Top 10 Rome Foods You Need to Try

By Megan Hills

Eat your heart out with some of these fantastic Rome foods.

: you're in Italy now and most of the best things to eat will be pasta-based. From crunchy fried artichokes to cheesy pasta dishes, check out our list of classic Rome foods below.


This pasta is undoubtedly one of Rome's best claims to culinary fame, however the recipe has been chopped and changed in recent years. Traditional carbonara uses raw eggs instead of a cream-based sauce and is served with guanciale (cured pork jowl) or pancetta. Finished off with a sprinkling of Pecorino Romana cheese, it's a dish that even the fussiest child will love.

Bucatini all'Amatriciana

This classic dish uses bucatini pasta, a thicker, grown up version of spaghetti pasta which is hollow all the way through. Combining peppers, guanciale or pancetta, tomatoes and cheese, it's a distinctive recipe that sounds like it should sound like any old bolognaise but goes so much further.

Spaghetti Cacio e Pepe

This simple dish is living proof that sometimes less is more when it comes to cooking. This pasta dish is beloved by many in Rome and combines pasta, black pepper and Pecorino Romano cheese to create the ultimate comfort food.

Carciofi alla Giudiá

Popularised by the Jewish community in Rome, fried artichokes are a well-loved delicacy and boom in popularity when they come into season in the summer. Deep-fried in olive oil until every leaf has crisped over, they wind up looking similar to flowers.

Pizza al taglio sul Campo de' Fiori 🍕🌼 #morepizzalessproblems #bigmammatour

A photo posted by Constance (@constancelggr) on Jan 24, 2017 at 2:52am PST

Pizza Bianca

Pizza Bianca is a great example of Roman street food and can be mistaken at a first glance for foccacia. These pale, circular discs can be filled with cheese or prosciutto and are chewy in texture, baken in the oven and served piping hot. Most bakeries will sell their own versions, so keep an eye out for the queues spilling out onto the street for a great bite.

Pane e carbonara leggerissimiiii

A photo posted by giacomobrando (@giacomobrando) on Mar 26, 2016 at 5:52am PDT


Similar to arancini, these deep fried rice balls are served usually as an appetiser to a meal. Rice flavoured usually with meat of some kind is packed around a ball of mozzarella and fried, making each bite a decadent, gooey one.

Summer antipasto #fioridizucca #antipasto #summer #theheirloomchronicle

A photo posted by Carmen (@theheirloomchronicle) on Jan 24, 2017 at 10:48pm PST

Fiori di Zucca Fritti

Another fried appetiser on the list, zucchini flowers are everywhere in Rome and can be used as garnishes as well as dishes all of their own. Variations include stuffing them with mozzarella and anchovies for a more filling dish - forget about the cholesterol and indulge yourself.

Panino with tongue, salsa verde, & a hint of chilli. Best sandwich in town, hands down.

A photo posted by Agnes Crawford (@understandingrome) on Apr 26, 2016 at 3:52am PDT

Quinto Quarto

While this might not be an option for more squeamish eaters, quinto quarto - or offal - is an important part of Roman cooking. Think of everything that you don't usually see in a supermarket: intestines, tripe, lungs, heart, kidneys. The Romans are masters of offal cooking and it's worth giving a dish a go, if only to say that you've had it.

Saltimbocca alla romana!

A photo posted by Donatella (@rossidonatella61) on Jan 26, 2017 at 10:42am PST

Veal Saltimbocca alla Romana

This dish is so delicious that it's name includes the phrase saltimbocca, or 'jump into your mouth'. Unlike the many pasta dishes on this list, it's a meat dish which consists of a medallion of veal wrapped in prosciutto and sage, then marinated in white wine and fried.

Good morning, #cheeselovers ! ❤️🧀❤️ Did you know that #Italy exports around 250k tons of #cheese annually?! Did you also know that there are seemingly endless options for types of #pecorino (#pecorinotoscano and #pecorinoromano aren't the only ones out there! 😉). We just got some killer new ones in (#exclusive to @petersoncheese !), and I couldn't stop snacking on this crumbly beauty- #Fauglia ! This #sheep milk #formaggio is made using #parmigianoreggiano cultures and is pretty much the #perfect blend of parm and pecorino. You gotta try it! 😍😁 (seriously though- how #sexy is all of that texture?!?) #sheepcheese #italiancheese #caseificiobusti #busticheese #seattle #pnw #cheesemonger #curdnerd #foodie #seattlefoodie #foodstagram #eeeeeats #fromage #queso #kaas

A photo posted by @thecheesequeen on Jan 19, 2017 at 7:39am PST

Pecorino Romano

Many Roman pasta dishes incorporate this hard, sharp cheese, made of sheep's milk and grated for an extra kick. As one of the oldest cheeses in Italy, it's usually made in Sardinia and traditionally was a key component of a meal for ancient Roman soldiers.

