Bedda Matri and Francesca the Artista

17 Aug

As long-time readers of my blog can attest, I love to be swept away by the magic of this city. It is everywhere, it’s just that so many people don’t open themselves to it. So here you go, another little sparkle.

Yesterday I was coming home from a meeting with a friend, and I was walking because my bus wasn’t coming. It’s August 16 in Rome, folks. This means it’s worse than, well, let me give you an audio-visual comparison:

Metaphorically speaking, allow me to say that if you stay in Rome in August, especially in the period just before and after August 15, you are essentially “digging your own grave” because you are going to be a bit alone. This city is deserted.

Oh, the joy of wordplay. Yes, desserted indeed. Because as I was walking home yesterday, past door after door after door of closed and barred up saloons, I spotted a beacon of light on the horizon. It was this little shop I’d seen hundreds upon hundreds of times from the bus window, but never stopped at because I had no need to. Bedda Matri. A Sicilian gelato and pastry shop. It caught my attention because, not only was it the only shop open for blocks, but it had a cute little crepe stand out in front, and I hadn’t eaten for hours, and suddenly, a Nutella crepe sounded just heavenly. I had to have one!

I ducked in and you can imagine my delight at finding this adorable, sparkly ragazza right about my age behind the counter, wearing all black, including a truly delicious black fedora. I was instantly attracted. As you may know, I love hats. And, as I am increasingly discovering, wearers of hats are very often very very interesting and singularly spectacular people. Witness. Trust. Sing it. Francesca, much like the compelling and mysterious Clint Eastwood in our opening credits, was certainly no exception.

I complimented her on her hat and I could see by her face that had caught her a bit off guard.

“What?” she said.

“I like your hat. A lot. It’s great!” I said.

She beamed. “Oh, ok. Grazie!” Love at first sight.

I told her I wanted a crepe, she said she’d have to heat up the machine. I said that was fine because I was in no hurry. “Where the heck am I going to go today?” I said. “No one is open!”

Oh, people. She and I start to chat. I don’t know how our conversation twisted and turned over valleys and hills in the span of minutes. We were enamored of each other. I know it was the hat.

Francesca whipped me up a delectable crepe, but first we talked like two long lost sisters from another mother for like 20 minutes. Twenty minutes in which I discovered that she’s also a painter, and I “confessed” that I read the tarot. (Like many people, she beamed with a curiosity that you know wants to be sated, but then immediately followed that glimmer of hope with “that’s interesting but the tarot scares me” which I hear so often now that I’m starting to believe it will ultimately become my swan song: Shelley translated images so that people no longer had to fear small pieces of colored cardboard.) Holy crepe, Batman!

Seriously. I am dying of the gorgeousness here.

Um a yum yum, three men in a … nevermind.

Francesca tells me that the “setteveli” cake is their best-selling item. Sara had a fantabulous post about the setteveli years ago, check it out.


No Sicilian pastry shop worth its ricotta would be without a cannolo fatto espresso. A “cannolo” is like a straw and they fill it with ricotta. You might know it as a kuhKNOWly.

Love this place, will be going back, again and again and again. You should stop in and say hi to Francesca. She is, in a word, delightful, and so is her shop.

Bedda Matri
Via Alessandro Severo, 240
Tel. 06 594 2104


7 Responses to “Bedda Matri and Francesca the Artista”

  1. Stacy di Anna August 17, 2013 at 3:21 pm #

    Love your line, “seriously. I’m dying of the gorgeousness here.” That sums up every precious moment I spent in Italy! Thanks for the awesome blog! – From a California girl who thinks about Italy every day. 🙂

  2. Un'americana a Roma August 17, 2013 at 4:02 pm #

    Awww…so dolce of you! This girl was a jewel, truly. You almost can’t go wrong with a stylishly-worn fedora. People with flair. The few, the proud.

  3. Gil August 17, 2013 at 8:03 pm #

    “Bedda” the one Sicilian word that my Neapolitan father knew and used frequently as that was his nickname for my mother! It means beautiful…..

  4. Peter Clemenza August 17, 2013 at 8:04 pm #

    Never underestimate the cannoli:

  5. Un'americana a Roma August 18, 2013 at 8:55 am #

    Aw, Gil, thank you! That was one thing in this post that I didn’t address, and I meant to but I forgot! That’s… well, beautiful! 😉

  6. Un'americana a Roma August 18, 2013 at 8:56 am #

    What an insanely “bedda”ful clip, Peter! Graziiii

  7. marthacurtisgarry October 19, 2013 at 6:22 pm #

    Love your blog…….. love the clip!! Love Rome! Do you belong to the MeetUp group “Expats in Rome”?

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