Having been given a Smartbox (www.smartbox.com) gift card with a fast-expiring time limit, I decided to dine at one of the restaurants valid for use of this voucher. I hit upon DivinPeccato (“divine sin”), a rather inappropriate play on words.
The restaurant is located near Trastevere, in Piazza della Rovere, a few steps from St. Peter’s and Castel Sant’Angelo. Since the gift card was for two, I took along Fr. Norman Tanner, SJ, professor and former dean of the Faculty of Church History of the Pontifical Gregorian University (www.unigre.it), noted for his work on Church Councils.
Stefano Carucci, the young Roman chef at the restaurant DivinPeccato, attempts to transform even the simplest of dishes into a unique dining experience, a little journey into the world of taste, a journey that begins with high-quality Italian produce and ends in a warm and cozy environment, blending the perfect harmony of all senses.
The lower dining area is a rather dark, wine bar-like area, which the waiter explained to me was supposed to represent Hell. On the other hand, the upper floor, with its bright and airy feel, frescoed ceilings and walls and white tablecloths, represents Paradise. We chose Paradise, and were shown to our table. Fr. Norman had a nice view of Castel Sant’Angelo out of the facing window.
We were offered the fixed Smartbox menu, which started with a selection of the best seasonal Italian cheeses, served with pear, organic jams, walnuts and chestnut honey. Then along came specialties off a chopping board from Garfagnana, including marinated beef carpaccio, sliced salami, Bazzone ham, and pork neck biroldo, as well as a small omelet and some salad. At this point our Smartbox experience ended, but we could add, on a payment basis, a dessert. So Fr. Norman took a eulogy to hot chocolate (chocolate flan with a soft center), served over a vanilla cold cream, while I selected lemon ice cream. We were extremely satisfied both with the quality of the food and with the service. The fine white wine and the sparkling mineral water were included in the Smartbox voucher, so all we had to pay for were the desserts at 6 Euro each.
In much the same area of Rome, we have found a beautiful pension run by the Poor Clare sisters. The Domus Vitellia is a guest house developed inside a part of the Monastery of Santa Chiara in Rome.
It is located near one of the finest villas of Rome, Villa Pamphili, in a strategic position from which you can quickly reach St. Peter’s, Trastevere and the Gianicolo center with all its great squares. It is near the Doria Pamphili park, one of the great green “lungs” of Rome; thus you can enjoy fresh air during your stay.
In the Domus Vitellia you can have a peaceful and relaxing stay, away from traffic and noise, to spend a period of spiritual renewal, all in a familiar and friendly setting. By public transport you can reach the Vatican in 15 minutes and the historic center of Rome (Largo Argentina) in 25 minutes, with tram number 8; in 15 minutes you can also reach the characteristic neighborhood of Trastevere.
The Domus offers 23 rooms, from single to quadruple, so as to accommodate groups, families, couples and singles. All rooms have a simple but functional feel and are equipped with private bathroom and air conditioning. The Vitellia Domus offers its guests the following services: TV room, cold drinks in the lobby, private parking, also for buses, and continental breakfast. It can provide, upon request, a catering service (half-board or full board) exclusively for groups over 15 people. Reservations can be made via e-mail, and payment is accepted by credit card or debit card. The Domus is open 24 hours; there is no curfew for guests.