If you are lucky enough to be visiting Rome, I strongly recommend that you hunt down the Tre Scalini bar, restaraunt, and gelateria. It is pictured above. It is located in the Piazza Navona.
Sunday, July 1, 2018
#182 / Travel Advisory
In May of this year, my wife Marilyn and I went on a Rick Steves' tour of South Italy. We had a wonderful time, with a great guide and a great group. See the picture at the bottom of this posting.
The Best of South Italy Tour began in Rome, and I have a travel advisory for anyone who may be traveling to that city. Here it is:
Prior to this recent visit to Rome, in 2018, I had been in Rome one time before, when I was eighteen years old, and when I was just beginning my second year of college. My visit to Rome on that occasion was in connection with a trip with my Stanford-in-France group. The Stanford-in-France campus was in Tours, France, but the group did take trips to both Rome and Madrid. That was in 1962, fifty-six years before my most recent visit to Rome.
Candidly, I remember almost nothing from fifty-six years ago. I did remember, however, as I started walking around Rome on my recent visit, that there was some place in Rome (I had no clue where) that had a little bar where I had my first taste of cappucino. Allow me to point out, for those of a younger generation, that there was no such thing as cappucino in the United States in 1962. At least, not that I'd ever heard of. Probably, there was a machine somewhere in New York City, in the neighborhoods where Italian families lived, and maybe something similar in San Francisco, but I had no knowledge of that whatsoever, and I had never even heard the word "cappucino." 1962 was, in other words, pre-Starbucks.
Very early one morning in Rome, in 1962, I got up and started walking around. The whole area was dead, it being so early, but I saw a small bar that was open for business, and that was literally thronged with workers, who were all drinking something that did not appear to be alcoholic. I don't drink, so I thought I'd investigate. When I did, I found that the patrons were getting small little glasses filled with some sort of coffee drink. They put sugar in it, and it sure looked good.
This was my introduction to cappucino. That drink was so good that I could still remember it fifty-plus years later. I didn't remember much about my 1962 visit to Rome, but I did remember that.
I also had one other memory of the earlier visit, and actually a somewhat similar memory. The hotel where our Stanford-in-France group stayed was on a large plaza, with a huge fountain in the center. I remember that some of the other students came from across the plaza, to where I was on the side where the hotel was located, and reported that there was this fantastic "chalate tartuffo" ice cream confection being sold at a restaurant on the other side of the plaza. I decided I would try it, and I did. As great as the cappucino was, this was even better! Literally, I never forgot that ice cream dessert. I even remembered the (somewhat mangled) name it went by: "chalate tartuffo." I was kind of hoping that I'd be able to find it, this time around.
Amazingly enough, I did find it. Literally by chance, I ventured into the Piazza Navona, and immediately recognized the place where my Stanford-in-France group had stayed those fifty-plus years ago. I found the little bar where I first drank cappucino. It is, today, just as I so vividly remembered it:
I also found, across the Piazza Navona from the little bar, which was located near to where our hotel must have been, the restaurant where they sell that dessert. What I had remembered as "chalate tartuffo" is actually a "gelato tartuffo." My memory had mangled the spelling somewhat, but my recollection about the dessert itself was completely accurate.
I believe that the dessert shown below, sold at the Tre Scalini restaurant, is the best dessert in the world. The restaurant has been selling it there, on the Piazza Navona, since 1946.
If you are lucky enough to be visiting Rome, I strongly recommend that you hunt down the Tre Scalini bar, restaraunt, and gelateria, and that you order the Tre Scalini gelato tartuffo:
I am not kidding about how good this is! If you have one, I think you're good for a memory that will last at least fifty-six years. You can take a Rick Steves' tour, if you want to visit Rome that way. Or, you can figure out how to get there on your own.
Rome. Piazza Navona. Tre Scalini. Gelato Tartuffo! That's my travel advisory.
(1) - http://www.trescalini.it/tartufo-gelato/
(2) - Gary Patton personal photo
(3) - http://www.trescalini.it/tartufo-gelato/
(4) - John Gafford