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City Break: Long Weekend in Rome

Spending a long weekend in Rome? Make the most of your time with this quick guide to the Italian capital. Rome is a city that overflows with culture, with religious landmarks and artistic masterpieces on every corner. While this all sounds fantastic and is the stuff a culture vulture's dream vacation is made of, identifying the city's highlights and planning an itinerary for a long weekend in Rome is no small task. To make things easier, we've done the legwork for you below. Tonnarelli cacio e pepe #homemade #cacioepepe #cucinaitaliana #italianfood #primoitaliano #cucinaresano #sundaydinner #sundaymood #cooking #primiromani #pecorinoromano #tonnarelli #tonnarellicacioepepe #romefood #italianfood #italianstyle #foodporn #foodblogger #yummyfood #delicious #ciboitaliano A post shared by @lacucinaconamore on Mar 19, 2017 at 1:59pm PDT What to Eat When in Rome, do as the Romans do and indulge yourself in carbs. Unsurprisingly, homemade pastas are the name of the game in the Italian capital and carbonara is a must in the birthplace of the recipe. For simple comforts, try Spaghetti Cacio e Pepe (a peppery cheesy pasta) or Bucatini all’Amatriciana, a meaty, tomato-based dish using hollow pasta strings called bucatini. Fried appetizers such as artichokes, suppli and zucchini flowers are a great way to kick off a meal and if you're feeling adventurous, try a quinto quarto dish comprised of offal. Don't forget to bookmark our guide to Top 10 Rome Foods you must try when visiting the capital! Where to Go The Vatican City Regardless of your religious background, the Rome's holy city within a city never fails to amaze with its stunning architecture and range of Renaissance art. Filled with churches and museums, it's worth braving the hordes of tourists to see Michelangelo's breathtaking frescos across the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel and find Botticelli's masterpieces scattered across the Vatican Museums. After that, venture to St Peter's Basilica and climb its intricate spire for a view over the city and see the papal throne at the Basilica of St John Lateran. For a glimpse of the Pope on Sunday, arrive early at St Peter's Square to see him read the Angelus prayer from his window. Things to See Colosseum Named for the gigantic statue of Emperor Nero that once stood nearby, this gigantic Roman stadium is a legacy of the capital's ancient past. Where gladiators and bloodthirsty spectators once roamed within its walls, tourists can now discover the history of its entertainment and see the remains of its glorious architecture. ☀️🇮🇹 #Rome #pretty #trevifountain A post shared by Fran Howes☀️ (@frannhowes) on Mar 22, 2017 at 12:12am PDT Trevi Fountain Sometimes the best tourist sites in life are free and the grand Trevi Fountain is one of them, with images of its pristine white marble sculptures and coin-filled waters featuring in every guide book. Participate in a Roman tradition by turning your back to the fountain and tossing a coin over your left shoulder with your right hand - it's said that this will ensure you'll return to Rome in the future. Roman Forum Featured in blockbuster movies such as The Talented Mr. Ripley, the once great Roman Forum now stands in ruins and serves as a popular tourist highlight. Located in Capitoline Hills, once you've basked in the remains of its tall columns and massive expanse, it's worth heading over to the Capitoline Museums to see the legacy of ancient Roman art. Vittorio Emanuele II National Museum Rome, Italy #rome #museum #italy #backpacker #backpacking #travel #traveller #travelling A post shared by TK (@tk085) on Nov 26, 2015 at 10:45am PST National Museum of Rome Spread across four separate buildings, the National Museum of Rome encompasses the history of Rome's architectural contributions, artistic past and evolution of culture. While the widespread nature of the collection makes seeing all of it a frustrating task, those short on time should prioritise seeing the darling of the museum, the Palazzo Massimo alle Terme, which boasts a superb range of ancient Roman art.
Megan Hills

