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Food

Italian cuisine is the most popular in the world, but there's much more to it than just pizza and pasta.

TravelCurious Tip

Dine alfresco in one of the city’s squares for a truly Roman summer evening.

Not built in a day

The Italians are famous for many things, but possibly one of their most widespread influences in the world has been their cuisine. Italian cooking has crossed oceans, and today you can hardly go anywhere without finding pasta on the menu.

The Roman love for food goes back a long way: in ancient Rome dinner time at any patrician’s house was an event full of feasting, entertainment and indulgence in all appetites. The meals would last hours and were extravagant affairs. There were courses of bizarre and exotic food, like peacock, heron, flamingo (with the plumage meticulously reattached for display) and camel’s feet. There were acrobats, fire-breathers and dancers to entertain the guests while they awaited the next course.

Today most Italian mealtimes are a bit less decadent. The traditional Italian meal as we know it was born on the table of the medieval peasant. In the Middle Ages meat was scarce and so the poor would toss pasta, which was cheap and filling, in the same sauce in which the meat was cooked, thus giving it more flavour. The history of pizza goes back as far as the ancient Greeks, who cooked flatbreads topped with herbs, onions and garlic; this too became a popular cheap and nourishing peasant dish.

Tradition reigns supreme

Modern Italians have held onto a formal meal structure of multiple courses, and you will find all of these listed on any menu in Rome. First there is Antipasti, which is the appetiser; it is also perfectly acceptable to order these for lunch. Next you have the Primi, the first course, usually a pasta dish or risotto or soup - be warned that lasagne is prebaked to order in a lot of places and may not be as fresh as other items on the menu. Then there is Secondi, the second course, which is meat or fish, with seafood that bit more expensive. It is worth noting that you will typically be served exactly what you order – no sides. If you want a side dish you can order from the Contori section of the menu.

Roman pizza is distinguished from the thick Neopolitan pizza by its thin, light and crispy base which is slightly charred at the edges. You can get pizzas in most restaurants, and also buy it by the slice in various pizzerias around the city. For dessert (Dolce), you can order favourite Italian inventions like tiramisu and, of course, gelato (ice cream). Dessert is generally accompanied by an espresso. In order to wash all this down you can order a Digestivo, a small liqueur of grappa, sambuca or limoncello. And, of course, the meal should be accompanied by a good bottle of Lazian wine.

The Romans take food seriously and they do it well. Freshness, simplicity and tradition are what you’ll find on the basic trattoria menu, with dishes in common that have hundreds or even thousands of years behind them. Don't miss the chance to eat like a Roman during your stay in the Eternal City.

Nearby Attractions

See all attractions in Rome
Piazza Navona
A lovely square on the former site of the Stadium of Domitian, boasting wonderful Baroque fountains.
The Church of Sant'Agnese in Agone
A beloved Baroque church set in Piazza Navona.
Caravaggio
An artist who heavily influenced Baroque painting whose pieces are found all around Rome.
Homemade gnocchi
A classic Italian-style dish made with potatoes and accompanied with tomato sauce usually served in Sunday lunches with the family.
Homemade meatballs
A classic Italian dish that can be made of different kinds of meat such as beef or pork, usually accompanied with pasta and tomato sauce.
Cook with a 'nonna'
Nonna is the Italian word for grandmother, and she is the soul of every Italian family.

Related Tours

A Taste of Rome Private Walking Tour: Eat Like An Italian
Munch your way through this tantalising food tour of Rome.

  • Meet your guide at your hotel, if you opt for hotel pick up and enjoy a quick transfer to the start of your tour.
  • Begin your day at the market in Campo De' Fiori, where your senses will come alive with all the smells, tastes, and colours.
  • Learn the history of the bustling area, including the darker side of history which include public executions in the square.
  • Enjoy an easy stroll through quaint Trastevere, where Julius Caesar built his garden villa, and indulge in bites as you go. 
  • Your tour finishes in an area of the city known as the Jewish Ghetto, where massive ruins from over two millennia ago will be the backdrop to our final tastings of the tour. 
Take a bite out of one of Rome’s tastiest neighbourhoods with this foodie tour through three enchanting areas of Rome. This is a great opportunity to experience authentic Italian cuisine and learn about the country’s delectable wines, whilst encountering a part of the city that is Rome through and through. Embrace the smells, buzz and charm of a neighbourhood where ordinary people live, eat and shop. Your tour guide will take you to the best local eateries, markets and shops, where you will not only get the chance to taste the delicacies but also learn about the people behind the magic. Understand the traditions and values that have produced such tasty good food for generations and see why Italian cuisine continues to be the trend setter for what we enjoy eating and cooking today. You will also have the chance to visit many key landmarks and sights and learn about the fascinating stories behind them.
In Vino Veritas Private Walking Tour: An Evening Wine Tasting
This introductory tour to Roman wine will entice your palate, educate you about wine, cheese and meat pairings and help you choose the right bottle when you get back home – and it’s all set in the stunning evening setting of central Rome. 

