Last but not least, the cafeteria of Musei Capitolini did not feature on the list of the best cafes in Rome and was not suggested to me by anyone as a place to visit – it was simply a logical destination after a day of walking and sightseeing and specifically two hours of finding my way around the maze of the Capitolini museums whilst admiring thousands of the most beautiful sculptures from the ancient era. I was starving.
It was not easy to find the only place that served food there, as the direct corridor leading to the cafe from where I landed at the end of my tour was closed for renovation and I had to find a lift in another wing to take me there, which was not at all straightforward. When I finally got there, I was slightly put off, not feeling dressed properly for the quality of service, represented by the waiters – dressed in banquet uniforms. The place was very bright and quiet, and there were hardly any people there and I was worried they were about to close; but thankfully, they weren’t. Also I breathed more easily when I saw their selection of food: simple panini and salads, which normally would probably pose a disappointing choice, but at the time when I was too tired to think, a tuna sandwich was just what I needed.
Coffee was a more challenging choice – yes, this time I considered something more thrilling than an espresso or a marocchino. The menu adapted to the international clientèle and therefore was quite extensive; but the Caffe Capitolino caught my eye straight away, and my sixth sense must have kicked in, as when I asked what was in the coffee, the answer was: chocolate… I didn’t let the cashier finish speaking when I exclaimed, smiling : “I’ll have that!”
Despite the averageness of the ‘meal’, the coffee looked extraordinary in a cocktail-type stem glass. And to add to the experience, there was the view from the balcony where I was sat: absolutely stunning! It was a good enough reason on its own to pay the fee at the museum door – as if all the beautiful art that it contained wasn’t. The panino was maybe not glamorous but it was tasty; and the coffee? Divine. I did give in to the whipped cream because I thought I had deserved it, but it didn’t spoil the rest of the beverage: quite frankly, it was a marocchino, with slightly more chocolate in it than others that I had tasted.
Now, because one of the baristas saw me take a photo of it, he asked me to return to the bar after I had finished to try “the best cappucino in Rome” – and despite being quite full after my late lunch, I couldn’t say ‘no’ to such an offer! I couldn’t also objectively assess the claim, as I hadn’t tried a cappucino anywhere else in the city (although I would have had if Sciascia had been open when I tried to visit…!); but I can safely say it is worth recommending. Smooth and creamy like a flat white, but lighter; with the added sweetness of a Roman-barista charm.
All in all, Rome proved to provide an unforgettable mix of catharsis through art and indulgence through its coffee-culture; a mix that has raised the bar for any prospectus coffee-tasting experience. And it was perfectly encompassed on the terrace of Musei Capitolini, with the view overlooking the most stunning city I have visited so far.
But the quest continues…
http://en.museicapitolini.org/oltre_il_museo/caffetteria (the cafe page only in Italian)