Pretty much everyone can agree on it – lunch is the best part of the workday. You spend a morning putting in hard labor, be it mental, physical, or otherwise, and you get a brief reprieve at midday to refuel, and to rest. At FAO, and in Italy in general, the culture around food is much more familial than in the US. Grabbing a cappuccino in the morning with colleagues is commonplace, and you either discuss business objectives, enjoy an intellectual conversation, or just socialize. Lunch is typically a group affair that lasts a solid hour in length, with very few folks gobbling down their food to get back to the desk. At FAO, there are many reasons to not rush back to the office – the company, the view, and the amazing Roman monuments within striking distance of headquarters.
Most days, Marko and I are feeling those hunger pangs by 11am (for me, more like 9am), and are counting down the minutes to noon. We join up with a few French and Spanish colleagues some days, whereas others we have a nice romantic lunch in the cafeteria. But damn, that cafeteria…
One of the cafeterias, the one we always go to, is located on the 8th floor of the building. Now remember, there are very few buildings in Rome that are more than four stories high, and the majority of those are churches, palaces, or ancient Roman theaters of death (as in the Colosseum). As you may already know, the FAO office is perched across from the Palatine Hill, and with a nice view over to said death theater. Add in a beautiful deck that overlooks this all, and you have one of the best lunch views in all of town.
Lunch is typically followed up with a caffe, or espresso. The Italians like to call post-meal drinks digestives (use your best Italian accent on that one), as if they ‘help’ you digest the immense amount of calories you consume over the course of a meal. No, ladies and gentelme, limoncello does not help you digest, it just tosses in some extra calories for your digestive system to go to work on. Anyways, I’ve become quite a coffee drinker here, as the quality is fantastic, and the social aspect makes it quite enjoyable.
So another option for lunch is to head downstairs and grab some pizze da portare via, or pizza to-go. And go we do – take a gander at one of my favorite lunch spots as of yet:
I can tell that this view is one that I’ll miss dearly, as is the coffee and food culture here in Italy, but luckily I still have 5 more weeks to experience it in full.
In other news, for you navigators out there, I’ve started up a Google Map with some of the spots I’ve visited and mentioned in this blog thus far. I’ll continue to update it so you can follow along on the walking tour of Rome, and beyond!