Rome’s Best Traditional Food Route
Explore Rome City Center on this traditional food route experience
Are you seeking 3 hours of pure indulgence? Looking for the finest Roman food?
Our expert, local tour guide will guide you on one of the best Rome food tour adventure through the historic city, and into the heart of Roman cuisine. Whatever Italian classic you’re craving – be it pizza, pasta, or gelato – we’ll source the best of it on this extraordinary food tour. All the ingredients are there to make this a food experience like no other.
First, enjoy oven-warmed Pizza Bianca and the historic bakery in Campo de’ Fiori – apparently, the same place Pope Borgia’s mistress got her bread 500 years ago. Walk through the fantastic food market at Campo de’ Fiori, before enjoying typical Roman street food rendered as high art. Take a supplì and a croquette to enjoy Roman deep-fried treats at their finest.
Onwards to lunch at local selected restaurant in Rome City Center. First, enjoy a meat and cheese board with a grand glass of rose. All the ingredients are the freshest and finest locally sourced meats and cheeses. Then, indulge in not one, but two perfect fresh pastas. First try the Roman classic Amatriciana, before moving onto the national favorite, Lasagna, all washed down with a deep glass of red.
The last leg of the tour will take you to a traditional Roman Gelateria, where you’ll enjoy the best of Roman gelato, prepared with the finest traditional techniques. Our guide will help you if you’re stuck between pistachio and orange or chocolate and red wine (get both!). Finally, the tour finishes with the best coffee in Rome at Sant’ Eustachio Il Caffè. Take a swift espresso at the counter to finish off the meal in true Roman style.
Book today your food tour in Rome city center for an amazing gastronomic experience through the streets of the Eternal City.
Streets of Rome City Center
Book today your tour of Rome city center on this traditional food route, and experience the scintillating flavours of the eternal city’s finest cuisine all while sight-seeing. Join our tour guide gastronome for an unforgettable gourmet adventure, one that blends traditional Italian food culture, with a dash of history, and a hearty dollop of walking tour to make a Roman food adventure you’ll never forget.
Traverse the winding cobbled streets of Rome with an expert guide at your side, on a fact-filled, full-bellied odyssey. Expect the history of Roman food to pleasantly collide with fine art and architecture. Join us on one of the best Rome food tours with:
- An expert in local gastronomy
- Stops at Campo de’ Fiori and Palazzo Spada
- A slice of Pizza Bianca, from historic bakery at Campo de’ Fiori
- Supplì and croquette, Roman fried specialties (fritti) at selected venue
- Lunch at Osteria del Teatro, with appetizer and pasta dishes
- Traditional gelato at Gelateria Del Teatro
- Best coffee in Rome at Sant’ Eustachio Caffè
Freshly Baked Pizza and Traditional Fritti
Our Rome food tour starts with the warm roar of the baker’s oven at Forno Campo de’ Fiori. Once you’ve got your freshly baked Pizza Bianco, stroll through Campo de’ Fiori’s legendary food market with a spring in your step – this white pizza is seriously good. Continue past the Palazzo Spada to the atmospheric street food hangout Supplizio.
At Supplizio, it would be rude not to sample the supplì, the Roman equivalent of sicilian arancini, a deeply beloved cylinder of deep-fried rice and cheese.
Meat, Cheese and Pasta Perfection
Onwards to restaurant Osteria del Teatro – a big favorite for Romans craving pasta just like mama makes. Enjoy a platter of three cheeses and three meats as appetizer on wafer-thin slices of focaccia. All are locally sourced and specialties of Rome. We only choose the best places with the best ingredients.
Once the appetizer has whet your whistle, bring on not one, but two pastas – the only way to eat pasta alla Romana (like the Romans). Enjoy a local specialty, the Amatriciana, and a national favorite, lasagna, both made with pasta so fresh, creamy and melt in your mouth, you’ll feel as though it’s been delivered by angels. Of course, this will all be washed down with a bold glass of red.
