In Italy, gastronomy is a fundamental part of the country's culture. Outside its borders, the country is renowned first for its history and cultural heritage, and then for its food. And in the capital, this is evident in every corner. Every place to see in Rome is enhanced by tasting its food as you tour the city.
Rome's gastronomy goes beyond the typical pizzas and pasta. There is a huge range of flavours to discover and that's why in this post I'll tell you about the best gastronomic tours in the capital of Italy. If Rome conquers your eyes with its monuments, you'll fall in love with it through taste.
1. Gastronomic Tour of Trastevere, Campo de' Fiori and the Jewish Quarter
Between the two is the Campo de' Fiori market, one of the best places in Rome to buy and taste fresh, local produce. That is why there are many gastronomic tours that go around these spots to offer the possibility to taste the authentic flavour of Rome.
These tours are aimed at small groups of no more than 10 people and include a tour of some of the gastronomic establishments in these areas and a stop at the market in the Campo de Fiori square, which lasts about 3.5 to 4 hours.
They usually start early with breakfast and some snacks, a stop at the market and culminate with a good meal and tasting, including typical drinks and the famous gelato. All accompanied by an expert local guide.
With this type of tour you will taste everything from the more typical fresh pasta to lesser known antipasti (hors d'oeuvre) dishes including cold meats, cheeses, fresh ingredients and many other things that are best discovered on your own.
Once you've finished this type of tour you'll know enough to know where the best places to eat in Trastevere are.
- Price: From about €80 approx.
- Duration: Between 3 and 4 hours.
- Location: Trastevere neighbourhood, Jewish quarter and Campo de' Fiori market.
- Advantages of this option: It is one of the most complete options to get to know Roman gastronomy in depth.
- Disadvantages of this option: It requires a full morning.
2. Gastronomic Tour Trionfale
This type of tour is named after the Trionfale market. The largest market in Rome, located in the most gastronomic area of the city. It is located north of the Vatican, in an area full of restaurants, bars, pubs, cocktail bars, ice cream parlours and all kinds of places to enjoy the gastronomy.
The tours of these areas are among the most complete and, in addition to the entrance to the Triunfale market, include numerous tastings in various restaurants.
Variety is their main asset, as they include tastings of Italian coffees, sweets, Italian wines and cheeses, pasta, homemade ice cream and all kinds of food. It also often includes visits to some of the best gourmet shops in town.
- Price: From 80 euros approx.
- Duration: About 4 hours approx.
- Location: Around the Triunfale market north of the centre.
- Advantages of this option: It is the most complete and with the most varied tastings.
- Disadvantages of this option: The Triunfale market area is far from the centre and does not include the transfer there.
3. Tour of Rome's street food stalls
Street food is also part of Rome's gastronomic culture. Rome's streets are lined with hundreds of stalls offering fast, inexpensive and equally delicious food to enjoy even amidst all the hustle and bustle of Rome. There are stalls selling pizzas, suppli (Italian croquettes), cakes, ice cream and much more.
To discover Rome, there are guided tours that offer the possibility to walk around some of the city's historic sites such as the Pantheon while enjoying a few stops at these street stalls.
Generally, this type of tour has the Campo de' Fiori market as the centrepiece of the visit because of the large number of street food stalls there. And to top it all off, you can visit the best places in Rome to try authentic Italian pizza.
- Price: From about €40 approx.
- Duration: Between 2 and 3 hours.
- Location: Centre of Rome
- Advantages of this option: It is a very interesting way to tour the centre of Rome and combine sightseeing with gastronomy.
- Disadvantages of this option: Many of the tourist attractions along the route are only visible from the outside and can be passed quickly.
4. Cooking class with tasting
Of course, one of the best ways to enjoy the gastronomy, apart from eating, is to learn how to prepare typical dishes. That is why in Rome there are very frequent cooking classes where they teach you how to prepare various types of fresh pasta, pizzas, some sweets and several typical Italian dishes.
With this type of option you will learn to cook Italian specialities in a typical restaurant and under the orders of an experienced chef.
The first part corresponds to the lessons and the second part to the enjoyment of tasting your own creations, plus some input from the chef. The best restaurants offering classes in Rome are usually located near Piazza Navona.
Details of interest
- Price: About €60 approx.
- Duration: About 3 hours between classes and tasting.
- Location: Usually in the centre of Rome in the Piazza Navona area.
- Advantages of this option: In addition to enjoying eating, you will learn to cook typical Italian dishes.
- Disadvantages of this option: No a la carte option.
