Most American tourists in Italy do the standard tour of Rome, Florence, and Venice, but, as wonderful as these cities are, it can be difficult to get a sense of the real country when you are elbow-to-elbow with other tourists. The next time you are in Rome, consider taking a day trip out of the city to nearby Anzio, where you will find an authentic sense of Italy, as well as one of the best meals of your life.
Anzio is a fishing port, so be prepared for a fantastic seafood experience. It is also the site of a crucial Allied victory during World War II, and cemeteries honoring the British and American soldiers lost in the battle are located in Anzio and nearby Nettuno, respectively. On the dock, there is a memorial to the soldiers which is a welcoming monument for American tourists.
Next to the memorial is Carlo Rinaldi's excellent restaurant, Barrmundi. Carlo is a charming, ebullient presence who will make even a solo traveler feel like the most important person in the room. Put yourself in his hands and let him create a dining experience you will never forget.The seafood arrives daily at the pier just feet from the restaurant, and the fresh pastas will make you realize the true definition of a perfect "al dente" preparation. Carlo will help you choose the right wine or prosecco to accompany the meal, and of course there will be delicious, delicate desserts to finish off the experience.
Anzio is an easy train ride from Rome, taking just about an hour, with tickets costing around $5 each way. You can easily make it down for lunch and back in the same day. However, after walking around the picturesque town, you may decide you'd prefer to stay in Anzio for a day or two and take the train into Rome for your sightseeing needs. Either way, you will be glad to have visited this small town and enjoyed a glimpse of the real Italy, without the filter of other American accents.