Our Favourite Coliseum Facts

Gladiators, tournaments, Nero and more - here are some of the best Coliseum facts! This distinctive structure hearkens back to ancient Roman times, and more specifically to 72-80AD when Emperor Vespasian commissioned it to win favour with his subjects. With a colourful history spanning hundreds of years, it's racked up a few interesting stories and some great facts, check out our favourite coliseum facts below! The biggest events held at the Coliseum were free Major public events like big gladiatorial tournaments and performances were open to the public, subsidised by the emperor to gain favour with citizens. With a capacity of over 50,000 spectators, that was no small feat - especially when you consider food was often free too! The Coliseum derives its name from the statue that used to stand nearby A gigantic statue of Emperor Nero, named the Colossus of Nero, was a part of Nero's Park and stood beside the gigantic Flavian amphitheatre. Its name is an homage to that statue and to Nero's reign. Citizens used to be shaded by the Velarium, a retractable marquee Italy is notorious for its burning sunshine and back in ancient times, a retractable shade would cover spectators during performances and was held up by 240 brackets. Since then, its been eroded and modern day visitors will have to brave the summer sun to explore the coliseum. The Coliseum has become a symbol of resistance against capital punishment In an act of redemption for its bloody gladiatorial past, the coliseum's lights shift from white to gold for 48 hours whenever a death sentence is commuted or overturned. It has also become a site of protest against capital punishment and its golden lights were last lit in 2012, when Connecticut abolished the death penalty. Lions weren't the only animals killed in the Coliseum Hundreds of thousands of animals were slaughtered in the bloody games at the Coliseum, shipped in from every corner of the Roman empire. Aside from lions, other animals included jaguars, hippos, elephants, hyenas, rhinos also made appearances and were held underground in pens underneath the Coliseum. The Coliseum has a diverse range of flora and fauna, which has dwindled in recent years The Coliseum once had an important place in the plant kingdom, with hundreds of rare species of plant growing amongst its stones. It was a popular place for botanists and horticulturists to do research, however many plants have died out with the change in climate and in recent years the Coliseum is regularly cleared out of plantlife to make way for visitors. Materials from the Coliseum were used to construct monuments such as St. Peter's Basilica Rome has a tradition of recycling materials from structures to build new ones and the Coliseum wasn't impervious to this. As it fell into disrepair, its marble facade was repurposed for St. Peter's Basilica on the Pope's orders which is now also a famous Roman tourist attraction.
Megan Hills
St Peter's Basilica in the Vatican City

