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Rome for Hungry Travellers: How to Taste the City’s History

While you’ll find the most obvious relics from Rome’s past in the city’s squares, basilicas and ancient ruins, the food here also has a story to tell. Fresh, locally sourced ingredients have ruled Rome ever since there were laws governing how extravagant (or not) a meal could be – and over the years food has become not just a way to keep upright, but an expression of that famous Italian passion as well.

Fresh ingredients in Rome markets

Fresh locally sourced ingredients

Almost all of Rome’s most well known dishes hark back to a simpler way of life – when you ate whatever was available that season and sampled the flavors of the land. We think that’s a brilliant way to experience a country, so the next time you’re visiting, try some of these traditional dishes and get a feel for the real Rome. Your visit wouldn’t be complete without doing so!

Hungry Travellers Infographic by

Hungry Travellers Infographic by

Did you know…

  • It’s the wine and sage kick that gives the veal saltimbocca its Italian name, which literally translates to “jumps in the mouth”. Try it at Armando al Pantheon (Salita dei Crescenzi, 31).
  • Despite being thought of as a staple of Italian cooking, the humble tomato didn’t arrive in Italy until the 16th Century, when Columbus brought it over from America.
  • Carciofi alla giudia were first made in 1555, when Rome’s oppressed Jewish community were forced to live in ghettos, and artichokes were one of the few available ingredients. Try them in Nonna Betta (Via del Portico D’Ottavia, 16), Giggetto al Portico Ottavia (Via del Portico D’Ottavia 21/a-22) and Sora Margherita (Piazza delle Cinque Scole, 30)
Try carciofi all giudia at Nonna Betta

Nonna Betta

  • Rome’s most famous coffee house, Caffé Greco, opened in 1760, and is also thought to be the first one in Europe.  Also, don’t miss out on a sip of espresso (or cappuccino) at Sant’Eustachio (Piazza di Sant’Eustachio, 82) and Tazza d’Oro (Via degli Orfani, 84).
  • As well as being a good spot to eat trippa alla romana, the Testaccio district in Rome is home to Monte Testaccio. This is a mountain made of “amphorae” fragments – pottery containers that were mass produced in Ancient times and used to transport goods.
  • In Testaccio, some restaurants to check out are Checchino dal 1887 (Via Monte Testaccio, 30), Perilli (Via Marmorata, 39) and Flavio al Velavevodetto (Via di Monte Testaccio, 97).  To get a sense of living like a local, don’t forget to visit the new Testaccio market (between Via Luigi Galvani and Via Alessandro Volta) and while there, get sandwiches filled with trippa alla romana at Mordi e Vai.

See the full Hungry Traveller Guide to City Breaks infographic here and to find affordable hotel deals in Rome, check out the Hotels4U website.

Share with us in the comments below what are your favorite Roman dishes.

Disclosure: While this is a sponsored post, the recommendations of places to eat were provided by BrowsingRome. 

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