Every city in the world has a story to tell with their food and Rome is one of the richest, A history so diverse with influences from many cultures. The ancient Greek’s with the art of bread making and wine fermentation. The Etruscans provided the early roots of pasta. The Spanish introduced tomatoes. The Americas’s brought along chocolate, zucchini, peppers, beans, corn and squash. Today, the cuisine is vast but has it’s bacis’s in seasonal simple foods.
Rachel and Angelo of LivItaly Tours reached out to us and offered to send us on their Rome Food Small Group Tour. Which we gratefully took them up on. LivItaly is a family-owned company specializing in tours all over Italy. From a Running Tour in Rome to a Gondola Ghost Tour in Venice or a Ferrari F430 Test Drive in Maranello. They offer interesting food tours: a Market tour in Florence and a Private Market and Cooking Class in Rome. Owner Angelo’s mother Marilee, offers this tour. We really wanted to take this tour but unfortunately ran out of time.
Combining sight seeing with food is our favorite way to discover a city. Even though this was not our first trip to Rome, It felt like it on this food tour. Our guide Giuliano started out our tour at the Renaissance “Fontana Delle Tartarughe” (Turtle Fountain) at Piazza Mattei in the Sant’ Angelo district, We went for an Aperitivo at Pane Vino e San Daniele in the Piazza. While Giuliano told us about the the cuisine of Rome we enjoyed a luscious Italian red wine from Fantinel Vineyards. It was accompanied with a large platter of Italian meats, cheeses and bread. Our guide explained in Rome, the meat, cheese and bread are usually eaten separately. There was also honey on the table to put on the cheeses offered.
Next stop was The Old Jewish Quarter. Once known as an undesirable quarter, due to it’s location. Now it’s teaming with trendy shops, restaurants and tourist. Giuliano, introduced us to our waiter at Il Giaridino Romano restaurant, where we took a table outside. After pouring a crisp white wine we enjoyed a traditional Roman Jewish dish of fried artichokes. Known as “Carciofi alla Giudea” , the artichoke is trimmed and deep fried.
Already full, we took a nice stroll to Alice “pizza-by-the-slice” eatery. Walking into this colorful place you are met with large pans of pizzas of every kind. Fortunately we didn’t have to decide which pizzas to pick from, Giuliano picked a variety and had them boxed up. He had somewhere special to enjoy them: Largo Argentina, an square block of Roman ruins. Famous for where Julius Caesar was killed.
Now bursting at the seems, we walked over to the impressive and ancient Pantheon. Once a Roman temple and now a church, this massive building is a wonder. Facing this historical monument, Ristorante Di Rienzo has had three generations offering classic flavors and traditional dishes since 1952. We were served two pasta’s, one red sauce the other with white. Both amazing and delicious.
We ended our tour, at Giuliano’s favorite gelato in Rome, Punto Gelato. Famed gelato maker Gunther Rohregger, produces amazing flavors from a heavenly strawberry to a rich Madagascar Cinnamon to a unique dark Rosemary. Our only regret is that couldn’t try them all.
We would like to thank Giuliano, Rachel and Angelo of LivItaly for this terrific opportunity. We had a great time and learned so much about Rome’s unique culinary culture.
Read more: The Cultural Influences on Italian Cuisine, by Cucina Toscana