You see, right opposite our hotel was the neighbourhood Pasticceria, and each morning it called to me, to stock up on a few pastries, just in case the hunger pangs should strike mid-morning.
I got chatting to Marcella, the lovely lady who ran the pasticceria with her husband. I asked her how she came to speak such good English. She’d been brought up in Malta, she said, where English was their second language. But in 1965 she came to Rome to take over the shop with her husband, although it had been a cake shop long before that.
Her husband’s family were from the Molise region, near Abruzzo in southern Italy, a beautiful area with mountains, lakes and forests. Even the local church was hewn into the rockface. They spent several weeks there each August, in the house they had built for themselves.
All the delicious cakes and pastries were made in the small bakery out the back. You should have seen it here at Easter, she said, with all the chocolate eggs and animals made and decorated on the premises in their colourful cellophane and boxes.
It was not a large shop and yet the variety of cakes and pastries was amazing. Why cook a desert for dinner when you might pop in and buy some profiteroles, an almond tart or one of those creamy chocolate or orange gateaux in the fridge.
Since I’ve been back, I’ve been raiding the chocolate biscuits, but somehow it’s just not the same…
Pasticceria Saliola is very close to St Peter’s square,
Via Alcide De Gasperi, 19, 00165, Rome