Two Scoops of Traditional Gelato
Is there a better way to round off a meal than with a healthy dollop of ice cream? Yes, actually – try two scoops of the creamiest gelato, made with traditional techniques. Tucked behind an unobtrusive corner is the hidden gem and ice-cream lover’s paradise, Gelateria Del Teatro. Stand in front of the counter and gape in awe at the artisanal desert specialists freshly preparing smooth gelato and crunchy Sicilian cannoli. Choosing only two flavors, from the rainbow of options, will be the only uncomfortable part of this experience. Finish your meal the Roman way, with the best digestive aid known to mankind: Italian caffè. At Sant’ Eustachio Caffè, you will not just have a coffee, but the most perfect espresso in Rome.
Heaven for History Lovers and Foodies
Best Rome food tours have it all. The food and the context. What better content can you imagine other than the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Rome city center. Satisfy your appetite for great food and great places with this walking private tour in Rome. which unites two of the Roma Experience teams’ great passions: food and history.
We meet near Palazzo della Cancelleria. It was the first Renaissance palace in Rome and greatly deserves its recognition as a World Heritage site. Another place we pass by on our route in Rome City Center is the Basilica of San Lorenzo in Damasco. The church has been on this site since at least the 5th century. It was probably erected over a pagan temple. But the beating heart of Rome city center that we cross is really Campo de Fiori.
The Market of Campo de’ Fiori
Italians rarely walk and eat, but snacking away as you stroll through Campo de’ Fiori is not only socially acceptable; if you’re Roman, it’s practically mandatory. Finish off your Pizza Bianca as your guide talks you through the magnificent food market here. Here are stalls, resplendent in color, and heavily laden with all manner of vegetables and fruits. Our guide will introduce you to the vegetable dishes that are a frequent feature on an Italian dining table and tell you the secrets of preparing them perfectly, to keep their flavor intact.
In the center of the Campo de’ Fiori’s food market, you’ll find the austere figure of Giordano Bruno, casting a shadow over all the frivolity beneath him. And who could blame him for his gloom? This is where Bruno was burnt to death in 1600, for daring to suggest that stars were actually suns and solar systems much like our own – and for his (less sympathetic) fondness for necromancy, alchemy, other dark arts and all black magic. Campo de’ Fiori’s name means ‘Field of flowers’, but no historical records suggest there was ever a field of flowers here. What we do know is, that at least since the Later Roman period, people were put to death on this square. Perhaps the name comes from the memorial bouquets, left for those who were executed.
The contrast between Campo de’ Fiori’s morbid origins and its present liveliness is typically Roman – yes, a lot of history happened here, but the locals get on with living among it. As you walk with us on this, the best of food tours in Rome, through the wealth of fresh, seasonal produce – spy a lonely Fromagerie. This cheese shop is as Roman as the Colosseum; it’s been here for 1000s years and will be for 1000s of years yet. Choose from one of two cheeses (yes, only two) – either Pecorino, a Roman speciality, or a national favorite Parmigiano. Our guide is sure to enthuse about one of Rome’s favorite dishes, which signals the start of Spring: Pecorino and fresh fava beans – a dish so simple, and so delicious, it cannot be rivalled.
The Street of the Hat Makers
Continue onward to Palazzo Spada. The Spada family were once one of the wealthiest families in Rome, so much so that tales of their great treasure inspired the intrigues of Alexander Dumas’ famous novel, The Count of Monte Cristo. Which makes this magnificent Renaissance palace a literary icon, as well as an architectural triumph.
Today, the Palazzo Spada contains the Galleria Spada, where you can see artworks by the likes of Caravaggio and Albrecht Dürer. However, what draws most people to the Galleria is the magnificent courtyard, and the great architect Francesco Borromini’s forced perspective gallery. Borromini’s gallery contains a charming optical illusion, where a row of eight columns has the appearance of thirty-seven. When you stand at the end of the corridor, you get the impression that you’re looking down a gallery of huge depth, with a giant statue at the end – but, in reality, the whole gallery is rather small. Borromini pulled off a marvelous feat of architectural trickery in the courtyard of Palazzo Spada and created a real treasure to behold.