Things to do in Rome at Night Time

A sightseeing Shangri-La during the day, Rome is arguably even more exciting after dark, when lights illuminate its spectacular ancient ruins, swoonsome fountains, imposing statues and vast Roman amphitheaters. It’s also a lot less hectic in and around the main attractions as the majority of tourists have already retired, footsore, to their hotels and apartments. Read on for our guide to all the best things to do in Rome at night time, including: Colosseum night tours People-watching on the piazzas Trevi Fountain The Catacombs of Rome The best rooftop bar views A night at the opera Gelato! Up on the Roof Let’s start our tour of night time Rome as we mean to go on: with a Campari cocktail at sunset in one (or two) of the Eternal City’s excellent rooftop bars. The sixth-floor terrace at Eitch Borromini Hotel is just about as good as it gets, with panoramic 360-degree views across the rooftops of Piazza Navona and beyond, and a list of cocktails as long as your arm. Watch the sun set over the Pantheon’s iconic dome from atop Hotel Raphael, see the illuminated Roman Forum from (where else?) Hotel Forum, and hit up the art-deco Bettoja Hotel Mediterraneo for some of the finest rooftop views in Rome. Do be aware that you’ll be paying for the view as well as the drink so expect significantly higher prices than at most street-level Rome bars. The Colosseum by Night Fewer tourists, shorter queues, cooler temperatures, better views… there’s literally no downside to making your pilgrimage to the Colosseum at night, when light floods the world’s largest (and best-preserved) ancient amphitheater and you can almost hear the roar of the crowd baying for gladiator blood. Night tours need to be pre-booked and usually kick off around 9PM, so plenty of time to scarf down a pizza before you get there. Night tours are also a great way to get into the guts of the Colosseum and unleash your inner Russell Crowe as you step out onto the arena floor, activities that are traditionally waaay oversubscribed during the daytime. People-Watch on the Piazzas The evening atmosphere on Rome’s piazzas is second-to-none. This is the magic hour, when the sun sets, bars bustle, and street entertainers come out in force. Hit up Piazza Navona – home of the beautifully illuminated Bernini fountain – grab yourself a gelato and find somewhere to perch as you admire the fairytale churches and palazzos and, well, just watch the world go by. Piazza di Spagna is no less enchanting and has the added bonus of lying at the foot of the Spanish Steps, while the lesser-spotted Piazza Trilussa over in Trastevere is an unsung hero beloved of locals who meet and mingle by the fountain here, overlooking Ponte Sisto and the Tiber, nightly. A Night at the Opera For the quintessential night time Rome experience, book a performance of one of the greats at the historic Teatro dell’Opera. We’re talking nothing less than the likes of Turandot, La Traviata, Madame Butterfly and La Bohème, right here in Italy, the birthplace of opera. Between its grand opera-house setting and extraordinary open-air summer home at the Baths of Caracalla, the Teatro dell’Opera has hosted performances by Maria Callas, The Three Tenors and Joan Sutherland, as well as the world premier of Puccini’s Tosca way back in 1900. Quite the pedigree, then. The Catacombs of Rome Night time activities in Rome don’t come much spookier than a tour of the Catacombs. Brace yourself for thrills, spills and chills as you descend deep beneath the city streets for a blood-freezing meet-and-greet with the city’s oldest permanent residents. For down here in the Catacombs lie the mortal remains of thousands of ancient Romans, often arranged in bizarre and macabre displays. These creepy underground ossuaries are spread across the city, but most tours will include a stop at the famous Capuchin Crypts, where the bones of countless friars are displayed in weird, wonderful and frankly shiver-inducing ways. Chapels down here include the Crypt of the Pelvises, Crypt of the Leg Bones and Thigh Bones, and Crypt of the Three Skeletons, and are very much not for the faint of heart. Trevi Fountain Photo Shoot Nothing says romance like an evening stroll to the Trevi Fountain. I mean, can you even say you’ve been to Rome if you haven’t flipped a coin into its waters at some point during your visit? No, dear reader, you cannot. And there’s really no better time to make your Trevi pilgrimage than at night after the crowds have dissipated, and when your chances of nabbing that essential ‘alone in Rome’ selfie for your Insta feed are at their highest. Pizza and Beer in Trendy Trastevere Bohemian Trastevere is one of Rome’s coolest neighborhoods, a medieval labyrinth of cobbled lanes and colorful piazzas chock-full of artisan stores, independent trattorias and hip brewpubs. The district really comes alive at night as locals gather for aperitifs on Piazza Trilussa before heading on for dinner and drinks at some of the best bars and pizza joints in town. Hit up local fave Pizzeria ai Marmi for a slice of the good stuff: wafer-thin, wood-fired and ultra-crispy with a kaleidoscopic range of toppings to choose from, then make for the likes of Ma Che Siete Venuti a Fà or Bir & Fud for craft brews that go above and beyond the ubiquitous Peronis and Birra Morettis favored by less adventurous travelers than you, dear reader. Gelato! It doesn’t matter a jot whether you’re visiting Rome during summer or in the depths of winter: Italian gelato should be considered an utterly essential part of your experience. Still in Trastevere? Hit up Otaleg for some of the city’s more unusual flavors (artichoke sorbet, anyone?). Or head back over the Tiber, where the chestnut flavor at Ciampini near Piazza Navona, and tiramisu from Il Gelato di Claudio Torcè may prove life-changing. Gelato parlors stay open well into the evening for all your night-time frozen snack needs. And Finally… McDonalds Bear with us here. In the event you get an attack of the late-night munchies that only a Big Mac can satisfy, make for the branch at Termini station, where your burger and fries come with a large side order of Roman history. For inside this otherwise identikit restaurant you can view a section of the Servian Wall that defended the city against invading Carthaginians and Gauls in the 4th Century BC. We're lovin' it. Save on attractions in Rome Save on admission to Rome attractions with the Vatican and Rome Omnia Pass. Check out @omniavaticanrome on Instagram for the latest top tips and attraction info.
Stuart Bak

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