Italians are proud of their cuisine and highly cherish it. That’s also the case with Barbara, a beautiful lady living in Rome, a chef and a born entertainer with entrepreneurial spirit. We met when I was looking for somebody to show me and others how to cook Italian meals and to experience the real atmosphere of an Italian family dinner. It started with an email exchange and today Barbara calls me “her Czech daughter”.
As a relatively new student in the Eternal city, I didn’t have many friends and the few I had were mostly other international students. So I appreciated any opportunity to meet locals, real Romans, just like Barbara and her family. When her first text came Don’t you want to come for a dinner tonight? I’ll have a lot of friends here! I didn’t hesitate and confirmed my attendance, without having an idea what a dinner at Barbara’s place would be like.
Already the location of her apartment speaks for itself. Barbara lives in the oldest Roman quarter Trastevere, which is famous for its tiny streets, outstanding restaurants, lively bars and picturesque little squares, where locals just hang around at night and chat. One of the tiny streets led me to Barbara’s door. An elegant lady with a bright smile opened the door. Welcome to my home! You’re the first one to come, at least we can talk in private!
Right from the beginning I was sure that Barbara is exactly the person I’ve been looking for. She speaks perfect English, is a real passionate Italian and her life mission is to meet people from all over the world and show them how to cook, eat and live in Rome. You’ll have so much fun today! My friends from America are supposed to come, and then there will be also my daughter Federica, my son Nicolo and you’ll meet even my niece Margherita and a great friend of mine Rossella from Milano. If you want, you can join us tomorrow too, we’re going to the city market to do some shopping!
And she was so right about how much fun we had! In a few minutes, her friends started coming in and chatted freely with me as well, as if they knew me for ages. A glass of wine couldn’t be missing. When I met Federica, Barbara’s daughter, I was happy to have found a close friend to talk to and to rely on.
[su_spacer] Barbara chased us all to the dining table, where she gradually served two types of pasta, a meat platter, which I didn’t try (I’m vegetarian), and then a mouthwatering salad with pine nuts. We were around ten people sitting at the table, drinking, slowly eating and chatting the night away. Later, an ice cream dessert came around, with coffee and a traditional Italian liquor limoncelo.
Once we’ll climb the dome of St. Peter’s Basilica! we promised to each other with Federica before we said goodbye after one of the most delicious dinners of my student life.
I ended up seeing Federica and Barbara several times throughout my stay. We went shopping to a market, to a bar for a glass of wine and we even climbed the stairs up to the dome of St. Peter’s Basilica in Vatican.
[su_spacer] You’re always welcome at my home and I want you to know that in Rome you have your second mum and a sister, Barbara told me when saying goodbye when my half a year stay in the Eternal City neared its end. She gave me a beautiful pendant as a memory and I promised to come back in return.
When I look back, I realize that the whole story started by an invitation for a dinner. The passion of Italians for good food and drinks is comparable to the Czech love of beer. Now I know that the delicious flavors of Italy get yet another dimension thanks to the friendly atmosphere and great people around. If you really want to understand the culture of Italy and Rome, you have to go to locals’ homes. Not to be tourists, but become friends. To travel with love.
Stop at Barbara’s home for a delicious dinner and meet real Romans with Travelove.