Hello and happy Friday!
Today I am sharing a few photos from a day spent on the beach in Rome two weeks ago. There aren’t many photos of food, as it is easy to lose your appetite in 40-degree weather! It was a fantastic day, the kind of day at the beach with friends which I used to have all summer long when I was younger!
I grew up in a residential part of Rome, outside the city centre and only 5km from the beach of Ostia Lido. Whenever I’m back home, I go the beach for a run or a walk, to touch the sand, get my feet in the water or watch the sunset. I love it and miss it a lot here in London.
This summer I was only in Rome for a busy 48-hour trip, mostly spent finalising the wedding plans (only one month to go now!). On Sunday, my friends suggested driving to Nettuno, a seaside town 60 kilometers south of Rome. The beach in Ostia can get very crowded at the weekend, so we escaped to the quieter beach of Torre Astura.
Formerly an island called Astura, it is now a peninsula in a long and deserted stretch of coast. Its landmark is a medieval castle built by the Frangipani family centuries ago.
It takes about 10-15 minutes to reach the shore from the main road, as you need to leave the car behind and walk the last kilometer to the beach.
Tall wild plants cover the view alongside the path…until you finally see the light! And the sea! :)
As soon as we arrived to Torre Astura, we set the umbrellas and the towels on the beach and dived into the sea for a refreshing swim! Followed by a lazy lie down on the sand, to soak up the sun rays.
Torre Astura is a beautiful beach of soft golden sand, surrounded by wild bushes, sand dunes and a pine forest. The sea is rich in fish, so the area around the castle was formerly used by the Romans as a fish farm. On the morning we were there, we saw a group of men catching fishes by pulling a fishing net through the water.
Time for lunch! Pizza and sandwich are usually the best choices for a lunch on the beach. Pizza al taglio (sold by the slice or by the weight) is a staple in the Roman food culture. It comes with different toppings and it can be “bianca” (only salt, rosemary and olive oil – or with mozzarella and vegetables), or “rossa” (the classic pizza with tomato sauce).
Pizza with mozzarella and courgettes is one of my favourites and is rigorously made without tomato sauce. It’s lighter and more enjoyable on a warm day than pizza rossa and you won’t have sauce dripping down your chin (always a good thing)!
Ps: the best of the best of Roman pizzas is made with courgette flowers and anchovies (Fiori di Zucca e Alici), but you are more likely to find it in a restaurant (served as a whole round pizza) rather than in a “pizzeria al taglio” outlet. Courgette flowers are seasonal, so you will only find this pizza in summer.
Panino con la rosetta is the classic Roman take-away lunch. It is a healthy and cheap choice, usually the price is around 2 or 3 euros (depending on the filling, the one of the photo was filled with ham and mozzarella.).
“Rosetta” (also known as michetta) is a type of white bread roll very popular in Rome, characterised by a crunchy crust and a hollow shape (the yeast blows the dough leaving a hole in the centre). It can be found in any Roman bakery and it should be eaten fresh (a few hours after it is baked), or else it becomes gummy and loses its flavour and fragrance. If you are buying it from a supermarket or deli, ask them to cut it and fill it with your favourite cured meat and cheese!
At the end of the day I was sun-burnt, tired, hot and sweaty, but after a shower I felt happy, relaxed and energised. That’s what the sun and sea do for me, they re-charge my batteries and fill me with energy, enough of it to face the gloom of London’s weather!
Though I must admit, today is a gorgeous day here in London town, so I might have to leave you now and go for a bit of sun-bathing in the park! ;)