Dive into Roman culture: the best food tours in Rome
Everyone who knows me is aware of the fact that I’m a big foodie. Whenever I travel I love to hunt down the best local restaurants and get a taste of the country’s cuisine. Which gets me thinking: who says that food isn’t a way to fully immerse yourself in a different culture? It’s not just about the sightseeing and the experiences, food plays a big role in a country’s heritage, too. So if you’re a foodie visiting Rome, a food tour is definitely the perfect way to dive into Roman culture. And lucky for you, I’ve got the perfect one to recommend: Devour Tours!
I’ve just recently been on their Testaccio Neighbourhood and Market Tour and was completely impressed by it. I’m from Rome and I don’t usually go on food tours, but hey, I’m not much of a Testaccio lady either. So it was a great way to merge an area which I don’t frequent often and some yummy food. And I’ve got to say, it was a wonderful experience.
I met with the group at Piazza Santa Maria Liberatrice, and our guide Abbie was just the most perfect host. She’s from the States and met the love of her life in Rome while doing a study abroad years ago. And now they’re about to get married! She lives in Rome, speaks Italian and knows some pretty cool gems in the Testaccio neighbourhood (some where I hadn’t even been to)! After a general introduction off we went, we were a small group of 7 coming from different parts of the world, and couldn’t have gotten along any better!
We kicked off with breakfast in one of the best pasticcerie in Testaccio – from the coffee to the maritozzo and cornetto alla crema, everything was top-quality. After a nice start to the day, we started walking to the famous Mercato Testaccio – a foodie heaven. The Testaccio Market boasts numerous eateries with small stands, as well as fresh local produce that you can purchase. From the pizza al taglio to the buffalo pecorino and parmesan cheese tasting, everything in Mercato Testaccio is remarkable. After eating away at the various food stands, we went to see the famous Mattatoio, the former slaughterhouse of Testaccio. Here, Abbie gave us an overview of the history of the neighbourhood and how it’s been changing over the years. I loved how passionate she was about the whole story and every spot she chose was truly great.
We then stopped at a hidden fraschetta in Testaccio for a fresh Roman broccoli and roasted prosciutto cotto panino accompanied by a glass of the house wine. The place we went to has had a family vineyard in Frascati for over a century! The vibe is super local, only Italians coming by to get their lunch on the go.
We kept walking till we reached one of the most amazing alimentari in Rome: Salumeria Volpetti. Here, we indulged in cured meats, from parma ham to two different types of salami, marinated artichoke and sun dried tomato. Not to mention we had an olive oil tasting as well as Balsamic Vinegar tasting! Abbie explained much about the food, its origin, and the way it’s produced, which was quite interesting.
After that, we hopped to another place to taste one of the best street foods worldwide: supplì al telefono. If you’ve never tried supplì, they’re fried rice balls with a ragu sauce filled with warm stringy mozzarella in the middle. YUM! And for lunch, the famous carbonara, amatriciana and cacio e pepe pasta weren’t missing, along with the house wine in a delightful trattoria in Testaccio.
And to finish in style, we went to one of Abbie’s favorite gelaterias for a taste of delicious gelato! The food? Lots of it! But pace yourself and you’ll be fine! You truly get to taste some of the best Rome has to offer in probably THE foodie neighbourhood of Rome. You get to explore this off-the-beaten path neighbourhood and taste iconic Roman dishes in family-run alimentari, restaurants and eateries. It’s the perfect way to learn about Roman culture.
And apart from the food, I fell in love with the group. It was so nice to exchange stories, talk to different people who share your same passions and just spend a great morning all together. Plus, if you’re visiting Rome for the first time, it’s also a great way to get tips and recommendations from Abbie!