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Wine

When in Rome, drink what the Romans drink.

TravelCurious Tip

Buy by the bottle, rather than the glass, for better value.

Venerable viticulture

Wine has been popular with the Romans for over two thousand years. The Roman poet Horace, who witnessed Rome’s transformation from Republic to Empire, spoke of being particularly fond of Rome’s Falernian wines, which come from the slopes of Mt. Falernus on the border of the modern Roman wine region of Lazio and the southern region of Campania; other Roman writers who discuss wine and Roman methods of viticulture include Virgil, Pliny the Elder and Cato.

Wine was also produced by the Etruscans (modern Tuscany) in the north, and by Greek colonists in the south of Italy. Like the Greeks the Romans considered wine a daily necessity, not just for enjoyment but also for religious and medicinal purposes: wine was used for healing depression, gout and snakebites, though the Romans were also aware of its tendency to cause a kind of ‘madness.’ Religious sects in Rome, like the cult of Bacchus and later the Jews and Christians, valued wine for its spiritual qualities.

Through their campaign of conquest and the growth of the Republic and Empire the Romans soon controlled the Mediterranean territories which were the main wine producers. Wine was often flavoured with herbs such as thyme and lavender, and varied considerably in its alcohol content; it was sometimes diluted with warm water, and was a rather different drink to the wine we recognise today.

A nice Chianti

The Roman wine list has expanded considerably in recent years, and most labels will usually tell you where the wine was produced as well as the producer, grape and alcohol content. Rome’s main wine producing region is Lazio, home to an impressive 30+ DOC (Denominazione di Origine Controllata) varieties, many of which can be had at a great local price. The region is best known for its white wines from Castelli Romani and Frascati.

Nearly all menus will offer wines from Italy’s other popular districts. Another region famed for its whites is the nearby Campania: with these wines it tends to be the younger the better. Tuscany is Italy’s most famous producer and their Chianti is its most celebrated wine, made from a combination of four types of grape, dominated by the Sangiovese variety. With Tuscan wines, a cockerel on the label guarantees good quality.

Wines from Veneto in the northeast tend to be more full-bodied as the Amarone grapes are left to breathe in the sun for over two months, increasing the sugar concentration and alcohol content. Sicilian wines are characteristically sweet and produce the renowned Muscato Passito di Pantelleria. Piemonte wines are also sweet and have a very fruity taste; these are produced south of the Alps and are famed for their reds, in particular Barolo and Barbaresco. Piemonte wines from the years 1996-2000 are especially good.

Rome’s enoteche (wine bars) make for a wonderful evening: part bar, part restaurant, they range from smart and upscale to cheap and cheerful. Choose from a wide variety of wines to accompany your meal, and buy a bottle of your favourite to take home. Rome is the perfect place to go on a voyage of wine discovery.

Nearby Attractions

See all attractions in Rome
Aventine Hill
Amazing vistas across Rome, beautiful roses, and a secret keyhole with a special view of St. Peter’s.
Pyramid of Cestius
A rarely-visited tomb that is over 2000 years old, well preserved thanks to its part in the ancient city fortifications.
Porta Portese Market
A large and bustling flea market, held every Sunday in Trastevere.
The Garden of Oranges
A beautiful space named for its plentiful citrus trees, with fantastic views and important Dominican history.
Gelato Ice Cream
The world-famous Italian ice cream perfect on a hot day in the city.
Fontana dell'Acqua Paola
This Fountain owes its name to Pope Paul V after he restored it, it remains a picturesque spot to this day.

Related Tours

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

  • Experience Rome's best pasta dishes and wine at Flavio al Velavevodetto.
  • Sample Rome's amazing street food, including the famous 'suppli'.
  • Visit the unmissable Volpetti – a shrine to Roman food and excess.
  • Savour the very best Tiramisu from local pastry shops.  
  • Learn how to discern real gelato from the fake stuff.
  • Try one of Rome's most beloved pizza places.
Take a bite out of one of Rome’s tastiest neighbourhoods with this foodie tour through the enchanting local area of Testaccio. 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.

Take a break from the popular tourist attractions and plunge into the Eternal City’s wine and food culture epicentre – expect to find a new favourite food before your tour is done! Buon appetito!
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. 
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