Whether you’re just in Rome for 24 hours, or are spending a couple of weeks traveling around Italy, you’re sure to want to see, do and eat the best that the city has to offer. Our Foodie Guide to Rome offers you insider’s tips on how to make the most of your visit. We’ve gathered together our favorite attractions, restaurants, bars and places to stay in Rome, as well as our very own shortlist of not-to-be-missed food and drinks! (PS. Want to be shown around Rome by a local and taste the best of the city? Then book one of our food tours or culinary activities!)
Essential Food and Drinks to Try in Rome
This bite-sized snack is filled with mozzarella cheese surrounded by a mixture of risotto, egg and tomato sauce, which is then coated in breadcrumbs and deep-fried. Watch as the soft mozzarella becomes stringy between each bite. People used to say they resembled telephone lines, hence the name Suppli al telefono. Tip! You can taste suppli’ on our Trastevere for Foodies Tour!
For those whose favorite part of the pizza is the crust, pizza bianca is a gift from heaven. Served al taglio (by the slice), this flatbread is topped solely with olive oil and a sprinkling of salt. Unlike the round thin-crust pizzas served at restaurants, pizza al taglio is thick and rectangular. Customers indicate what size slice they want, which is then weighed, folded in half and wrapped up for take-away.
Crostata di Ricotta
Crostata di Ricotta is the Roman version of cheesecake: a baked tart filled with sweetened ricotta cheese. This dessert dates way back: ancient Romans would mix honey with their sheep’s milk ricotta to satisfy their sweet tooth. Pasticceria “Boccione” Limentani was featured in the New York Times for their delicious baked goods. Try crostata on our Testaccio Supper Stroll!
Coda alla Vaccinara
For meat lovers only, the oxtail in this traditional stew is cooked for 4 hours until it becomes delectably tender. Before World War II, slaughterhouses would pay their employees with unwanted scraps of the oxen. Families had to get creative with their cooking, which resulted in some of the most savory dishes in Rome. Try oxtail on our Testaccio Supper Stroll!
Cacio e Pepe
Another spaghetti dish, this time with olive oil, pecorino cheese and freshly ground black pepper. When cooking Cacio e Pepe, black pepper out of your normal shaker just won’t do. For the spicy, flavorful taste that the dish deserves, freshly ground peppercorns are a must. Anthony Bourdain went crazy for this dish when he visited Rome on his show “No Reservations.” Try cacio e pepe on our Taste of Testaccio Food Tour.
For a pasta dish with a little zest, try bucatini alla’amatriciana. The spicy tomato sauce made of red chili peppers, guanciale (cured pork jowl), and pecorino cheese will have you asking for seconds and thirds. This dish originated in a tiny mountain town called Amatrice, about 100 miles from Rome. As with everything else, the Romans made it their own by adding onions, garlic, white wine, basil and sage.
Artichokes are so popular in Rome that there are not one, but two traditional methods of preparation. In the first, Carciofi alla Romana, the artichokes are slowly cooked in olive oil until they are soft. In Carciofi alla Giudia, the Jewish method, they are deep fried twice until the leaves become brown and crispy. Although artichokes are native to the Mediterranean area, most are now grown in Italy. The country is responsible for almost two-thirds of the world’s artichoke production. You’ll get to try Jewish-style artichokes on our Twilight Trastevere Food Tour!
Like ice cream, but richer, denser, and with a lower fat content. Legend has it that ancient Romans made the first gelato by adding fruit to snow from the mountains. It has evolved a great deal since then, and is now made mostly from milk, sugar, and other natural flavorings like fruit, nuts or chocolate. Taste the best gelato of your life on our Taste of Testaccio Food Tour!
