Solo in Roma for Pranzo (lunch). It was raining and I debated about grabbing a panino or finding a a small and cozy place to tuck in for a nice long lunch. I sat across the street earlier having a cappuccino with one of my valued vendors and spotted the perfect spot…Armando al Pantheon just minutes from my hotel. I strolled across Piazza della Rotunda under my umbrella and upon being greeted I said, “Vorrei tavolo per un favore”. The place was a full and bustling little place with only room for maybe 35 patrons and luckily one empty table in the middle. A perfect spot…family run with 3 generations from the kitchen to the waiters. After hearing about the specials I knew my rainy day was being transformed into an engaging experience. Being alone I had the opportunity to observe the waiters interacting with their customers sharing their recommendations with enthusiasm and pride and seeing the satisfaction on the faces of their customers as they took their first bite. I was delighted to see one of my favorite wines on the menu from Tenuta Valdipiatta in the Tuscany region I would be visiting in a few days and ordered a half bottle. I struck up a conversation with the table of 4 next to me, a delightful couple traveling with their 2 adult daughters. They had visited the restaurant 2 or 3 times, and happily recommended several dishes. Suddenly I wasn’t alone but part of an Italian scene talking about food, wine and our mutual love of all things Italian. Waiters were attentive and kind checking in to be sure all was “buono”. This is what I so love about Italy, engage and you will be welcomed and given an experience of a lifetime. Soon to return!