A friend is planning a culinary vacation in Italy and using Rome as her base, she has asked if I could help with her itinerary. Here are some ideas which came to mind for her two-week holiday focused mainly on culinary experiences, with a few sprinkles of culture as well as time to chill. Before detailing the itinerary for the next 14 days, here are some general tips.
Places to Stay
For a two-week stay, I would recommend staying at apartments rather than hotels and preferably in central areas for example around Piazza Navona / Piazza di Spagna / Monti where it’d be easy to get around. Check with Go with Oh as they have some very pretty studios and also Cross-Pollinate which also offers B&B options.
The best way in getting Rome is on foot. That’s why staying in a central location is key. You can walk everywhere without being too dependent on public transportation. Of course, you will occasionally also take the metro, bus or tram but knowing you can walk back to your apartment can make a world of difference.
Based on the itinerary, you will only be staying in Rome a few days at a time, and would therefore suggest buying the BIT (Integrated Daily Tickets – more about this and taking Rome’ public transport here) and use them as and when needed.
Day 1: Made it to Rome!
Benvenuta a Roma! After a long flight, it’s time to just enjoy Rome and soak it all in! Stroll through the areas near Piazza Navona, Campo dei Fiori, Pantheon and find your way to Roscioli for dinner. Start your vacation on the right foot with some Roman dishes such as carbonara, cacio e pepe or amatriciana and though not Roman, their burrata is also worth a mention. Don’t order dessert as gelato is just a short walk away.
Head to Gelateria del Teatro for their watermelon granita and a whole range of innovative flavors (Via dei Coronari 65-66 or Lungotevere dei Vallati 25). If you’d rather a gelateria that’s nearer, V-ice (Corso Vittorio Emanuele II 96) or Gelateria Corona (Largo Arenula, 27 ) are good alternatives.
Day 2: Food Tour and Wine Tasting in Rome
Why wait? Let’s get you on a food tour that also includes pizza making! I’ve been on this food tour in Rome and my advice is skip breakfast and come with an empty stomach. Seriously, I am not kidding! Half way through the tour, I was full and there was still pizza, gelato and coffee!
After the feast, I don’t blame you for wanting to head back to your room/apartment for a nap. However, shopping maybe the antidote. From where the tour finishes, it is only a short walk to Via del Corso and you could easily spend the entire afternoon here. But don’t get too carried away, there’s a wine tasting that evening (depending on the day of the week)
Enjoy a lovely guided wine tasting in a wine studio near the Colosseum with knowledgeable professionals who will give you great insights into Italian wine. I’ve had a wine tasting with Vinoroma and was very impressed!
After the wine tasting, there’s no better way to end the evening than with dinner at one of my sister’s favorite restaurants, L’Asino D’Oro and then yes, you’ve got to have another gelato, and this time at Gelateria Fatamorgana (Piazza degli Zingari 5).
Day 3 – 5: Off to Tuscany
Sleep in this morning and take it easy. At noon take the train from Rome to Siena where you will spend the next 3 nights in a Tuscan villa cooking, eating, drinking and relaxing. Although I haven’t experienced this Tuscan cooking school first-hand, I know the people who manage this and can assure you that it will be an amazing experience.
The wonderful thing is they have a garden where you will get to pick tomatoes, fruits in season, can them and bring them back with you! And waking up in the Tuscan countryside with a lovely breakfast all spread out – that’s just too good to pass up on!
Day 6: Tuscany to Rome
You may feel a bit hesitant to leave the Tuscan countryside and head back to Rome (can’t blame you!) but there’s a real treat waiting. A visit to the Colosseum at night! Visiting the Colosseum itself is an incredible experience, but at night, it’s unforgettable.
Day 7: Explore Rome on your own
After a barrage of activities, (and having fun) you may want some time to chill and browse Rome on your own with no itinerary in mind. This evening may be a good time to dine at Rome’s only three-starred Michelin restaurant, La Pergola. Reservations are highly recommended.
Day 8: Day trip to Pompeii and Amalfi Coast
This day trip to Pompeii and Amalfi Coast is a long one – 13 hours. The transfer leaves Rome at 7.30am and the guide will meet you at Pompeii which is good – you could probably get to sneak in a nap before you get there.
After Pompeii, you will have lunch in Positano on the Amalfi Coast and a quick visit to the town before coming back to Rome. It’s tiring but it gives you a glimpse of the Amalfi Coast, which I guarantee is sure to charm you, and you’ll be back here really soon (start planning!)
Day 9: Scooter around Rome
Spend the morning scootering with Annie! You’ll love her energy and this is one exhilirating tour that will take you to neighborhoods and sights that might be difficult to get on foot. Oh and these places will offer you splendid views of Rome too. Tip: She also offers a Vespa food tour in neighborhoods outside historic center.
You’ll have the rest of the day free to pack and get ready for your trip to Puglia.
Day 10 to 12: Head to the heel of Italy – Puglia
Talking about getting off-the-beaten-path, few visitors know about Puglia, the heel of Italy’s boot. This region is known for its beaches, food and rich in culture. You’ll take a flight to Brindisi (fastest way) and transfer will be arranged to get you to Lecce (known as the Florence of the South) where you will be based for the next 3 days.
You will be cooking with local women at a local farmhouse, get to see how burrata is made, taste wines and olive oil, have a guided tour of Lecce, and more. We were in Puglia last year and met with Ylenia who is one of the friendliest people I’ve met. You’ll be in good hands.
Day 13: Back to Rome
Fly back to Rome by the afternoon and have the day to relax. Before you say goodbye to Rome, do yourself a favor and make dinner reservations at Metamorfosi. It’ll be a memorable ending to what has been an intense and delightful 14 days of culinary and cultural experience in Italy.
Day 14: Arrivederci Roma
I’m sure you will be back for more after this experience. This itinerary covers only a part of central and southern Italy and barely scratches the surface of what Italy has to offer. There’s still Emilia-Romagna, Umbria, and Sicily to name a few! There is that just so much to see, do and eat in Italy.
Are there any other culinary experiences you would recommend for my friend? Let me know in the comments below.