Footsteps to Sora Lucia

Rome has this great sense of nostalgia. You know of the places and you feel this overwhelming familiarity. Why? You've seen everyone else there … in the movies, on tv and in ads. You feel prepared to walk in the same footsteps of those before you. Those same cobblestone streets. Those same obscure cafes. In the moment you cannot breathe to figure out which direction to go. The anxiety swells up inside of you. What a magical position to be in! To walk, drink, eat, laugh, cry where others have done the same. It's like a honor and homage at the same time. Just being there is enough but that is just the start. To be able to just walk to all points of interests - ancient, classic and modern - you want to run. Trust me on one night in particular I wanted to sprint. 

In Paris, people had reached out to us that had been there before. Everyone seemed to have their own places they recommended or told us we had to see. This was a varied group of people who had been where we were, had plans to visit after us or were living vicariously through our Instagram accounts. Most of these recommendations weren't taken very seriously. I mean they were jotted in memory but when faced with the places you are "supposed" to see you miss the far off places your friends have been before. Besides everything was mutual - all decisions of where to go, what to eat etc. Now all bets were off and I was hell bent on doing anything new. We always had our sleeping in, getting ready, daytime site seeing, afternoon augments and pity dinners. Now it was time for a much needed detour. Sora Lucia seemed like it came at the most opportune time.

A friend of ours recommended it. I was sitting on the bed having that unwanted discussion that she'd forced me to have. This was after parting ways on a bad note so I was really not interested. I just wanted to tune things out and get something decent to eat. He'd been spot on like that before. So many times. He seemed to always offer a great place to go. We'd both worked with him and he'd moved up to the city just like her. He typically invited her out amongst friends but she always declined. Even when I would visit the city she'd dodge his invitations when I was always open to going. Unlike others he actually was well-traveled and purely social. At the end of the day he had a girlfriend so what harm is in going out with a like minded colleague and his company? I never bothered asking her. And in this moment I wasn't including her. He had told me the spot, explained how he'd been there before and I accepted the challenge. It was like he'd given me a treasure map and I wasn't going to divulge where it was. 

So I took my third shower of the day, decided to wear my black bikini and my one backless dress. I then made my way down to Piazza Barberini. Once down to the touristy area I followed my screen shot map and intuition to his Sora Lucia. At this point I was very hungry, it was almost 8pm and I really needed to dine and get back to our hotel. The problem is I couldn't find the damn place. Looking for it was dizzying and I tried to find it at every angle. I wound up walking clear around the fountain, down back passages and smack dab into the fountain again but never found the restaurant. Now I was sweaty and parched. It was nearly 8:30pm. Soon I was desperate. I thought push come to shove, I can give up and just grab pizza somewhere. I then thought why miss this when I could ask someone, anyone. So I wandered the streets looking for an easy victim. I ran up on a crystal shop with what appeared to be some Vietnamese girls standing at the door. I walked in using my "excuse me" and showed them my map. Then I described the restaurant as best as I could. They all spoke a bit of English and walked me back to the door showing me the street signs and where to turn. About three alleys past the fountain I found the doormat to a small restaurant with about eight tables inside and three out. I was seated by an older woman who was very excited to have me. I don't think that poor lady knew just how relieved I was to have her.

I spent around an hour and a half at Sora Lucia. I drank two beers. I ordered a lovely fettuccine and shrimp with my choice of vegetable. I wanted to be different so I asked for the asparagus. This woman and what appeared to be her husband doted upon me the entire night. My shoulder was touched, my beer poured into a tiny cordial glass, the bread brought. Soon I was immersed into eating versus thinking and thoroughly enjoying myself. There was a mother and daughter dining to my right. A couple sat outside and quickly came inside to avoid the heat. Then two businessmen showed up that appeared to be regulars. They were sat at the end of one of the long tables in front of me. The lady immediately brought bread and opened a bottle of wine. The men then ordered and both of them looked at me. At first I thought they were scouring. Maybe they thought I was lady of the night. Maybe it was my skin color. They soon summoned the lady and they all were looking at me. Finally I was received with very kind eyes and smiles, they continued their meal. I think there was a general concern as to why I was alone. I believe the lady explained that I'd been there for some time and was quite comfortable. So for the remainder of the night I was given a smile every few bites and a nod with each sip. It was clear that I was sought after but also being watched. When I left the restaurant I chose to take the long way back and observed more of the same.

When I walked about I had men look behind me to see if I was accompanied. I never felt unsafe. I actually felt quite embraced. I was being greeted with "good nights" and sparkling eyes but in the most polite manner. There was no machismo to be had. I was never cat called. I was never grazed or grabbed. Much of the way was cleared and all I could feel was ease. I say this because there is a stigma that Rome is so terrible for women. In actuality the streets of Rome at night are safer than Vatican City by day. Makes me wonder because I wasn't entirely elegant with my afro puff and sweaty brow. However, I knew by their reactions that I was suitable which made me confident. That along with the two bottles of beer I'd downed was all I needed. I eventually ran inside a closing grocery store for a few bottles of Aqua Nepi to night cap. I then headed back to the hotel around 10:30pm. On the way I even found a shorter way back to the hotel. It was a very good night.

Once in she was sort of mum in bed and I just wanted to shower for the forth time. I then had a long sit with my water and the lemon I'd stolen at breakfast. I was able to get online and thank him for his much needed recommendation. I also went on to recommend Sora Lucia to another person visiting just days after us. Ultimately, it was very fulfilling to have made it out on the town and on my own. It was also a great feeling to have walked in his footsteps and countless others all looking for the same little gem. Days later more people walking in mine, ours and so on. Everyone having their own little taste of nostalgia and liberation - down the same cobblestone street, at that doormat and inside Sora Lucia. 

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