Pasta alla Carbonara
Spaghetti topped with a creamy sauce of pecorino cheese, eggs, black pepper and bacon (or pancetta or guanciale). There are many myths as to the origin of the name Carbonara, which is derived from the Italian word for charcoal. One account is that the dish began as a filling meal for coalminers. Another legend says that it was originally prepared over charcoal grills. A far more thrilling rumor credits an Italian secret society, the “Carbonari,” with its invention. Countless tour guides point out La Carbonara in Campo de’ Fiori as the originators of the dish, but the restaurant itself claims no such title. Nevertheless, their pasta is mouthwatering.
Rome’s Best Restaurants
For authentic roman-style pizza in the heart of bustling Trastevere.
Viale di Trastevere 53/57
+39 06 580 0919
Open: Thu – Mon 6.30 pm – 2 am; Tue 6.30 pm – 12 midnight;
Enjoy real-deal pizza in an area around the Colosseum (but this is no tourist trap!).
Via S. Quattro 24
+39 06 7045 0605
Open: Wed – Mon 7 pm – 12 midnight
Da Enzo al 29
Our favorite hole-in-the-wall local trattoria in Trastevere.
Via dei Vascellari 29
+39 06 581 2260
Open: Mon – Sat 12.30 – 3 pm & 7.30 – 11 pm
Flavio al Velavevodetto
Real cucina romana in a unique, historic setting deep in the Testaccio neighborhood.
Via di Monte Testaccio 97
+39 06 574 4194
Open: Daily 12.30 – 3 pm & 7.30 – 11.30 pm
Jewish-roman cuisine in the ghetto doesn’t get better than this.
Via del Portico d’Ottavia 16
+39 06 6880 6263
Open: Daily 11 am – 11 pm
Osteria der Belli
Roman classics, homemade pasta, fresh seafood and more!
Piazza Santa Apollonia 9
+39 06 580 3782
Open: Tue – Sun 12 noon – 3 pm & 7 – 11 pm
Casual but cool, this is all-day dining, snacks or drinks in the Vatican area.
Via Properzio 31-33
+39 06 8902 4554
Open: Mon – Fri 7.30 am – 1 am; Sat 9 am – 1 am
Casual restaurant and cafe in the historic center near the Trevi Fountain.
Via Poli 27
+39 06 679 7274
Open: Daily 12.30 – 3.30 pm & 7.30 – 11.30 pm
Spirito di Vino
Dine the real slow food way and visit the wine cellar older than the Colosseum!
Via dei Genovesi 31
+39 06 589 6689
Open: Mon – Sat 7 – 11.30 pm
Quality food and wine in a modern space (in the ancient Trastevere neighborhood!)
Piazza Trilussa 41
+39 06 5833 3920
Open: Mon – Sat 7.30 – 11 pm; Sun 12 noon – 3 pm & 7.30 – 11 pm
With two Michelin stars, this is Rome fine dining at its best.
Vicolo de Cinque 58
+39 06 5833 5903
Open: Tue – Sun 7.30 – 11.30 pm
Head here for aperitivo or an after dinner drink near the Pantheon.
Piazza di Pietra 42
+39 06 678 5804
Open: Daily 10 am – 2 am
Top Places to Eat Gelato
Sant’Eustacchio, situated not far from Piazza Navona, has a long history of delicious gelato. The furniture and the patterned flooring in the shop are still the originals from all the way back in 1983. Today, the owners work to keep intact the tradition and the search for the best recipes out there.
Piazza Sant’Eustacchio 82
+39 06 6880 2048
Open: Sun – Thu 8 am – 1 am; Fri 8 am – 1.30 am; Sat 8 am – 2 am
Gelateria del Teatro
Hidden away in a picturesque side street in the center of Rome, Gelateria del Teatro is considered one of the best by locals. The owners of this place pride themselves on their fresh ingredients and bizarre combinations that somehow work wonders on your palate. Try something new like rosemary and fig, or lavender and white peach. You will be going back for more.