Following Palazzo Spada, find yourself on Via di Capellari, literally, The Street of the Hat Makers – those whose shops once lined this street. Via di Capellari is the narrowest and most enchanting street on your Rome food tour – its typically Roman in both its cobbles and its charm. Look above and see the verdant foliage that sweeps over the many little balconies and the 500-year-old arch windows, framed by wonderful louvered shutters.
Piazza dell Orologio
When you reach Piazza dell Orologio, let your eyes be drawn toward what is demanding your attention – Borromini’s clocktower of 1648. This delicate marble clocktower carries its bell atop of it like extravagant hat, and the sky takes the majority of the space here, as blue sky springs through the arch that holds the bell. Borromini, as we know from his trickery in Galleria Spada, was a man who loved to play with light and your mind’s eye.
Turn your eyes away from the clock tower a quick minute, and look left to find, hidden in the corner of the clock tower, a splendid edicola votiva or devotional niche. The richer the patron, the more intricate and lavish the edicola. Once you’ve seen your first, they’ll appear before your very eyes all over Rome. Why not ask your guide why wealthy men were so interested in commissioning their own devotional niche? Stroll on and take a left turn off Via Degli Orsini to find yourself, gazing toward that wise old river, the Tiber.
While walking along the Via del Veltrina, make sure to look at the shops and one of the last surviving mediaeval bell towers, before you hit the famous Piazza Navona. The modern Piazza Navona is built on the site of the Ancient Stadium Domitian, a favorite location for ancient Romans to watch the athletic games. Today, Piazza Navona is still a hub of activity, as it leads to the Via del Corso, which links this square with the equally iconic Piazza Venezia.
Make sure you take the time to admire the Fountain of the Four Rivers, in which the largest river of Asia, Africa, Europe and the Americas are rendered as human men. Your expert guide will explain how the Fountain and the façade of Sant ‘Agnese in Agone are in a dialogue; two great corresponding pieces by two great masters, Bernini and Borromini.
What Makes the Best Rome Food Tours
Stop at Historic Bakery
Once a little history has worked up your appetite, stop for a delicious slice of Pizza Bianca at the historic bakery, Forno Campo de’ Fiori. Roman lore claims Vannozza dei Cattanei, lover of the infamous Borgia Pope, would get her bread here. Who knows whether this is truth or legend, but we do know that Vannozza dei Cattanei ran several inns in the area of Campo de’ Fiori. Even today, on the corner of Vicolo del Gallo and Via dei Capellari, you can find the doorway of one of dei Cattanei’s inns, colloquially known as The Inn of the Cow. You are still able to see the dei Cattanei coat of arms emblazoned above the old doorway on Vicolo del Gallo. This caused quite the scandal in Rome, with nobles outraged at the impudence of the so-called ‘Borgia whore’, staking her claim to a corner of the city.
Whether Vannozza dei Cattanei did send her servants to the bakery on an early morning, to buy delicious slabs of Piazza Bianca for her and Pope Borgia to enjoy in bed, is lost to us. What is highly likely, however, is the recipes of Forno Campo de’ Fiori have barely changed in the 500 years since her death. Piazza Bianca isn’t a fussy food – and like most Roman foods, that’s where it charm lies. As with all the stops on our Rome eating tour, this bakery only uses the finest natural ingredients.
Enjoy real Roman bread, straight from the oven. Piazza Bianca only contains flour, water, salt, yeast and extra virgin olive oil, and is the better for it. Piazza Bianca is the fuel which built Rome – the bread of Ancient Rome was very similar. Your Pizza Bianca will be served folded and wrapped in paper, as is Roman traditional.
As is the case with most great places to eat in Rome, the Forno di Campo de’ Fiori doesn’t look so good. Just take it as testament to the fact their main focus is bread, and everything else is ephemera. If you’d been baking since the Italian Renaissance, you might have ascended the desire to fuss over appearance, too. Locals love this bakery, and any day of the week you’ll find a crowd jostling to get the oven-fresh goods while they’re still hot.
