Mother Martha's Writings

The following insights are cooking secrets gleaned from Inside The Vatican's favorite Italian culinary expert.

Food For Thought

entrata cafe-greco

With a double article about the history of books in this issue’s “Of Books, Art, and People,” what more appropriate time to suggest a visit to Rome’s Caffè Greco! Here for more than 200 years the great minds of art, literature, and music have been meeting around its tiny, marble-topped tables. The café was opened […]

Share Button

Food For Thought

semplice-ma-di-qualita

During the Middle Ages, Campo de’ Fiori (“Field of Flowers”), today Rome’s oldest open-air fruit-and-vegetable market, was the commercial and touristic center of the city as well as the site of public executions. The most notorious was that of the Dominican poet, philosopher, mathematician and astrologer Giordano Bruno, burned at the stake in 1600. Bruno’s […]

Share Button

Food For Thought

antipasti 20

We all know that “Rome wasn’t built in a day.” Indeed, Rome is a layer-cake of history built on seven hills, and it is appropriately nicknamed “The Eternal City” because visitors can see monuments and art from almost every period of her c. 2,700-year history: Ancient Greek, Republican Rome, Imperial Rome, Medieval (if not so […]

Share Button

Food For Thought

febr 013

When I first arrived in Rome in 1972 as a young bride, there were no ethnic restaurants except French “Charlie’s Saucerie” between the Colosseum and St. John Lateran, Japanese “Hamasei” near Piazza di Spagna, and the “Cantina Tirolese” near St. Peter’s, a favorite with Cardinal Ratzinger before he was elected Pope. All three are still […]

Share Button

Food For Thought

Salerno Roll_ME GEISHA

At the time of this writing, a month after its opening, “Me Geisha,” founded by Italian-American businessman Giuseppe Tuosto two years after his successful restaurant with the same name at Via Roma 59 in Salerno, is probably still Rome’s newest restaurant. Just off Corso Vittorio Emanuele II, next door to the Chiesa Nuova, 500 meters […]

Share Button

Food For Thought

febr 013

Panettone translates as “a large loaf of bread.” Actually, it’s a large sweet bready cake with various creamy fillings, raisins and candied fruits; its dome is covered with toppings of different flavors. Panettone’s origins probably date back to the Roman Empire: ancient Romans sweetened a type of leavened cake with honey. During the Renaissance, it […]

Share Button

Food For Thought

aldo fabrizi prete

Roman to the core, Aldo Fabrizi (1905-1990) was an Italian actor, director, screenwriter, and comedian, best known for his role as the heroic priest in Roberto Rossellini’s Rome, Open City and as a partner of the Neapolitan actor Totò in a number of successful comedies. Aldo’s exuberant younger sister, Elena, known as “Lella,” also had […]

Share Button

Food For Thought

BOLIVA-CHAIRO-SOUP-3

To celebrate 2015’s “World Environment Day” on June 3, the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) partnered with Italian celebrity chef, Carlo Cracco, to bring attention to the negative impact of climate change on many of the world’s traditional foods, especially in developing countries. Famous for his truffle dishes at his two-Michelin-starred Milanese restaurant, named […]

Share Button

Food For Thought

Outside Giolitti’s

Like pizza (covered in our January 2015 issue), pasta, espresso coffee, and gelato are quintessential Italian foods. Gel­ato is the Italian word for ice cream, derived from the Latin word gelatus, meaning frozen. Gelato can be made with milk, cream, various sugars and flavorings such as fresh fruit and nut purees. It is generally lower […]

Share Button

Food For Thought

checchino esterno

Additional Restaurants In or Near Monuments: Part One Last November my “Food for Thought” concerned “Hostaria Nerone: A Family-Run Oasis Above the Colosseum” whose owners come from a small town in Abruzzo. This month’s and others to follow will review restaurants in or near the Eternal City’s monuments. The world’s first recorded gourmets, alias buone […]

Share Button

Food For Thought

GRAN MELIÁ ROME
A Luxury Resort in the Heart of the City

By Mother Martha During the 1970s, I was the associate editor of The American Academy in Rome’s ancient studies and archeology publications. Twice a day on the no. 41 bus (now no. 870), on the Vatican-side slope of the Janiculum Hill, I would pass by a huge abandoned cream-colored building with gaping windows just across […]

Share Button

Food for Thought

Lasagna is usualy the first course in a typical Italian Easter lunch.

