Let’s face it, the Historical Center of Roma is chaotic! Both one of its beauties AND banes.
Immense statues, fountains and buildings that warp you into another dimension on a daily basis. The incessant, buzzing sounds of cars & vespa motorinos that share the roads with bicycle riders.
Roads that MAY have some painted lines that demarcate lanes, although most faded to near nothing. Why bother with lanes when we can all mix and merge together. It works well admittedly. Forces you to stay on your toes and pay attention on the road, or risk mayhem.
Ask three different people for the answer on something and you may just get three different answers! The need for deciphering the ultimate answer within all three being up to you. Not least, figuring out which stores are open through the afternoon and which have their 2-4 hour closing time before reopening at 5pm, helps get day to day things done without frustration.
It’s an assault to the senses initially but it does get easier over time.
The official Italian holiday on August 15th marks a mass exodus for Italians!
With the summer season reaching its peak, the popular Ferragosto (“August holiday”) is on its way. The exodus to the coastal areas, beaches, coves,
yachts, speed boats. The central city is remarkably quieter (note, “quieter”, not quiet!!) as many Italians make the most of their summer holidays by the magical ocean.
So in the spirit of Ferragosto, my partner and I took a day trip to a local beach. A 45 minute local train ride north east of Rome, we arrived at beautiful San Marinella. Breathe in the relaxation and get drunk on the open beach air vibe. Deep breath of fresh, non-city air had us take a beautiful walk to the main beach area.
Wow, relaxing! What happened to the chaos, buzzing, assault on the senses?? The kind of relaxing, cruisy vibe you’d expect of a beach locale certainly let itself be felt at San Marinella. This is a place you can easily do a weekend getaway, and we intend to!
Wow, what perfectly measured beach umbrellas that lined the sandy shore.
One of the first things that struck us… the orderliness on the beach! Mind you, many Italian beaches are often rocks. Oh yes, the many visits to see my family in Sicily during the summer developed a new skill in me, sun baking on the rocks. Quite comfortably too I might add!
With such a long stretch of beach, I could see why the colour coding was important if you wanted to find your way back to your beach umbrella and banana lounges. Why such an ordered, measured and engineered line up of umbrellas you might ask? What happened to pulling up on a patch of sand, spread your towel and beach bag goods to just laze in the sun, if not a dive into the refreshing water? Ah, in Rome the beaches are rarely free! There may be one or two beaches that are, which I’ll be sure to blog about as I go check them out to inform you better. These umbrellas are revenue generators.
That’s right, each umbrella and your wanted number of chairs and banana lounges are hired. Ranging from 10-30 euros for the day, it’s yours to have all day and come and go as you please. Having learnt of this prior to going, we were ready for the charge but I certainly wasn’t ready for the amazing orderliness on the beach. Especially when the chaotic, seeming disorderliness of Rome Center (which ultimately works), had become my new baseline! Never had I seen that orderliness on the beaches in Australia or anywhere I’ve visited.
Needless to say, a stunning day at the beach which I encourage you to explore and enjoy. It’s one of many so it’s a good one to start with initially.
But wait, there’s more.. another pleasant surprise!
One more neat place we stumbled across during our day trip to San Marinella. If you’re up for a 30-40 minute walk, you’ll reach a very quaint, must-see and must-do restaurant bar on the beach, La Sassola. It is simply divine. The local bus could get you there but in the time it takes the bus to arrive, you may have reached La Sassola already.
On your own quiet, quaint beach sits an old style Mediterranean bungalow home restaurant. Choose to sit on the sand and dine or in their charming Mediterranean dining room. No windows in the white Mediterranean style walls allowed the cool ocean breeze to flow through. It is SO welcoming and relaxing. Especially after a decent walk there, the aqua frizzante (gassed up water) hit the spot.
The menu you ask? Mouth watering, cooked fresh and made with the home loving that my mother and father put into our food while growing up.
The garlic sauce with the mussels and clams had us both very quiet. We were occupied savouring the seafood and dunking our bread in the sauce.
My order for the fish of the day was kindly shown to me garnished, on the baking platter before it went in to be baked. I saw the same platter come out to show me it was ready and ask me if I’d like to de-bone it myself or have it prepared for me. I chose the latter and then enjoyed the succulent flavours of traditional home style cooking. More photos of the food are on our Facebook page – www.facebook.com/roaminrome.
All I can say, relaxing and satisfying. Simple and remarkable. I strongly recommend it.
Strolling through San Marinella and the town’s history, marina and storefronts was delightful. Just what the doctor ordered as we settled into some swimming and lazing on the shore. A nice touch to see was the family in front of us, who’d come to the beach for the day. They were all set up with their lunch table, that saw its way through several snacks for the kids and dinner later on.
This beach was such an easy treat and relaxation stop. An easy day trip out of Ostiense train station, to take you from the chaotic & charming Historical Center of Rome into the perfected orderliness of beautiful San Marinella beach. Enjoy your visit to this superb, tranquil town of Roma.