Tamara Suites is a bed and breakfast situated in the heart of Trastevere, a few steps from Santa Maria in Trastevere, not far from Piazza Navona and near the Janiculum, which is one of seven hills of Rome where midday is marked by firing a cannon. Trastevere is one of the 22 districts (or rioni) of Rome. It is situated on the eastern bank of the Tevere River, south of the Vatican. The name is of Latin origin, trans Tiberim, which means “beyond the Tiber River.” Its symbol is a lion head on a red background. The name’s origin is unknown.
The particular character of this bed and breakfast is the design and style of each room. There are only six rooms, each decorated to commemorate a well-known European artist of the modern era: Klimt, Van Gogh, Monet, Matisse, Gauguin and, last but not least, Tamara de Lempicka, to whom the bed and breakfast is dedicated. Tamara de Lempicka (1898-1980), born Maria Górska in Warsaw, Poland, was a Polish art deco painter. The bed and breakfast is situated close to many places of interest, including the churches of Santa Maria in Trastevere, Santa Cecilia, San Crisogono and St. Peter’s Basilica.
All the rooms are equipped with private bathroom, air conditioning, direct telephone, wireless internet connection, TV, and hair dryer. A rich breakfast, served from 7:30 to 10:00 in your room, is included in the price. While credit cards are accepted for the booking deposit, cash is required for the final payment.
Not far away, just down the street, as a matter of fact, is a little treasure of a restaurant, the trattoria A Casa Mia, meaning “at my home.” It consists of two cute little rooms decorated like an old Roman house, not ancient, but as in the 1600s. So it is wise to reserve a table, especially on the weekends.
The occasion of my visit to this restaurant was as a guest of some 18 American students. We were welcomed by the owner and manager, Franca, and had agreed on a set menu, which began with antipasti, crude Parma ham, salami, olives, and crunchy and delicious bruschette. Our main course was rigatoni (short lined pasta tubes) with amatriciana sauce. Our dinner was brought to a fine end with fresh fruit salad consisting of apples, pears, kiwi and blood oranges. Red and white wine as well as still mineral water were our drinks. The red wine was an excellent Montepulciano, and so was the white. Our meal came exactly to the agreed-upon price of 20 Euro ($25) each to which we added a consideration for kindly service. All the students were extremely happy with our dinner, and indeed so was I!
This typically Roman pasta dish was traditionally made with guanciale, but since that ingredient used to be very hard to find outside of Italy, and the Lazio region in particular, pancetta has became a common substitute. In fact, pancetta contains less fat.
2 tablespoons of olive oil
1/4 pound pancetta or guanciale, chopped
1 small yellow onion, chopped
2 cloves of garlic, chopped
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 28 oz. can peeled Italian tomatoes
Salt and pepper to taste
1 pound bucatini pasta
1/2 cup freshly grated pecorino Romano cheese
Directions (serves 4):
1. Heat olive oil in large saucepan over medium heat. Add the pancetta and cook, stirring often, until golden brown, for about 10 minutes. Add the onion and sauté until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and red pepper flakes and sauté until garlic is golden, about 1 minute longer.
2. Crush tomatoes and add with juices to pan. Add salt and pepper and a little water. Bring to a simmer and cook uncovered, stirring occasionally, until the sauce thickens (about 15 to 20 minutes).
While the sauce is cooking, bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add 1 tablespoon of salt and the bucatini. Cook uncovered over high heat until al dente.
Drain the pasta, then add the pasta and 1/4 cup of the pecorino Romano to the sauce in the saucepan and toss well. Transfer to warm serving plates and serve immediately, with the remaining pecorino Romano on the side.