Top 10 Things to Do in Rome at Christmas + A Magazine Feature

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The holidays in Rome are always a magical time.  After all, Rome is where the celebration of Christmas originated.  If you’re planning a trip to Rome in December, be sure to check out my list in the Insiders Abroad E-Magazine for the top 10 things to do in Rome at Christmas to get you in the holiday spirit.

To check out the top 10 things to do in Rome at Christmas, jump to page 16.  I also shared a few packing tips for things to pack (or leave at home) when visiting Rome, and you can find those on page 5. Just click on the magazine cover below.

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Haus Garten – A Bagel Bar in Rome

If you’ve been in Italy for awhile, chances are your taste buds are craving a little something more than pizza and pasta.   Being an expat, I’m always on the lookout for American-style food.  Haus Garten hit the spot and provided a tasty change.

Located in the Prati district, Haus Garten is Rome’s first bagel bar.  It opened just over a year ago, and you can find a variety of bagel sandwiches, pancakes, waffles, eggs, brownies, cheesecakes, smoothies and American-style coffees, along with other delicious options on their menu.

Haus Garten Bagel Bar_4

It’s a charming place, not typical of traditional Roman eateries.  It has a quirky vibe with a treehouse-like setting.  It’s open and airy, with lots of greenery surrounding the building.  There is even a life-size bird cage hanging from the ceiling that you can sit and swing in.

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Coromandel ~ Lovely Brunch in Rome

Coromandel: Lovely Brunch in Rome | WhyRoamTravel.com
Coromandel is one of my favorite places to have breakfast or brunch.  It’s located in the area of Piazza Navona.  You’ll find it down a quieter side street, and will likely pass right by it if you didn’t know it was there.  Once you enter inside though, it is anything but ordinary.  The mention of scrambled eggs, pancakes and French toast lured me there.  The delicious food and lovely setting has kept me coming back.
Coromandel has more of an old world, French bistro feel.  The cozy setting with fluffy pillows displayed on the bench, shelves of books, warm decor and dim lighting invites you to stay and linger.
 

Breakfast and pastries are served on the loveliest of china.  I always feel spoiled here because everything is so pretty.  Not only are the dishes and decorations lovely, but the food is delicious, too!  

I was leary about ordering the French toast.  This is not an Italian dish, and I’m not aware of it being on other menus around Rome.  I ordered preparing for the worst, but was most pleasantly surprised.  The French toast is delicious, and even comes covered in syrup. (Syrup is also not typical in Italy.)  Now I can’t hardly order anything else.



The cappuccino is also great, with a dish of sugar cubes served alongside.  (I told you this place is fancy and makes you feel spoiled in the simplest of ways.)  They also have iced coffee that is sweetened with almond milk, and it is also great if you’re in the mood for something a little different.

 

Whenever I get a craving for French toast, or just want to feel a little special, I head to Coromandel.
 
P.S. – Coromandel also serves lunch and dinner.  Although I’ve only had breakfast, I’m sure lunch and dinner dishes are equally as delicious.   
 
 
Coromandel
via di Monte Giordano 60/61
Telephone: 06 688 02 461
Open 8:30 AM – midnight, Closed on Mondays
 
 
Expedia

 

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Shiatsu Massage in Rome

I love Groupon!  For those of you not familiar, Groupon is a website where you can purchase deals and discounts for various businesses.  It’s a great way to try a new place at a discounted rate.  I receive their daily deal emails, and always quickly scan through to see if anything jumps out at me.  A few weeks ago I came across a special for Shiatsu massage.  I’ve had plenty of massages, but never tried Shiatsu.  It was a great offer to try something new, and I am very glad that I did!  
 
Shiatsu means finger pressure in Japanese.  It is known as a type of alternative medicine, and uses more of a finger and palm pressure technique, as compared to traditional massage.  It is used to help with relaxation, stress release, muscle pain, anxiety and depression.  Another way Shiatsu differs from traditional massage is that it is performed while you are fully clothed.  This is great if you’re not super comfortable with dressing down to only your undies (or less) in front of a stranger.  
 
My first Shiatsu experience (and hopefully not my last) was at Shiatsu Life.  It is owned by Valter Vaccaro, and is located in the hip Testaccio neighborhood.  The deal I purchased was for three massage sessions, so I was able to go once a week for three weeks.  And let me just tell you, having a standing massage appointment sure does help you get through the week. 🙂From the first session, Valter was extremely kind and very much a gentleman.  He made me feel comfortable and relaxed.  Shiatsu is usually performed on a large futon mat, so no awkward massage table to climb up on.  During a session, Valter has lit candles around the room, and incense to help you relax.  Depending on your position (whether face down or on your side), he strategically places pillows to help support your body.  Also, as with typical Shiatsu, you are fully clothed the entire time.  Each time I went, I wore a sports bra, t-shirt and leggings.  Oils are also not used since the massage is done over your clothes, and since Shiatsu uses finger pressure as opposed to hand rubbing.
 
If you would like to try Shiatsu, or are looking for a way to relax while you’re in Rome, I definitely recommend Valter with Shiatsu Life.  
 
Shiatsu Life
Via Florio, 6
 

MADE ~ Cupcakes in Rome

I have a sweet tooth.  I mean, a major sweet tooth.  I can’t get enough of cakes, cookies, brownies, or just about any type of pastry.  Although typical Italian pastries are good, and I’ll very rarely turn one down when offered, most just seem to miss the mark with me.  I am used to (and prefer) richer, sweeter pastries.  

I crave light, moist cakes with buttercream icing, rich chocolate brownies, melt in your mouth chocolate chip cookies … all of these abundant in the U.S., but missing in Italy.  

When I stumbled across MADE and saw a variety of American style pastries on display, I almost tripped over myself trying to enter the shop.  

MADE is a short walk from Piazza Navona.  It is small inside, with no tables to sit down.  The decor is white and bright, with pops of color mostly coming from the mouth watering baked goods on display.  

I am a sucker for cupcakes, and that’s what I’ve gone for both times I’ve visited.  I’ll have to try a cookie or two next time though.  

The first time I went, I had a chocolate and lavender cupcake (pictured below).  It was quite unique – chocolate cake with thick, fudge-like chocolate icing topped with sprinkles of dried lavender.  It had just a hint of lavender flavor, not overpowering at all.  Different taste, but quite good.  However, the cake was a little on the dry side.  

The next time I went I chose the red velvet cupcake (pictured above).  This one was really tasty.  The cake seemed to be more chocolate than red velvet (no complaints here), and was moist.  The cream cheese icing was airy and whipped.  Needless to say, I polished this one off in record time!  

If you’re only in Rome for a few days, MADE probably shouldn’t be added to the top of your to-do list.  But if you’re craving American baked goods, this could be just the fix you need. 🙂  

MADE Creative Bakery
Via dei Coronari, 25
+39 06 98932195
http://www.madebakery.com/
MADE on Facebook