Way back in April 1995 we reviewed the Cantina Tirolese. Only about five minutes away from the obelisk in St. Peter’s Square, it is a cute restaurant run by the Macher family, in the form of a refined beer-cellar of the type usually seen in Germany and Austria. At the Cantina Tirolese, which has been around since 1971, the pilgrim or tourist to Rome can find examples of the Tyrolean heritage which fuses both Italian and Austrian elements. Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, before he was Pope Benedict XVI, occasionally dined here at table number 6.

There is an “upstairs” and a “downstairs.” The striking decor consists of Swiss cloth calendars, vintage cuckoo-clocks, the odd pair of ancient antelope antlers, and other Austrian artifacts. The novelty of the Cantina Tirolese, and this is why we are re-visiting it, is that in the last couple of years it has been offering a special buffet lunch at the remarkable price of Euro 9.50 ($12.50). This consists of a choice of either a rich soup or risotto and another option to start, followed by a choice of five main courses like roast beef, goulash and a vegetarian option, accompanied by six seasonal vegetables, all from bio-farms. There is an ample cheeseboard, with many kinds of Italian and Tyrolean cheeses, like Pugliese mozzarella. Finally, a choice of desserts cooked by the chef, Mario, is offered. The price includes mineral water, and other drinks are charged.

As I took a seat, the helpful waitress Teodora brought me a liter of sparking water and a quarter carafe of red wine, as well as a basket of bread.

Next I went to the buffet and chose a warming — and no doubt nutritious — barley soup to start with. Having finished the soup, I went for the goulash with some potatoes, carrots, zucchini and eggplant on the side. I also took some cheese for later. All was tasty and wholesome. Finally Teodora informed me that there was a baked apple dessert on the menu that day, so I chose that, and it sure tasted homemade! This restaurant is a pleasant place for the tourist to come and eat a buffet lunch, and it has a full à la carte menu in the evening. It is wise to reserve a table on weeknights and weekends.

The Little Sisters of the Holy Family run several pensions throughout Italy, which they call “accommodation with a heart,” vacation homes which are equipped to host people who want an experience to rejuvenate body and soul. These hotels are open to all, whether tourists, pilgrims, travellers, young people or families. In particular, one of their pensions is called Domus Nascimbeni and is located in the leafy Aurelia quarter of Rome, not far from the Pontifical Institute for Sacred Music, the Pontifical Spanish College, the Pontifical International Missionary College of St. Paul the Apostle, and various other institutions.

The Domus Nascimbeni Guesthouse is located in a splendid location just a short walk from the Villa Doria Pamphili park and a few minutes’ bus ride from St. Peter’s Basilica. It provides easy access to the historic center and to the most important places in the city: St. Peter’s, Piazza Navona, Campo de’ Fiori, Piazza di Spagna, Piazza Venezia, St. John Lateran, and the Coliseum. This makes it the perfect starting point to visit the Eternal City and its surrounding areas, and it is easy to reach with public transportation. This pension is truly a haven of peace for the spirit, a quiet environment set in a pretty garden. Domus Nascimbeni offers 31 very comfortable rooms completely renovated, each with a private windowed bathroom with shower, hairdryer, kit and towels, LCD TV and free Internet wi-fi connection, heating and auto-adjustable air conditioning, and telephone. Each room has a private balcony. On the tree-lined street which leads straight to the hotel entrance, there is reserved parking. The continental breakfast and other meals are served in a large, bright room with park views. You can also opt for half board.

The chapel is available for the celebration of Mass and for silence and prayer. Two meeting rooms are present with 15 to 30 seats, with Internet wi-fi. The pension offers a free left-luggage office as well as a lounge with a drink machine. There is no curfew in this establishment, and the guests come and go with magnetic card access. No pets are allowed here because of local laws.

There is easy access for disabled guests. On prior request, airport transfer is furnished directly to and from Fiumicino and Ciampino Airports by private car with driver.

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