Try Traditional Roman Fritti
Blink and you’ll miss Supplizio, a street food paradise. The arched entrance is delicately concealed by a vine – but look closer, and see the red sign and graffiti, that announces Supplizio as one of the most authentic places to get traditional Roman fritti. Of course, graffiti is everywhere in Rome, but here, its an intentional feature, which perfectly unites the lived life of the city and the delicious wares on sale.
The vibe is warm and relaxing. Get comfort on one of the low-slung couches and cosy Queen Anne chairs to sit on – here, your Nonna’s living room collides with the coolest of modern Roman street food. The menu is updated daily, with specials scrawled on a chalk board. While you make your choice, your expert tour guide will explain the humble origins of supplì – a dish born of necessity, but now a staple of the Roman diet.
If you opt for a classic, expect al dente rice balls filled with creamy mozzarella and perfectly tender mince. These are dipped in fresh egg, rolled in breadcrumbs and deep fried – it’s as good as it sounds. A well-seasoned supplì lover? Seize this opportunity to walk on the wild side, and try something new. How about the fennel accented supplì– the sweet, almost liquorish, flavor of the seeds compliments the warmth of the and cheese.
The first thing you’ll learn is that a perfect supplì is judged by how well the cheese melts. So, why not do as the Romans do? Gently tear your supplì and pull the halves apart – and watch as an arch of cheese perfectly unites the two halves. Delicious. If you think you’ve reached the height of perfection – wait for the croquette. Potato delicately mashed, with hearty chunks of cheese, rolled in breadcrumbs and deep fried. Croquettes are an undisputed snack-champion.
Meat, Cheese and Pasta Perfection
All that’s come before it should just have whet your lips, as you’re about to walk through the door of the main attraction of this Rome eating tour, the incomparable Osteria del Teatro. This Osteria is a local favorite, and for good reason. They know that good food first comes through the eye, and second the mouth, so they’ve decorated the restaurant in a charming style that delights on first impression.
Weather dependent, you can choose to dine outside or in the comfort of the restaurant. On a sunny day, nothing compares to enjoying your lunch amidst all the sights and sounds of this typical Roman street. If the rains a falling, or if its cool Winter’s day, inside has a homely atmosphere, of walls painted in a charming yellow, with prints of 1920s’ ladies on the wall. Higher up, see a veritable vineyard of wine bottles inviting you to indulge.
Here, the service is attentive and friendly, as you expect of a solid, Roman establishment, beloved by locals. Await the sound of a perfectly crisp Rose tumbling into your glass, the first signal of the feast to come. Then, the appetizer will arrive, a heaving platter of regional meats and cheese, all locally sourced and of the highest quality. Suddenly it becomes clear why Osteria del Teatro has been beloved by locals for years.
Try Caciocavallo, a sheep’s cheese beloved among the Ancient Greeks and beloved by Roman’s today. Imagine the taste of Provolone, but Provolone delivered from heaven by angels. Caciocavallo hails from Southern Italy, an area from which springs forth some of the finest Italian cooking. Pop one of its delicate globes on fresh, rosemary flavored focaccia, and let yourself relax into cheese heaven. Take a chunk of Pecorino Di Fossa, and let the saltiness and sour tang entrance your taste buds as it delights you. Pecorino Di Fossa may hail from Emilia-Romagna (the home of Lasagna), but Roman’s love it as if it was their own. Last but not least is Taleggio. This creamy soft cheese is made from full fat cows’ milk and comes with a salty rind one can only describe as delectable.
Cured meats are a personal passion of Italians – and a passion of the Roma Experience team – and those on offer at Osteria del Teatro do not disappoint. Your tour guide will (firmly) point you in the direction of the Coppa Di Testa – and this is no time to get squeamish. This cured meat is taken from the head and tongue of the pig, and then flavored with either pistachio, lemon, orange or lavender, depending on the region. Don’t knock it until you’ve tried it, because this ham melts on the tongue, awakens the taste buds and immediately assuages any discomfort you might have at the idea of eating head.
