13 hours plus and very European car ride later, we arrived in Rome!
A small muck up with Airbnb check in times and a language barrier laden sim card purchase with some friendly Italian girls and we had a roof over our heads and a data plan. My Dad’s cousin Grazia came and picked us up after we got settled, and we headed out for the obvious first stop when you get to Italy, a veritable mountain of food.
A small, bright restaurant frequented by locals was a perfect stop for our first meal. Mortadella, salami, prosciutto, boccaccio, finnichio, melanzana, and cabbage, with a side of di pane delizioso was our first course, served by the friendly proprietor of Ristorante da Gabriele. Not that any of us needed it, but this was followed by a plate full of rigatoni amatriciana and cacio e pepe, a pleasant surprise as a good friend had spent weeks telling me to eat as much cacio e pepe as I could get my hands on.
The table was lively as we ate and drank (did I mention there was also vino rosso?) and discussed Italian dialects and history, something we decided our in-house translator would need to brush up on.
Moments after getting in the car I could feel the carbs and jet lag catching up with me. I passed out quickly on a surprisingly comfortable single bed, some much needed rest before our first full day of adventure begins with a trip to my father’s birthplace, Piano Vomano.