A Quiet Day of Recovery

Our time in Rome finally came to an exhausting close. Some things were hit, and many were missed, but that is the nature of travel. We can’t always do all of the things we would like as well as we would like. It is an ongoing series of choices and compromises out of which we hope to take the best balance of experiences and memories. Thus we turned our paths north toward our arrival and departure city: Milano.

The train ride north was smooth and uneventful, even if it did arrive 16 minutes late. We collected G’s bag in the train station and contacted the woman from whom we are renting the apartment. She met us at the door at the end of another taxi ride. Reportedly this was also harrowing, although I remain unaffected. The kind woman renting the apartment guided us upstairs and showed us around. It is a metro stop from the center of town, in a very residential area. By this time is was ~1:30, so I left G to rest and hurried to the duomo to find lunch.

Near the duomo I found Luini’s Panzerotti. These are most similar to small calzone. There were two long lines at Luini’s, and I bought us each a baked tomato and cheese panzerotti, as well as a fried salami and cheese panzerotti to share. They were extraordinary. The dough was light. The tomato was delicate but present, and nicely balanced the cheese. We were both ravenous and devoured them with frightening speed.

The sun was moving faster through its arc and many sights would be closing, so we chose the museum at La Scala, the famous opera house. It is reportedly small, so we would be able to see it on a tight schedule.

This was an outstanding choice. The museum was … well … OK. There were pleny of pictures of dead performers from past years, but they really meant nothing to me. There were costumes from past shows, and even old musical instruments that took me back to the Hofburg – interesting but not compelling

What was great about this – What really made this experience for me was being able to enter the theater (this isn’t always possible) and look out from one of the boxes. The moment was but an interlude in a quiet day yet it was absolutely wonderful. I have seen this opera house so many times in so many photos and movies, but nothing can match the experience of standing in one of the boxes and gazing out across the theater. It is burned into my cultural consciousness, and now I have a little place in it. It gave me chills.

We paused then for some shopping in the museum store and only after that returned to the streets. Days are a little cooler here now, and it was 5 pm, so the sun was cooler. We shopped for a time, and I finally got a local SIM card for the phone (I must pass that on to F before she comes to Italy next week).

We dropped our things back at the flat and headed out to find dinner. I had identified a target restaurant that featured Milanese food. We had searched unsuccessfully for this place a few nights ago, but now I had a better map. No luck was to be had, but tonight I had an advantage. I had searched ahead for backup options, and when the outcome of this foray became clear I redirected to La Fettunta. It had good reviews on Trip Advisor. Not the best reviews, but the word “local” kept coming up.

And it was very local. It is apparently Tuscan, rather than Lombard, but dinner was delicious. I believe we were the only non-Italian speakers there, and it was packed. By the time we left people were waiting outside to get in.

They gave us bruschetta when we got there. It was soggy and disappointing, but things got markedly better after that.

There was my most very delicious risotto.

There was my outstanding vitello tonnato. I’ve had this before elsewhere – cold veal with a tuna-mayonnaise sauce. G really was surprised by it and liked it.

And finally dinner ended with a pine nut torte.

Today was a relatively quiet day. Rome had been overwhelmingly busy and hot. We really needed to do less for a little while. Mission accomplished!

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