Back to the Start with GastronoMel – In Italy

Every blogger made the decision to start their blog. What we wanted to know was how they decided what would be their first post – and to reflect on something that has been hidden in their archives ever since. Sharking for Chips & Drinks are running the feature ‘Back to the Start’ over the next few weeks where we will introduce you to bloggers from Melbourne, Australia and much further afield. These are all great bloggers so I suggest you subscribe to their blog and follow them on Twitter.


GastronoMel BloggerA passionate food lover, I started a food & travel blog some years ago when embarking on a 4 week trip to Italy. On an earlier overseas trip, armed with just a Palm Pilot (remember those, before Ipads?) we sent back long emails to friends and family each few days chronicling our adventures which were really well received.

I taught myself how to use WordPress, which I love for its simplicity, with the ability to upload content and pictures on the go, using just an iPhone. I set up the blog just days before we left for Rome, and my first official post (apart from a brief introductory test post) as a blogger was on August 14, 2010, and was entitled ‘Ciao Roma’.  Looking back at that post I can almost smell the rosemary in the gardens of the hotel we stayed at in Trastevere. The photo of Rome’s rooftops in the late afternoon sun, taken from our hotel, is still one of my favourite pictures I’ve ever taken with my phone.

I have always had to explain apologetically to people that I am obsessed with taking photos of my food. I started using Facebook back in 2007, and  when I got my first phone with a camera in it, my Facebook page was doomed. My friends started jokingly referring to my food photos as ‘foodporn’ and I became known for sharing pics of where we’d been eating. This fuelled my passion for  blogging, as people seemed to really enjoy it, and I constantly get asked for recommendations, which I love. My 8 year old son and husband know to wait until I’ve photographed our meals before they start eating!

The name for my blog came from wanting something that represented a love of food, ie Gastronomy, as well as my name, Melissa which is also shares the first 3 letters of my home town of Melbourne.  It had a nice ring to it, and now that  @gastronomel is my Twitter handle as well it’s an easy one to remember.

GastronoMel Blogger

My First Post

Ciao Roma

We arrived early at Hotel Donna Camilla Savelli in Trastevere and headed straight to the beautiful garden for breakfast in the sunshine, surrounded by olive trees and rosemary bushes against salmon rendered walls and white shuttered windows, church bells tolling softly in the background. A special mention to our lovely travel agent Caren Cassidy in Melbourne, for finding this gorgeous hotel, which we would recommend without hesitation!

Our first espressos tasted like liquid gold to these weary travellers! A quick refresh and we were in amongst it, and headed straight to the Colosseum, after which we made for Piazza Navona, for pizza margarita and some people watching.

We then made a coffee pilgrimage to Sant Eustachio il Caffe, where we sampled possibly the best short black the world has ever known. The crema was like aerated froth and it hit the bloodstream faster than you could say ‘all hail the barista’!

By now despite the caffeine intake, the jet-lag was making its presence felt so it was back to the hotel for a recharge, then we headed to the roof terrazze for a view of Roma that took the breath away, with the late afternoon sun playing off the terra-cotta walls.

A pleasant meander through ivy clad cobbled laneways and we found the Piazza Santa Maria, full of outdoor trattorias with red and white checked tableclothes, complete with accordion-playing locals. Cliched perhaps but perfect nonetheless.

A decent veal saltimbocca, some outstanding polpetti and an affogato finished off our first day and we traipsed back to the Hotel Donna Camilla Savelli humming ‘O Sole Mio’, well and truly ready for bed.

GastronoMel Blogger

GastronoMel Blogger

GastronoMel Blogger


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3 thoughts on “Back to the Start with GastronoMel – In Italy

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