Via dei Coronari, 65/66
+39 06 4547 4880
Open: Daily 12 noon – 12 midnight
The famous Gelateria Giolitti started in 1890 as a milk shop and over the years turned into a well-known and much loved ice cream parlor, and is today a place no visitor can skip on their trip to Rome. The choice of ice cream flavors is immense.
Via Uffici del Vicario 40
+39 06 699 1243
Open: Daily 7.30 am – 1.30 am
Visit Fatamorgana for some adventurous and unique combinations. Their colorful ice cream and delicious waffle cones are the perfect choice for a mid-afternoon snack! Visit one of their many stores around Rome and remember it’s all 100% gluten free. Our fave of course is in Piazza San Cosimato (Trastevere) but also located across the city including Re di Roma, Prati and Monti.
Visit the website for the 7 different locations and opening hours: gelateriafatamorgana.com
San Crispino is located only a few steps away from the famous Trevi Fountain, and according to the New York Times, “anyone who does not acknowledge that il Gelato di San Crispino is supreme, has not tried it”!
Via della Panetteria 42
+39 06 679 3924
Open: Sun – Thu 11 am – 12.30 am; Fri & Sat 11 am – 1.30 am
Gelateria dei Gracchi
Gelateria dei Gracchi is a modest place but an excellent choice! Famous food writer and critic Anthony Bourdain picked this place as the best gelato in Rome. Gelateria dei Gracchi uses only natural ingredients, fresh seasonal fruits, no artificial coloring or hydrogenated fats, and people with gluten or lactose intolerance can eat it without a worry.
Via dei Gracchi 272
+39 06 3216668
Open: Mon – Thu & Sun 12 noon – 12 midnight, Fri & Sat 12 noon – 12.30 am
Our Favorite Things to See and Do
Have lunch/dinner at a roman osteria
When in Rome, eat like the Romans do! Wander into some of the picturesque side streets and you will certainly come across a cozy, welcoming roman osteria or trattoria. These are typically the most informal among the classifications of restaurants. They are often family run and have been around for generations. You will usually notice these places from the loud voices coming from inside, with friendly Italian waiters weaving through the tables with more wine. The food is traditional, hearty Italian and possibly the best you will find in the city. Try Da Enzo al 29 in the Trastevere neighborhood, or Flavio al Velavevodetto in Testaccio.
Take a walk in the park
The city of Rome has a lot to offer, but don’t forget about its gorgeous parks. Rome’s most famous park, Villa Borghese, is found right in the center of the city. Above piazza del Popolo and all the way across the historical center, the park is home to a world of people having picnics on the grass and around the ponds, rollerblading or cycling along the roads, and enjoying the beautiful Roman weather simply strolling along the footpaths. Don’t forget to walk out to the Pincho panoramic balcony, overlooking the entire historical center of Rome. One of the biggest parks in Rome is Villa Ada. This is the richest park in terms of fauna. Not only does it house a number of different types of trees and plants, but it also offers a skating rink and areas with outdoor exercise equipment.
Visit the monuments
The first thing anyone thinks about when they visit Rome are the infinite number of historical monuments to visit in the time they have available. It’s not always easy, and often not possible, because Rome truly has something special in every hidden corner. Besides trademark monuments such as the Colosseum, St Peter’s Basilica, and the Spanish Steps, step onto any of the beautiful piazzas and you will walk right into a Bernini fountain or an ancient obelisk. Make sure you stop by the Trevi Fountain and wish for your next trip to Rome because, trust us, you will need it!
Take a day trip
The center of Rome is certainly breathtaking and has plenty to offer, but everything surrounding Rome is equally stunning. Try heading out in any direction and you’ll run into a picturesque medieval town. North of Rome you’ll find Lake Bracciano, surrounded by three towns (Bracciano, Trevignano and Anguillara). East is Tivoli and its famous thermal spa. Finally, to the South you will find the Castelli Romani, composed of a number of beautiful towns, each with its own special feature. If you want to head west you will drive straight toward the Roman coast. Choose one of the many beaches filled with music and fun!
