During my study abroad days, I visited Rome a handful of times. Each time was bliss.
I fell in love with the Eternal City for its history, its people, but also for how much Italians adore food. One of my favorite things to do there is people watch, watch locals digging into the delicious social act of having a good meal with good friends. After eight years, I felt the itch to go back, so I booked my ticket and decided to see a different side of the city. Less Spanish steps and more like 20,000 steps in search of the perfect al dente pasta plate.
Choosing the Roman Food Tour 🍴
While browsing a homestay on Airbnb, I decided to try out the new experiences portion of the site. Some cities may not have a dizzying offering of experiences to choose from yet, but Rome isn’t one of those places. From truffle hunting to wine tasting tours, there are dozens of food and drink tour options to take advantage of in Rome. The Roman Food tour, in particular, caught my eye when I saw Jess was an Italian American working for the company.
Disclaimer: This tour was part of a collaboration for this blog; all thoughts and opinions are my own.
The morning of the tour, I set out with an empty stomach (if you count one cappuccino as empty) against my hunger’s persistence. I knew I needed to save my appetite since the tour promised an impressive 20 gourmet food and wine tastings. I was so excited to taste Rome by eating our way through the neighborhood, talking to locals, and learning the different delicacies of Italy’s regions.
Down in the lower level of the Cipro metro, I joined two other American women from Florida and our lively guide, Raluca. The group was supposed to be larger but the other couples were no shows. More food for us so I wasn’t mad about it 😉
In an effort not to give away too much, I’ll cover the highlights of the day with you. What I enjoyed about this tour was that it got me off the beaten path to the part of Rome most tourists wouldn’t think to flock to.
We walked up the streets of Prati, a residential neighborhood just north of the Vatican. Its an area where the real Rome unfolds and spills out onto the streets in the form of eateries, markets, and gourmet shops. We stopped at restaurants and shops to meet food producers and vendors with a real passion for the craft of Italian cuisine.
Kicking off the food-filled day ☕️
What better way to get acquainted with Rome’s breakfast culture than by going to a real pasticceria? I love that coffee culture in Rome is a major social start to people’s day. Stand at the counter and get your croissant or a sweet treat with a perfectly frothed cappuccino (helpful tip: you’ll pay less at the bar than if you sit). As we savored the creamy and not-too-sweet treat, Raluca told stories of the origins of cannoli, originally from Sicily.
Foodie highlights of the day 🍴
- Starting off the morning by indulging in homemade cannoli.
- Finally trying Bonci’s famous pizza! The dough is famous – and so damn delicious – because it’s left to rest for 72 hours.
- Tasting 30-year-old balsamic vinegar with an assortment of cheeses.
- Eating famous Tenuta Vannulo buffalo mozzarella. This cheese is special because the cows used to make it are ultra pampered and only get milked when they’re good and ready.
- Visiting a historical market and tasting our hearts out among stalls of passionate food producers and vendors. We took our time to taste melanzane parmigiana, porchetta, cheese, natural wine, and more!
Ending off the tour at a real Roman institution
Most people would agree that having an engaging guide is make or break! I really appreciated that Raluca was full of energy and a true passion for the Italian food and history she was sharing with us. This tour is for people who aren’t picky and are up for eating abundant amounts of pasta, pizza, cheese, meat, sweets, and more. The portions are generous and the stops diverse. As for the price of the tour? 80 euros is more than fair for the amount of food you get! I was so full that even I ended up skipping dinner that night.
This tour was really an education in Italy’s history and how it has shaped the delicious cuisine I and millions and others have come to love. Buon appetito!
Tour duration: 4 hours, 6 gourmet venues
Cost: 80 euros
Group: Up to 12 people