Friday, June 16, 2017
200 Views of Rome: Palazzo Barberini Cafe
It may be hard to leave a review for The Palazzo Barberini Cafe on TripAdvisor or anywhere else on the Internet because, sadly, there is, as such, no Palazzo Barberini Cafe. Rather there is a sort of empty, large stone vestibule tucked up against Bernini's notable staircase in the Barberini Palazzo. And there, against a wall, is all we really have of a cafe: an espresso dispensing machine.
I love that espresso machine!
My god the hours of fun my wife and I had at that espresso machine. Well maybe not hours exactly. It was great though. It had all these drinks, I mean, espresso, sure, but every weird variation one could think of too, with mochas and cappuccinos and maybe even some fake milks. Dozens of buttons to push. Luckily I often had a pocket full of change and it would be empty by the time we would leave that fantastic machine. Put in the requisite coins, make your selection, and down plops the cup. Weird complicated sounds, frothings, steamings, gurglings, issue forth from deep in the machine, human, animal, espresso bar, mad sounds. Espresso, frothy espresso squeezes out of the machine into the cup. Then, if you went fancy, more things, more whirrings and gurglings, agitating and cajoling. A tiny spoon hilariously spits into the cup. Wild, magical things happen. It is the most entertaining machine in the world!
Once Italian men in suits came and got drinks and walked off with them. One man had a special card that held a credit for the machine. He even tried to get us a drink. He might have been running out of credit. It might have been half successful. It might have been our eleventh drink. What a nice man. He might have been touched by our love radiating so wildly towards the machine.
Were the drinks any good?
Oh no, god no. The espresso could be drunk only with a strong will. Everything else was truly repulsive and absolutely had to be thrown away after a mere sip.
Imagine if they had a real cafe there at the Barberini. Imagine if one could get a really good cappuccino sitting at a small table by Bernini's stairs. What a great cafe it would be in such a place. What a glowing review I could give it! I would give it five stars.
Which is exactly as many as I give to this machine.
Which makes one understand why sometimes Romans don't put in the effort. What, after all, is there to strive for?