Come rain or shine, there’s always time for a quick gelato pit stop! Walk around the city and you are guaranteed to come across one of the best gelato shops in the city. But beware of the tourist traps. Make sure you know your real gelato from the fake stuff. You’ll be glad you read that part of your guide book when you take the first bite of your true Italian gelato. Or try one of our Rome tours!
Take a road trip through the foothills of Sabina
Those looking to extend their trip to Rome should consider a drive through the gorgeous Lazio-Sabina foothills. Auto Europe provides a great driving route which will take you along the shores of Lake Albano, the banks of the Tevere River and through the Marcigliani Natural Reserve. Touring Italy by car allows you to get off the beaten path and experience the authentic Italian culture and communities that make it one-of-a-kind. On your drive to Terni you can enjoy a picnic lunch on the summit of Mount Terminillo before driving through the breathtaking Lago di Campotosto State Reserve. If you’re considering extending your trip to Rome, rent a vehicle and spend a few days driving the Italian countryside.
Top Picks for Rome Hotels
This elegant and classy hotel is located right off Via Condotti, near the Spanish Steps, an area best known for its exclusive shopping. It is a boutique hotel that balances antique furnishings with clean and ultra-modern conveniences. There are 5 rooms to choose from, and the best of these excel in a simple yet romantic style.
Via Mario de Fiori, 28
+39 06 6992 0633
Prices from €220 in the low season for the double superior room to €420 in the high season for the junior suite
Another 5-star luxury hotel, the Palazzo Manfredi is where to stay if you want to view the Colosseum morning and night. The elegant building dates from the 1600s and stands out on the Via Labicana. Inside, Palazzo Manfredi boasts every modern furnishing you could desire. The biggest and best suite has a jacuzzi right in the room. Another bonus to this already fabulous hotel is the restaurant on the terrace that again features spectacular views of Rome and the Colosseum.
Via Labicana, 125
+39 06 7759 1380
Prices run upward from €300
Grand Hotel de la Minerve
This 5-star hotel is situated right in Piazza Minerva, a stone’s throw away from the Pantheon, Piazza Navona and Largo Argentina. There is a vast array of rooms that range from a classic double to large and elaborate suites. This hotel’s luxury is topped off with the roof garden that overlooks the center of Rome where you can go for dinner and drinks.
Piazza della Minerva, 69
+39 06 695201
Prices start around €400 per night
If your idea of a romantic hotel is staying where celebrities stay on their romantic getaways to Rome, than look no further than Hotel Hassler, located on an enviable spot right on top of the Spanish Steps. Many of the rooms frame amazing views over the city, and of course there is a terrace restaurant that does the same.
Piazza Trinita dei Monti, 6
+39 06 699340
Rooms costs between €300 and €400 per night
This hotel wins for being the sexiest on this list. With details such as round beds and bathtubs or a jacuzzi right in the room, the Suite Sistina can somehow pull these features off without being too much. And if such details weren’t enough, the hotel adds extra flourishes like a sound system and plush throws for the bed.
Via Sistina, 55
+39 06 2036 8380
Rooms start at €170 per night
This luxury boutique hotel is relatively new to Rome’s 5-star hotel scene, but it has already made a lasting impression. It is located above the Salvatore Ferragamo shop, near the Spanish Steps and Via Condotti. The views from the rooms are amazing, as are the rooms themselves that delight in balancing comfort with black-and-white charm from the 1950s. Don’t forget to grab a glass of wine on the terrace while you watch the evening sparkle of Rome.
Via Bocca di Leone, 23
+39 06 6938 0742
Prices start at €600 for a Portrait Studio
Hotel Delle Nazioni
If you’re looking for a hotel that is right in the center of the action, this hotel is calling your name! Hotel Delle Nazioni is within walking distance of the Trevi Fountain, the Pantheon, and Piazza Navona. This hotel has an elegant yet modern vibe and breakfast is included. You won’t find anything as beautiful, convenient and affordable as Hotel Delle Nazioni in this area.