  • Sample delicious cheese, meat and other side plates to go with your wine.
  • Learn about how Roman cuisine has evolved over time.
  • Explore the old and elegant Piazza Farnese.
  • Hear stories from over 2000 years of Roman history.
  • Easily adaptable for vegetarian tourers.
Through this three-hour tour, not only will you will learn about how Roman cuisine and palate has evolved over time, but also you will get to sample delicious wine and food. In the wine shops visited, you will try a glass of Prosecco; learn about the traditional pairings of red and white wine with cheese and meat; and sip on two glasses of amazing red and white wine. After several hours of drinking wine, sampling tasty food and learning about the history of one of the longest-held traditions of the Roman people, there’s no doubt you’ll come away feeling pleasantly warm and satisfied. 
Trastevere Small Group Food Tour
With its narrow cobblestone streets and strong sense of communal spirit, Trastevere is a must-see for any visitor to Rome. At night, it is a wonderful festive hangout for tourists and locals alike, with musicians playing in its narrow, winding backstreets and squares and diners and pleasure seekers spilling out from restaurants and bars. On your small group tour, you and up to 7 others, will:

  • Sample the freshest ingredients on several tastings throughout the course of the evening
  • Indulge in a sit down meal at a local, family-owned restaurant frequented by locals. 
  • Learn what 'suppli’ are and why the locals love them.
  • Enjoy classic Romano food - like cacio e pepe or Amatriciana.
  • Taste the best pastries around and meet the neighbourhood’s resident pastry chef of 40 years.
  • Learn about (and taste!) the real-deal gelato.
  • Sample award-winning local homemade desserts and visit authentic, old wine cellars.
On this evening  food tour, your local expert guide will show you the best of Trastevere’s food scene: from family-run pastry shops and delicatessens to gelato and wine. Meet the people behind the magic and immerse yourself in this area’s wonderfully preserved food traditions with several tastings throughout the walk.  

On the way, you will have the opportunity to stop by local churches and squares - your guide will provide you with a fascinating local insight into this neighbourhood’s history and traditions and how they have had an impact on food culture. With your small group experience, you can enjoy a tailored, adaptable experience - and be entertained by your new friends along with your local guide. Receive  the best local advice for what to do and see for the rest of your stay. Get away from the tourist areas of Rome and spend a fascinating, indulgent day in one of Rome’s most historic areas - this is an evening not to be missed!
Eat and Cook like an Italian Private Experience - Pizza and Gelato Class
Enjoy a fantastic foodie experience as you discover the secrets behind the best Italian dessert, the gelato, and prepare and bake a pizza. 

  • Begin your delectable experience at a historical trattoria 
  • Meet your chef and discuss tips & techniques of traditional Italian recipes 
  • Bake your own pizza and season it with a choice of fresh ingredients  - from basil to  salsiccia
  • Indulge in your wood-fire pizza, with a soft drink to wash it down 
  • Walk off the calories on a short walk to the gelateria 
  • Learn how Italians prepare gelato, before making your own 
Accompanied by your private guide, head to a historical trattoria in Rome and meet the chef, who will teach you how to bake a pizza according to the traditional Italian recipe. Season your own pizza with delicious, fresh ingredients and put it in a wood-fired oven for a perfect cooking. Enjoy the pizza you’ve prepared with your family and friends, accompanied by a soft drink. 

Enjoy a short walk in the city center before heading to your gelato class. Reach a typical roman “gelateria”, an artisanal workshop that has recently been renovated. Engage in a funny, entertaining activity and learn how Italian people prepare the famous gelato. 

 Make your own ice cream following the traditional Italian techniques and recipes and enjoy it with your family.

We built this tour because who wouldn't want to learn how to make their own pizza in Rome?!
Progressive Dining Evening (Group Tour)
With an expert foodie as your tour guide, you’ll sample plenty of Italy’s delicacies— more than enough food for dinner- while you enjoy the beautiful streets of Rome at dusk, away from heat and manic traffic. This is a fun and exciting way to taste many types of Italian food in one night, and do some sightseeing along the way. 

  • Taste true Roman-style pizza 
  • Enjoy pasta dishes sampling carbonara and amatriciana 
  • Sample a wine tasting with a unique variety of local meats and cheeses 
  • Finish up with an unforgettable typical Italian gelato
    
    

Our Rome Progressive Dining food tour is about indulging the senses, but our experience isn’t limited to food and wine. In between stops, enjoy an interactive city tour with your informative and entertaining tour guide. Visit Rome’s most authentic areas, such as Campo de Fiori and Jewish Ghetto. Whether you’re an intrepid novice or a serious Italian food enthusiast, you will enjoy this sophisticated but informal food adventure that takes you around Rome to celebrate its cuisine and the story behind it, feeling and eating like a true Roman. 

*The Food consumed on the tour ranges from various types of pork to cheeses of cow, sheep and goat milk.

We built this tour because Rome has the finest Italian food in the world, and so it helps to be guided in order to unravel culinary gems. 
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