Decorating eggshells, especially those of ostriches, predates the Christian tradition by at least 3,000 years. The ancient Sumerians and Egyptians commonly placed decorated eggs, or their representations in gold and silver, in graves. Thus the Christian adaptation of decorating eggs can be traced to early Christians of Mesopotamia, who stained eggs red in memory of […]

Share Button

Food For Thought

Pope Francis Becomes A Sommelier So Can You

Pope Francis received a delegation of some 180 Italian wine producers, vintners, sommeliers (wine stewards) and wine writers on January 21 at his Wednesday morning general audience in Vatican City’s Palazzo Nervi. The meeting was organized by Franco Ricci, head of the Fondazione Italiana Sommelier (The Italian Sommelier Association). “The idea of asking for a […]

Share Button

Via Monte Del Gallo

St Peter's railroad station with convenient connections to Rome's beaches or to Rome's main railroad station and subway system.

For many years, Friar Tuck and I were neighbors on Via Monte del Gallo, a narrow, quiet, residential street, which winds uphill from the Italian State Railway’s St. Peter’s station at the beginning of Via Greg­orio VII to the Vatican-owned, spartan, rabbit-warren hotel Casa Tra Noi (www.hotelcasatranoiroma.com). With its ample parking lot for buses and […]

Share Button

Food For Thought

Naples, Italy.

Although pizza was almost certainly born more than 3,000 years ago in ancient Egypt, it’s the single food most firmly associated with Italy, and particularly with Nap­les. The first documented pizzas were eaten in ancient Pompeii and Herculaneum, where archaeologists have uncovered brick pizza ovens. But it was pizza without mozzarella and tomatoes, which were […]

Share Button

Food For Thought

Community Founder Andrea Riccardi.

The Community of Sant’Egidio (www.santegidio.org) was founded in Rome in 1968, the initiative of Andrea Riccardi who was 18 years old then. He brought together a group of high-school students, like himself, to listen and to put the Gospel into practice. “The first Christian communities of the Acts of the Apostles,” the website tells us, […]

Share Button

Hostaria Nerone – A Family-Run Oasis above the Colosseum

Eugenio De Santis.

After allegedly setting fire to Rome in 64 A.D. and playing a fiddle as the city burned, the Emperor Nero decided to build himself an outrageously luxurious new palace with elaborately frescoed and gilded rooms hence called the Domus Au­rea or “Golden House.” On its immense grounds, which had included an artificial lake, gardens, woods, […]

Share Button

Heinz Beck – Rome’s only chef with three Michelin stars

Heinz Beck.

In 1993 Hans Fritz, the German director of Rome’s Cavalieri Hilton, asked Heinz Winkler, the chef, restaurateur/owner of “Tan­tris,” the only Munich restaurant with three Michelin stars (and still today the owner of the three-starred “Residenz Heinz Winkler” in Aschau), to recommend a talented protégé to become Executive Chef for a still-to-open Hilton rooftop restaurant. Job […]

Share Button

Hotel Capo d’Africa

Pappardella Ripiena con Funghi Porcini alla Pescatora.

This elegant four-star, four-story boutique hotel, Capo d’Africa, opened in 2003 in a turn-of-the-20th-century building once a school. It is located on a short, quiet street of the same name in the heart of Imperial and medieval Rome, where pagan blends into early Christian. From here it is a short walk to the Colosseum and […]

Share Button

Palazzo Cardinal Cesi – a hotel in the heart of christendom

Father Pancrazio Pfeiffer, General Superior of the Salvatorians (1915-1945).

As mentioned in May’s “Food For Thought,” Palazzo Cardinal Cesi is a sister, but not the twin, of Residenza Paolo VI. Both founded as hotels and still managed by Hans-Albert Courtial, they have a similar number of rooms with every amenity at similar prices (depending on the season) and both offer an American breakfast, snack […]

Share Button