Via Poli, 6
+39 06 6792441
Rooms start at €120 per night
An eco-friendly, stylish mix between a youth hostel and a hotel, located 2 blocks from Termini and probably the only hotel in Rome where you can sit under a banyan tree in their garden. Owned and operated by an American expat couple who are dedicated to give you great tips on things to do and places to go. They have 4 room types – The Hive, an 8-bed, mixed dorm; The Classic – budget rooms with shared bathroom; The Sweets – private rooms with AC and private bathrooms; and Other Honey – offsite guest rooms with self-catering kitchens. There’s also a vegetarian, organic cafe onsite.
Via Marghera 8
Rates for double rooms start at €80 in high season
Enjoy the luxury of a beautiful hotel and the convenience of being right by the Spanish steps and most popular park in Rome, Villa Borghese. Hotel Forte is small but beautifully decorated. Some of the great attractions nearby include the Spanish Steps, Piazza del Popolo, Villa Borghese, Galleria Borghese, Via del Corso and Piazza Venezia.
Via Margutta, 61
+39 06 3207625
Rooms from €90 per night
Lungotevere Suite Hotel
This beautiful hotel is located right on the Tiber River in the heart of Testaccio (where you might bump into one of our food tours!). This is a great location to experience true Roman life as well as having a great view of the river. The Lungotevere also has features such as a gym, sauna, shuttle service, laundry service and personal trainers.
Lungotevere degli Artigiani 20
+39 06 9451 8330
Rooms from around €75 per night
Trilussa Palace Congress and Spa Hotel
Trilussa has the finest services, is in the beautiful neighborhood of Trastevere (home of our food tours), and is such an affordable stay. Trilussa has amazing amenities, including sauna, steam room, wellness center, limo service, roof garden, hypoallergenic bedding and memory foam mattresses. You definitely won’t be disappointed!
Piazza Ippolito Nievo, 25-27
+39 06 588 1963
Rooms from €75 per night
Parco dei Principi Grand Hotel e Spa
Both an indoor and outdoor pool, convenient connecting rooms, and cribs for the younger guests make this a top pick for family accommodations in Rome. The hotel’s view of Villa Borghese is also perfect for kids: not only is there plenty of space to run and play, but the park also offers bike rentals and is home to the Bioparco, both a zoo and playground. Last but not least, Parco dei Principi arranges babysitting services, allowing the adults to enjoy a romantic night in the eternal city.
Via G. Frescobaldi 5
+39 06 8544 2500
Rooms from €330 per night
The family suites at Hotel Mascagni are every kid’s dream: each room comes stocked with coloring books, crayons and pencils, Nintendo Wii, playstation, and DVD player. The hotel’s restaurant also features a kid’s menu and strollers, and high chairs are available as needed. A pediatrician on call and babysitting services round out the list of perks at this 4-star hotel!
Via Vittorio E. Orlando 90
+39 06 4890 4040
Rooms from €185 per night
Albergo del Senato
Located directly across from the Pantheon, this hotel offers a variety of family suites to accommodate your budget. Their beautiful rooftop terrace with sweeping views of the city will enchant both children and adults alike. Best of all, Albergo del Senato is a stone’s throw away from one of the best gelaterias in the city, San Crispino!
Piazza della Rotonda 73
+39 06 678 4343
Rooms from €240 per night
Hotel Ponte Sisto
With Piazza Navona, St. Peter’s Basilica, and the Spanish steps within walking distance, this hotel’s central location makes seeing Rome’s major attractions a cinch, no crowded buses or metro required. Another perk? Ponte Sisto offers a varied breakfast buffet, complete with kid favorites like bacon, eggs and pancakes, and during the warmer months you can eat outdoors in their spacious courtyard.
Via dei Pettinari 64
+39 06 686 3100
Rooms from €175 per night