Authentic Carbonara Recipe
Carpe Diem Rome
by Alexander Meddings
1M ago
Carbonara is a relatively new dish in Roman cuisine. There are several theories as to where this dish originated, some say it is not Roman at all. The most accepted story is that it was invented in Rome for a meeting between the American and British forces in 1944 and was created using two ingredients both nations loved: bacon and eggs.  Traditionally it is made with guanciale (pork cheek), pecorino cheese and raw egg yolk. The fat from the pork cheek, the strong cheese and the rich egg yolk combine to make a glossy rich sauce which coats spaghetti, fettuccine or rigatoni pasta perfe ..read more
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Rome Across the River: A History of Trastevere
Carpe Diem Rome
by Alexander Meddings
2M ago
Situated across the river from Rome’s historic centre, Trastevere was once the city’s working-class artisan district, a warren of narrow streets and cloistered piazzas that was home to Rome’s tradesmen, fishermen, and foreign communities from the east of the empire. Fast-forward 2,000 years and while Trastevere’s professional and ethnic makeup has changed its rugged, bohemian character has not. This article takes you on a whistle-stop history of Trastevere, from when it was first settled by the Etruscans to its current popularity in Italian cinema. The meaning of Trastevere The word Trastevere ..read more
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The Spanish Steps: A Short Guide
Carpe Diem Rome
by Alexander Meddings
2M ago
Few places in the world exude romance like Rome’s Spanish Steps. This Baroque masterpiece is considered to be a highlight of the Baroque era in Rome and it was built to connect the Spanish Steps with the Church of Santa Trinità dei Monti. Since the 18th century, the Spanish Steps has served as Rome’s most picturesque meeting point for artists, models, poets and lovers. The Spanish Steps‘ Architect The steps were designed by a lesser-known architect of time named Francesco De Sanctis and Alessandro Specchi—or ‘Alexander Mirrors’ as his name translates in English—and its purpose was to connect t ..read more
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The Trevi Fountain: A Short Guide
Carpe Diem Rome
by Alexander Meddings
2M ago
Rome’s Trevi Fountain is the world’s most famous fountain, a Baroque work of art, and one of the Italian capital’s most recognisable attractions. Built in the mid 18th century on the site of an ancient fountain, the Trevi Fountain is still fed by a Renaissance acqueduct, the Acqua Vergine (Virgin Aqueduct). The Virgin Aqueduct has nothing to do with Richard Branson’s business conglomerate. Rather it draws its name from the legendary Virgin Springs to the east of Rome. And the story of these springs and their discovery in antiquity lies at the source of the fascinating history of the Trevi Foun ..read more
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How Many Days Should You Spend in Florence?
Carpe Diem Rome
by Alexander Meddings
3M ago
You need at least two days to explore Florence. This gives you enough time to visit its must-see attractions like the Uffizi, Duomo and Palazzo Pitti during the day, and get a taste for its hearty, central-Italian cuisine by night. But two days barely scratches the surface. To get the most out of the Renaissance city you should spend at least five days in Florence. We’ve written this guide for first-time visitors who are short on time in Florence. You’ll find our top tried and tested recommendations for what to see, where to stay, and where to eat. What’s more, they’re based on our own experie ..read more
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Spilling the Beans on the Best Coffee in Florence
Carpe Diem Rome
by Alexander Meddings
3M ago
Florence is world-famous for its art and architecture, but its lesser-known coffee culture is undergoing a renaissance of its own. Tradition and innovation stand uncomfortably side by side as shabby express bars and trendy artisan coffeehouses compete to win over the city’s choosy clientele. To make sure you know where to go to get the best of both worlds, Carpe Diem Tours is spilling the beans on where to find the best coffee in Florence. From a macchiato made in heaven to the most crave-worthy cappuccino, this article guides you through the traditional bars, chic cafés, and artisan coffeehou ..read more
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Food in Florence: 5 Must-Try Dishes
Carpe Diem Rome
by Alexander Meddings
3M ago
The birthplace of the Renaissance is world-renowned for its culture, but the food in Florence deserves UNESCO status of its own. Central Italian cities like Florence and Bologna specialise in abundant meaty dishes, thick, heavy pastas and rich truffle and cheese sauces. But what lies at the essence of Florentine cuisine? Or, to put it another way, what food is Florence best known for?  Florence’s cuisine is characterised by hearty, meaty, protein-heavy dishes. Rare beef steaks served with sage and olive-oil-soaked white beans; flat pappardelle pasta coated with wild boar ragù; and tripe a ..read more
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The True Story Behind Commodus’ Breastplate in Gladiator
Carpe Diem Rome
by Alexander Meddings
3M ago
Eagle-eyed viewers of Ridley Scott’s Gladiator (2000) might have noticed that the white breastplate Commodus wears while fighting in the Colosseum bears striking resemblance to a real Roman statue. But did you know that both show a significant moment from the beginning of the Roman Empire? Ridley Scott’s team modelled Commodus’ armour on a statue type of Rome’s first emperor, Augustus. We know this statue type as the Prima Porta Augustus, and it’s one of the most famous statues of the ancient world and one of the most widely diffused of Augustus himself, dating from around 27 BC. Why the Prima ..read more
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Visiting Rome’s Via Appia – A Complete Guide
Carpe Diem Rome
by Alexander Meddings
3M ago
The Via Appia Antica (Old Appian Way) is one of ancient Rome’s most overlooked attractions and a must-visit site for history-buffs, intrepid explorers, and nature-lovers. The Via Appia is an ancient road, perfectly preserved—at least in parts—despite more than 2,000 years of continuous use. The ancients described the Via Appia as the Queen of Roads (regina viarum, for you cunning Latin linguists out there). Visit the Appia Antica today and you can quite understand why.  What is the Via Appia? The Via Appia was one of the Roman Republic’s earliest and most strategically significant roads ..read more
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Spending a Rainy Day in Rome
Carpe Diem Rome
by Alexander Meddings
3M ago
There’s an old Italian proverb – piove sempre sul bagnato: it always rains where it’s already wet. The English equivalent is ‘when it rains it pours’. And while figuratively this means that things always tend to go from bad to worse, in Italy this saying also speaks to a more meteorological truth. When it rains in Rome, it quite literally pours. The good news is that rainy days are few and far between in Italy; and even when it rains, it rarely lasts all day. In a sense, Italy’s climate mirrors its communicative culture with stormy outbursts of showers (or shouting) appearing out of nowhere an ..read more
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