After that, pop the Prosciutto Crudo in your mouth – the finest kind of Parma Ham. This meat is cured in salt for 18 months, an ancient technique that still produces the highest quality flavor for cured meats. Rosy and zesty Proscuitto Crudo is cut from the leg of a wild boar, and you can almost taste the truffles of the mountain. Want to walk on the wild side? Why not try Salame Piccante – this cured meat is spicy, fatty and so, so good. Finally, Bresaola; the most elegant of cured meats, a rich beef in a deep, almost purple red. As delicate as Carpaccio, enjoy Bresaola with a little drizzle of oil, and naught else.
Not One, But Two Pasta Dishes
Enjoy a full-bodied, swirling, deep glass of red before you begin on one of your two pasta dishes. Osteria del Teatro promises pasta-heaven, and it delivers. Their fresh pasta is melt-in-your-mouth, curl-your-toes good.
First, enjoy a spicy, joyous, Amatriciana. This simple pasta dish is a Roman favorite. Marvel at how just tomatoes, pancetta, basil and a touch of chili can produce something remarkable. Following that, make way for the Lasagne, King of Pasta, beloved world-over. Guide your fork sink through layers of wafer-thin sheets of handmade pasta, a perfectly balanced bechamel, and mince covered in a rich tomato sauce. After the first taste – there’s nothing left to do but to sit back and say “buonissimo”!
Only the Finest Gelato in Rome
The best food tours in Rome have the best gelato venue. Guess again – onto the next stop in the food tour, what may just be – dare I say it – the finest gelateria in Rome. The Gelato at Gelateria del Teatro has literally won awards, so you know it’s a goer. The gelateria is decorated beautifully, and has seating at the back which is both comfortable and stylish, but chances are you won’t notice. Instead, your attention will be fixed on the multitude of gelato, cannoli and tiramisu, in dazzling colors, bursting from the counter.
Overstimulated by the range of options? Allow our guide to help you make the right choice – a gelateria expert, he knows his way around every flavor in store. While you’re struggling to choose between the spicy chocolate, or chocolate and red wine (get both!), your guide will tell you about how traditional gelato is prepared. He’ll be able to tell you – passionately – exactly why Gelateria del Teatro is one of the best ice cream places in the whole of Rome. Quality and freshness is synonymous with everything done here, from the magnificent flavor of the lavender to the cheeky burst of the peach. Constant innovation is the name of the game at this gelateria, whilst paying homage to a long legacy of Gelato-makers before them.
Sant’ Eustachio Il Caffè is a legendary caffè among coffee lovers. People make pilgrimages from all over the world to taste the sweet espresso at Sant’ Eustachio Il Caffè. The caffè is owned by two brothers, Raimondo and Roberto Ricci. They are proud to only serve 100% Arabica beans imported directly from Fair-Trade farms in South America. The two brothers even award the best farm a prize each year.
The magic of the coffee at Sant’ Eustachio isn’t in the bean alone – it’s the process that makes the finest coffee in the city. Alas, the sharply dressed baristas are all sworn to secrecy about exactly what makes the coffee so special. Even under pressure, all they’ll reveal is that the perfect amount of coffee must be run through water at an exact 92°, and the perfect dollop of foam added last minute to make this perfect coffee.
Choose wisely and relax as you take in the atmosphere. See trendy millennials, groups of ladies at lunch, office workers, street sweepers and even elderly gentlemen in three-piece suits queuing at the counter to take un caffè together at the bar. In Rome coffee is the great common language and nowhere speaks more eloquently than Sant’ Eustachio’s.
Everything must come to an end and so must this magnificent most walking food tour, Rome. We trust that every moment will be a sensory delight, from the delightful dishes to the amazing Renaissance architecture you’ll see as you go.