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Feb 12, 2013 12:33 PM

Rome during the Papal conclave

The best laid schemes of mice and men...right?

My husband and I, along with our two teenagers, arrive in Rome on Saturday, March 9th. We will be leaving on Friday, March 15. Our hotel is in the centro storico neighborhood. This is our second trip to Rome; The last in June 2009.

We had planned to make a few reservations and then let serendipity take care of the other meals. Now it seems that we should plan as if we are vacationing during the high season and make more reservations accordingly. We are cautiously optimistic that the Vatican will be open and our Scavi Tour will remain uncancelled.

With that in mind...Plan A:

Some choices are sentimental and/or convenient. Others based on CH recs, Eat Rome app, and Rome Foodie App. (Or, a combination of all the above.)

Sat, Mar 9, dinner: Osteria dell'Ingengo (Close to our hotel.)

Sun, Mar 10, lunch: Taking the Tram down to Cesare Casaletto
dinner: Li Rioni for Pizza

Mon, Mar 11, lunch: Nerone (maybe)
dinner: Roscioli

Tues, Mar 12, Scavi Tour day, lunch: Il Matriciana (husband's choice)
dinner: Boccondivino (maybe?)

Wed, Mar 13, lunch: L'Asino D'Oro
dinner: Renato e Luisa

Thur, Mar 14, lunch: Rolling the dice for this one
dinner: Armando al Pantheon (husband's choice)

Any coments would be GREATLY appreciated. My kids will eat anything but blue cheese (?)...not worried about them. Our choices seem a bit heavy on cucina romana, but I'm ok with it (I think?). I may throw Checchino dal 1887, L'Arcangelo, and Antico Arco in to the mix (depending on how much my husband wants to loosen the money belt).

Also, what can we anticipate being in season at this time?

Thank you in advance. And...this plan could all go to Hell should the Papal conclave be that week.

Mary B.

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  1. Do you know something the rest of us don't? Or maybe I've not been following the news.

    Looks to me like there is going to be a closed-door business meeting in the Vatican in March, across the river from Rome. Maybe it will attract a crowd of media, but they tend to eat at the most touristy places, so I wouldn't worry much about your choices.

    If all else fails, everything in the Jewish ghetto will be carrying on as normal.

    1 Reply
    1. re: barberinibee

      "Do you know something the rest of us don't? Or maybe I've not been following the news."

      The election of a new Pope brings tons of Catholics from all around the world to Rome. Rome will be a zoo come papal election time.

    2. Did you actually say Hell and Papal Conclave in the same sentence?!

      You are right to be concerned about getting into the Vatican. Once the conclave starts, then the Sistina will definitely be closed. As will other parts of the Vatican. Also, since the election is likely to attract hundreds of thousands of people (Yes, Berninibee, it will be a huge impact on the city) that may effect your plans as well.

      All your choices seem like good ones. My only comment would be to choose another place for dinner on your first night. Ingengno is more of a lunch place (at least in my opinion)

      5 Replies
      1. re: minchilli


        Bet you a suppli the impact is negligible across the Tiber. Check in after it's over.

        1. re: barberinibee

          believe me the press and all the faithful that will want to be there for this historic event will not be staying in Prati and they will need to eat

          why would it be different from any other major Conference, holiday, Jubilee or other event that fills up the City in a major way? We were there for the Millenium, among other times, there were a lot of people but also we ate just fine, so I wouldnt stress too much.

            1. re: barberinibee

              Sounds to me like it is going to be pretty hectic here.


              The farther from the Vatican the calmer it should be.


            2. re: minchilli

              Thanks for the info on Ingengno. I think I'll switch it out for Nino. Both are close to our hotel. If everything goes well with our flight/customs/ride to hotel, we might be able to hit Ingengno our first day for lunch.

              And...yes, yes I did use Hell & Papal conclave in the same sentence...Heaven help me.

            3. We were actually in Rome during the last Conclave. Fortunately we arrived just after the funeral crowds had disbursed, and since we had the luxury of a 2-week trip, we avoided the Vatican entirely until the present pope was elected. Even then, the Vatican was very crowded--although I would expect less so this time with a papal resignation rather than a death. I don't remember any difficulties with restaurant reservations, but my kids were much younger then, so we mostly had lunch out and dinner at our apartment. What I do remember being difficult was transportation generally. My husband wanted to fly up to Piemonte alone one weekend to visit friends, and he had to pull strings with a carabinieri colonel we know to get there.

              1. It looks like the concave will start right after your stay.

                1 Reply
                1. re: vinoroma

                  But people will probably start arriving a couple of days earlier. Still, the OP has luckily dodged the proverbial bullet pretty much.