5. Wine and cheese tasting in Rome
One of the favourite gastronomic activities of the Romans are cheese and wine tastings. A custom that is becoming more and more popular among tourists. In Rome, local products are highly valued, and given that the city is surrounded by vineyards, local wines are highly appreciated.
Cheese also plays a leading role in Italian gastronomy and is the best complement to wine tasting.
In Rome there are many tastings of this kind and many places where these tastings take place. Many of them are close to tourist spots. It is a very concrete option for wine tasting lovers, but it is a quick and comfortable activity to do and above all very enjoyable.
Details of interest
- Price: From 40€ approx.
- Duration: 1-2 hours.
- Location: There are several venues for these tastings, generally near monuments and important points.
- Advantages of this option: It is a highly recommended gastronomic experience that is quick and easy to do.
- Disadvantages of this option: The menu is closed and subject to change depending on the season.
6. Workshop for Gelato lovers
One of the undisputed stars of Rome, with the exception of pasta, are its Gelatos. The artisanal gelatos of the Italian capital are very special and are almost nothing like the gelatos you can taste in other cities around the world.
The streets are full of gelato shops and some of them offer workshops to learn how to make Gelato with the best artisans, as well as being able to taste them.
The best gelato shops in Rome are usually located in the centre of Rome, especially those that offer these kinds of workshops.
Here you can learn how artisan gelato is made, what machines are used, what ingredients are used, and so on. And put it into practice by making your own creations of various flavours. It is one of the best activities if you visit Rome with children and especially if you do it in summer when temperatures rise.
If so, here's your guide to enjoying Rome in summer beyond Gelato.
- Price: Around 45€ approx.
- Duration: 1 hour approx.
- Location: Ice cream parlours in the centre of Rome.
- Advantages of this option: It is a very fun activity for children and adults, as well as very tasty.
- Disadvantages of this option: The workshops have very limited places.
What are the dishes not to be missed on a food tour of Rome?
Roman gastronomy is generally based on a typical menu consisting of hors d'oeuvres, antipasti as they are known in Italy, a first and second course and a dessert. There are a thousand options for each of them, but I will tell you which ones are essential:
- Antipasti: In this section you must try the bruschetta, a slice of toasted bread with garlic, olive oil and usually tomato or fresh ingredients. The mozzarella tapas, a fresh cheese that can be eaten alone or with salads such as the caprese salad with mozzarella, tomato and basil. The bresaola, which are slices of cured veal, carpaccio, which is a very thinly sliced type of meat and sausages eaten raw, or the typical charcuterie boards complete this list of the most common and recommended antipasti in Rome. The best places to try these appetizers can be found at this link.
- First course: Pasta is the undisputed king of Rome, and of Italy as a whole. The variety is infinite and here it is best to choose according to taste. Rice in the form of risotto, potato gnocchi or soups are the other most common dishes in Roman restaurants.
- Second course: The pasta or first course is usually accompanied by meat or fish. The meat is mostly pork or veal and the fish depends on the season, but both dishes are usually served with a side dish called contorno made of potatoes and vegetables.
- Desserts: Fresh fruit and sweets are essential. But no self-respecting dessert in Rome is complete without a good Italian coffee and an authentic Roman Gelato.
In addition to the gastronomic tours, here is a link to some of the best places to eat in Rome.
Tips for a gastronomic tour of Rome
When going on a gastronomic tour of Rome there are a number of points to keep in mind about the gastronomic customs
- Lunch is always the main meal, dinners are of a similar structure but always lighter. Breakfast is usually very light, with just a coffee and some pastries, as it is customary to have a cappuccino or similar in the middle of the morning.
- Meal times in restaurants generally run from 12:30 to 14:30 and dinner from 19:30 to 22:00.
- Street food is also in the spotlight. Whenever you want to eat out of hours or something quicker and cheaper in Rome you'll find hundreds of street stalls with pizza portions or similar.
Why take a food tour in Rome?
When you visit Rome you generally move around the most touristy areas and streets where the most famous monuments are located. In these areas most restaurants take advantage of the occasion and offer a smaller menu, limiting themselves to the more typical and generally higher priced dishes.
Finding a restaurant where you can enjoy authentic Roman cuisine at a good value for money is sometimes a difficult task.
Hiring a gastronomic tour will ensure you get to know the authentic Italian food without limiting yourself to the most typical and always with experts who will teach you all the secrets of Rome's gastronomy.
Another advantage is that you will not only taste the best dishes, but you will learn how they are prepared and you will learn enough to know how to choose on your own which restaurants are worth visiting in Rome.