Some of you may be asking, (and with good reason) why anyone would ever visit Rome in late November – early December.

The answer is simple…

Because it was cheap.

There is a threshold in mid November when hotel prices plummet, and we decided to take full advantage of the lower cost.

For us, it was better to visit Italy in the really, really off season, than not being able to visit Italy at all.

We anticipated cold weather, and were well prepared for it.

In fact, in the months preceding the trip, I would often ask myself:

Just how many scarves and cowls are appropriate for a twelve day holiday visit to Italy in the late fall?

My answer: A dozen. One for each day of course.

Interestingly enough, there was emerald green grass throughout various knolls within the heart of Rome. When we visited Rome in early September 2008, there was no green grass. There wasn’t even grass. The heat had decimated it and replaced it with a crunchy brown straw-like ground cover.

What we did not anticipate was the rain.

Oh, we did come with umbrellas, cute little ones in matching colours that we found on sale before leaving on the trip. However, these umbrellas were no match for the unrelenting Italian rain storms. Two out of the three umbrellas only lasted 2 days. In fact, all totalled, we went through at least nine umbrellas.

Let’s see: there was the three umbrellas that we brought from home, the two that we bought at the Vatican, three in Naples, and one in Pompeii.

And they still weren’t enough to keep us from getting soaked on a daily basis.

But you’ll learn more about that all in due course.

Meanwhile, on our first walkabout in Rome on the morning of Tuesday, November 27th,

…there was no rain, at least for the first fifteen minutes.

We began to feel the pelt of the rain just as we were crossing a busy intersection while heading towards what looked like an average indoor mall. It was excellent timing on Franks part because he had planned to stop here at a very chic cafe centrally located inside the mall.

There we all enjoyed two expressos…. each!

Jen and I made a little side stop at a bookstore which to me looked surprisingly like any other bookstore in North America, from the aisles right down to the pen and stationary displays.

I picked out two small purse sized journals, and a fistful of green pens. Unfortunately, as I was packing them for the journey home, I packed them so well that I have yet to find them.

As for why I chose to purchase green pens, well…

That’s a story for another day.

And so, now that we were fortified against the rain, thanks to our infusion of caffeine via the six expressos we just drank, the three of us headed back out into the rain and began to make our way towards our next destination with Frank leading the charge.

By the time we stopped for lunch, all three of us were wet, cold and completely disheveled.

But who were we to care?

We were in an authentic Italian restaurant called “DAKOTAS” decorated with American car license plates and ’60’s posters while listening to ’80’s hits from Duran Duran, Howard Jones and Phil Collins.

While our favourite Italian restaurant in back in Canada, ‘Lina Linguini’s’ is decorated with Chianti bottles, jars of pasta and plays only traditional Italian Muzak.


It truly is a mad, mad world.


Above: Enjoying a zen moment as we dry off from the rain while waiting for lunch.

Top Photo: The Dakota Restaurant Menu.

Zoom in on the menu to see what’s being served for lunch.

What would you order?

Let me know!