This time Roberto Giuliani takes the stand.
Ok, I confess, I was the recipient: My wife Laura made the reservations, more than a month ago – because there is a waiting list. June 11 came and I had no idea of what was in the works; I guessed a concert because of the ample lead time, but then I heard the word “dinner” and wondered if she had made reservations at an especially in demand restaurant. But had my doubts, because she was nervous, as if she wasn’t sure I’d appreciate the surprise.
Instead, it was a delightful gift, the most romantic I’ve had and one I will certainly long remember. Though I work with food and wine, I had somehow missed this initiative of the Roman public transportation system. It’s managed by two women, Nunzia Fiorini and Anna Maria Sciannimanico di Brecce, who works with modern art. Rome’s Public Transportation Authority restored a trolly from 1947, transforming it into a restaurant trolly with 28 to 38 seats.
The amazing thing is that while you are enjoying a very pleasant candle-lit meal on a traditional trolly, accompanied by musicians who change from one trip to the next, you follow a route that shows you some of the most beautiful views of the Capital. The catering is handled by Enoteca Palatium, with strictly local ingredients.
The service was impeccable in its politeness and simplicity, and it was a delight to watch the people preparing the dishes that were served along the route.
Before going further I must confess that I didn’t bring my camera because I didn’t know what Laura had in store for me, and in any case starting to take pictures during a romantic occasion of this sort would not have been right. Much better to enjoy the occasion instead!
One can choose between three different routes:
A – Porta Maggiore, Piramide with a stop at the Parco del Celio (Colosseo).
B – Porta Maggiore, Piazza Risorgimento with a stop at Piazza M. Cervantes (Belle Arti).
C – Porta Maggiore, Piazza M. Cervantes, Porta Maggiore, Piramide with a short stop at the Parco del Celio (Colosseo).
We took option C, which – on June 11th – featured music by Ennio Morricone, performed and reinterpreted by Simone Alessandrini on the soprano sax and Natalino Marchetti on the accordion. The theme was “A dinner out,” and the songs were from famous films that Mr. Morricone provided the music to, including Mission, Nuovo Cinema Paradiso, C’era una Volta il West, C’era una volta in America, and Giù la Testa. Then there was a wonderful encore, “Il Treno” an irresistable tune the jazzmen dedicated to Wolmer Beltrami, composer and accordion player from Sabbioneta, who played in Gorni Kramer’s orchestra and was a fantastic talent scout, having found among others Mina and Fausto Leali.
The food? I feared it might prove the weak point of the evening, and was wrong. The menu featured the following dishes, all perfectly prepared: Chilled cream of pecorino with basil and lemon, eggplant rollups with couscous and chick peas, black-and-white rice torte with Mediterranean herb ratatouille, and lemony crema pasticcera with fruit and oat wafers. All accompanied by “Birra artigianale Itineris” (a singularly appropriate name), or the Cantine San Marco’s Solo Shiraz and Frascati Crio 10.
At the end of the meal we were served an historic cordial, Sambuca Molinari, and coffee. The menu can be tailored to meet the needs of those who suffer from food allergies or other problems.
One of the nicest things about the ride was the reaction of motorists and pedestrians, some who looked surprised, others envious, and others who simply grinned!
And how much does this cost? Don’t ask me, but you will find all the information you need on the Tramjazz site, http://www.tramjazz.com.
Published Simultaneously by IGP, I Giovani Promettenti.