The sun was shining, the sky was blue and the weather was warm in Rome when I woke up this morning. I’m lucky enough to have been here once before, and in a 2-day whirlwind saw every single historical Roman landmark, museum and notable piazza that exists. I’m exhausted just thinking about it. And that why this time around I have absolutely no intention of doing anything besides spa-ing, eating and having as much fun as possible.

I wandered out my door around 11 am to Villa Borghese, a famous park to the north of city center, with the only real goal of the day being to somehow end up at a spa. After an hour of strolling aimlessly, I left the park heading in no particular direction and spotted a dapper old man sitting outside at a restaurant who looked like he jumped out of Alice in Wonderland. Pinstriped Cavalli suit, pink and purple socks, a tie that matched his trendy Carrera sunglasses, and an affable presence impossible to miss. We made eye contact, exchanged ciaos, and he immediately invited me to sit down and join him. This is not uncommon in Rome. Everyone here is so friendly. Makes New York feel kind of like an endless first day of high school.

His name is Benito Guida but you can call him Bene, a chain-smoking psychology professor and a board member of some important social/government association in Rome, details unclear, and he spoke absolutely no English. I only knew these facts because we were joined by his sweet friend Stefania who could translate. Over peach bellinis and Apertivo, Bene said he thinks he is my father, and I told them I was in Italy on a spa blogging trip. Then within moments, out of thin air, Bene pulled out this pamphlet:

What are the chances that his Secret Society has ties with Victoria Regeneration Spa, one of the most famous spas in Italy? 100%.

Stefanio told me that Bene would like to take me to the spa, but only after taking me for a lunch of pesce. That is if I didn’t have plans, and if I like pesce. This deal was done. Was this actually for real?

Bene paid the bill and escorted me into his little black Mercedes. It’s funny to see a Mercedes that’s trying to be a Smart Car. Why not just be a Honda? No, this is my Sugardaddy we’re talking about. And off we went.

I had assumed the spa was somewhere in Rome because the pamphlet said so. How silly of me. “Rome is such a big city!” I said after driving for a while. “How strange, I didn’t know there are highways and airports in the middle of Rome…” He then said something about Napoli. “Are we going to Napoli? Where exactly IS this spa?” After his 28th cigarette, another 80s Italian CD and a brief vision of myself being shipped to Croatia in a cardboard box at one of his Association meetings, we arrived in a peaceful, kind of ritzy coastal town of the Mediterranean Sea called Fiumicino. He pulled up right in front of the Yacht Club of Rome.

You should know that Bene drives and parks wherever he pleases. He has a handicap sticker (he knows people) which apparently means he can drive on the wrong side of the road at any speed (I held on tight) and park in the pedestrian area in front of the Yacht Club. Or maybe that’s because he’s Bene. As we walked in, everyone knew him. He was a big deal around there.

They sat us at a table on the water and Bene did the ordering. I replied si to everything the waiter asked, and this is what it looked like. First… the Prosecco and this antipasta, which was just for me. Six tastes of fish, each one more savory than the last. If you know anything about me you know I love tastes, so this was absolutely perfetto.

Then came the main courses. His was shrimp and squid prepared in various ways; mine was the absolute best pasta I’ve ever tasted–al dente spaghetti with a buttery clam sauce and deliciously strong seasoning. I ate until I couldn’t eat no more. Italy indeed! I was a little upset that Bene didn’t offer me a bite of his dish after he took a bite of mine. But then…

…out came the exact dish he had, except just for me. With a salad. He sat while I ate all over again. Succulent, flavorful and fresh from the water we were looking at.

And then… dessert. He got 2 miniscule cappuccinos for him, and the sampler platter for me. Decadent sugary Italian goodness. I was on a total foodie high!

After lunch we sat and chatted with the table next to us for a good half hour, but all I could think about was THE SPA. Here I was, just moments away from what I was sure was going to be a similar 5 course experience and the equally most ultimate blog post. Bene would say in Italian “Please take her into your hands and give her your 4 best treatments while I smoke 2 packs of cigarettes laying by your pool.” I could smell the massage oil already!

When we finally got there, it went a little differently. Bene arranged for one of the English speaking therapists to give me a tour of the spa. No treatments? What??? “But… Bene!” I smiled. “We should get massages! Don’t you think?” It was useless. He didn’t speak English, remember? Had I known in advance I would have tried to arrange a press visit, but now it was too late.

The spa was every bit as gorgeous as the photos. The tour was like dangling candy in front of a child! Oh really, that bed fills up with water to surround you during a massage? SHOW ME!! I was too traumatized to even tweet about it. I mean, I know I can’t complain, and I’m definitely not complaining, but it was a shock to the system to have to realize that this dream of a spa day wasn’t anything more than a tour with paper shower caps on my shoes.

It was an absolutely breathtaking facility overlooking Mediterranean Sea, and downstairs was a dark space with chromotherapy (colorful lights) and many hot and cold showers, saunas and steam rooms.

And then the Professor drove me back to Rome. The End.

Well, for now at least. Stay tuned, because if we weren’t lost in translation, it’s possible that Bene said that he will take me back there next weekend for an ACTUAL spa day, his treat. Boy I hope so… if it happens you will be the first to know!!

Today’s WIN ITALIA question:

If you could spend a day at any spa in the entire world, which would it be? Comment/Facebook or Tweet me!  Contest Details


2 Responses

  1. diane

    Grand Wailea Resort Hotel & Spa — it's in hawaii! i don't knoww alot abt spas, but this one seemed nice.. or one in greece or something


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