity, truly is “a real oasis of relaxation for the mind and the body.” The atmosphere is low-key, private, non-commercial. The ambiance is that of the ancient Roman thermal baths constructed of earth-tone limestone floor and ceramic tile. It beckons a connection with history. Highly recommended for honeymooners, leisure travellers and wellness-addicted, such as myself. With no interventions, such as facial or massage, my rounds are steam, bath, sauna and again and again and again for two hours, then an hour lie-in at the relax lounge where an angel overlooked as the misting essential essences and divine music drifts. And speaking of music…

Il Teatro Dell’Opera Di Roma

Exterior, Il Teatro Dell'Opera Di Roma

Il Teatro Dell’Opera Di Roma

La Traviata

La Traviata is an oft-performed opera in three acts by Giuseppe Verdi (1853). It is set to an Italian libretto by Francesco Maria Piave. This is my first opera experience in Rome and already I am smitten. I am in love – with Rome, with this opera, and with Italy. Apparently, I am easily conquered.

Classic Refinement of Theater

Il Teatro Dell’Opera Di Roma

The Performance of La Traviata is the version directed by Sofia Coppola, for which Valentino designed the costumes. The sets were designed by Nathan Crowley, the production designer of Batman. The reviews are mixed, usual in any serious work of art. I simply like to feel my way through the performance. While I have opinions, I am inexperienced and largely non-critical.  For the fashionistas, yes, the costumes were exquisite, and the cast stunning. Francesca Dotto played Violetta, and Antonio Poli played Alfredo.

Photo opportunity for opera enthusiasts

Opera theater guests

The refinement and gracefulness of the theater was calming and equally stimulating. I found the talented diversity in the cast and the cultivated air of interest in the audience to be compelling and delightful.

Preparing Before Opening

Orchestra Members Preparing

My appreciation for human voice performance and musical talent is growing still as the excellence and elegance of music calls me to continue to learn more.

Beauty of Precision

Precision Instrument Ready to Perform

I made an ebullient decision, and it resulted in easy success. Beauty nourishes the mind and spirit as food refuels the body. Excellent!

Enjoy infinite pleasant moments this year.