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When you think about the food you might eat while visiting Italy, most people think of gelato and pizza. I’m no different.
What I learned from my food tour in Rome is that Italy has a lot more than pasta, pizza and strong espresso. There is so much history behind the food, with old traditions that have spanned centuries.
Food isn’t just a necessity in Italy, it’s a way of life, and feeds such a huge culture.
If you want to go on one of the best Rome food tours then this guide is for you. Every culinary tour offers something different and unique, so keep reading to find the one that’s right for you.
What to Expect from a Rome Culinary Tour
Prior to visiting Italy, I basically planned a two week trip across the country in search of the best pizza north of Rome. (I finally found it – in Rome — but I’m still open to further exploration!)
On my own culinary tour around Italy, I decided to go to the experts to find out more about the nation’s culinary history.
When in Rome, do as the Romans do, and indulge yourself!
You can expect food tours to take you not only to the best places to find local, freshly made food to sample dishes and snacks, but you can also expect to be taken to some of the historic sites and neighborhoods.
As you make your way from place to place, you’ll learn about Rome’s history, both food-related and not, and hear from local guides who are passionate about the local way of life, traditions, and culture.
It’s not all about good food – although that is the focus.
Best Rome Food Tour
Below you will find a list of food trips in Rome and what you can expect from each one.
1. Culinary Tours Taste Testaccio
I arrange to take a walk a food tour in Rome’s Testaccio neighborhood. It’s not the most touristy area in Rome but, as I soon learned, there are many reasons why it’s the best area for a food freak like me.
The tour started early in the morning so we had time to explore the local farmer’s market first. At the market we met some locals who had been standing there for years.
My favorite is Carmelo, the “Tomato Poet” who sells his tomatoes for the same price each—regardless of the variety. We sampled several different varieties as Carmelo would offer other diners.
After touring the food market, we had the opportunity to try the local Roman style breakfast cake—cornetto.
It’s something most of us on tour have never heard of before. And it’s great! There’s also tiramisu in a chocolate cup. Can’t go wrong with that.
My favorite part of the walking tour is when we stop at a gourmet food shop E. Volpetti. The shop serves gourmet cheeses (over 140) and meats, but what I enjoyed the most was tasting the balsamic.
I enjoyed it so much I even took some balsamic vinegar home with me.
After all those treats we spent some time getting a better history of the Testaccio area of Rome.
Instead of just stuffing our faces all afternoon, we visited one of Rome’s most famous cemeteries—it’s for non-Catholics only and it’s where the famous poet John Keats is buried.
John Keats Grave
Our tour guide explains some of the history of the area, which is sure to include details about the neighborhood soccer (soccer) obsession, mafia history, and some of your typical Italian stereotypes.
After exploring more historical sites, it’s back to the culinary tour.
Lunch includes a Roman pasta dish and — of course — fine wine. By this time I was more than full enough. But when the tour’s final stop was announced—Rome’s most popular gelato cafe—my appetite was up again!
The real problem
At the gelateria, our tour guide explains the most important tips to tell the difference between real and fake gelato, because unfortunately some gelato shops are tourist traps:
1. Pay attention to the color. Banana gelato should be off-white, not yellow (don’t eat the banana peels!)
2. Pay attention to the shape. Real gelato shouldn’t have big, bumpy bumps pouring out of a metal tub. Richer, tastier gelato while filling up with less air!
3. Keep an eye on the ingredients. If you see a large box of chocolates behind the counter, or an empty tub, you’re probably not eating the real thing. Italian delis often display their ingredients prominently, so have a quick look before you buy!
By the end of the tour I felt like a foodie but luckily the good food in Rome didn’t stop there.
My guide offered me all of his favorite Rome restaurants so the rest of my stay would be as good as the tour!
2. Street Food Tour of Rome
This Rome Street Food Tour is a great experience for first-time visitors to Rome who want to discover the city’s culinary secrets while exploring its lively streets.
This tour is led by a friendly local guide, who will take you on a journey through the city’s neighborhoods, where you’ll visit traditional food markets and sample some of Rome’s best street food.
You’ll learn about the history behind each dish and the cultural influences that have shaped Roman cuisine over the years.
The tour includes stops at a family-owned restaurant, bakery, and gelateria, where you’ll sample a variety of authentic Italian treats, such as pizza bianca, suppli, and artisanal gelato.
This interesting and delicious tour is a must do for anyone who wants to experience the true essence of Rome.
3. Trastevere Rome Hidden Food Tour
The Hidden Rome food tour in the Trastevere district is an evening food tour that allows you to experience the city’s vibrant nightlife and savor its delicious cuisine.
The tour takes you through the charming streets of Trastevere, one of Rome’s most beautiful neighborhoods, where visitors can explore its hidden alleyways and corners.
You will be guided by a local guide who will introduce you to the best food spots and traditional dishes, as well as sample some of the freshest ingredients such as fresh mozzarella di bufala and truffle cheese.
Along the way, you’ll learn about the history and culture of Trastevere and Rome, making it an immersive and enriching experience.
This food tour is perfect for anyone looking to sample some of Rome’s best food in a lively and authentic setting.
4. Culinary Tour Campo Marzo Street Taste of Rome
This food tour lets you explore the city’s culinary culture while seeing its famous landmarks.
This tour combines a walking tour of Rome’s back streets and hidden alleyways, taking you through some of the most iconic sights to some of the hidden gems of the historic district.
You will stop at local food markets and street food vendors, where you will sample traditional Roman dishes.
Knowledgeable guides will provide insight into the city’s rich history and architecture, as well as its culinary traditions.
This tour is perfect for those who want to experience the highlights of both worlds: delicious food and unforgettable excursions.
5. Vegan Food Tour Experience
If you have dietary restrictions, such as being gluten-free, vegetarian or have allergies, then a vegan food tour is for you.
This one-of-a-kind tour lets you enjoy the city’s delicious vegan Italian cuisine, taking you to some of Rome’s best vegan restaurants and eateries.
This tour offers the opportunity to sample traditional Italian vegan dishes made from fresh and locally sourced ingredients.
You will visit markets and eateries that specialize in vegan cuisine, exploring different tastes and textures.
Along the way, you’ll learn about the history and culture of veganism in Rome, making it an immersive and educational experience.
6. Food and Wine Tour of the Jewish Ghetto and Navona
If you want to sample some classic Italian fine wines then this is the tour for you.
A Navona Jewish Ghetto and Food and Wine Tour is a fantastic way to experience the city’s culinary delights and sample some of Italy’s finest wines.
The tour takes you through the charming streets of Rome’s historic center, where you will visit traditional food markets, artisanal bakeries and famous wine bars.
Your guide will introduce you to authentic dishes from the Jewish region, such as artichokes, as well as local wines, such as Frascati and Chianti.
Along the way, you’ll learn about Rome’s history and culture, making for an immersive and enriching experience.
7. Small Group Walking Tour of Trastevere, Campo de’ Fiori & Jewish Ghettos
Last but not least, was a small group walking tour of Trastevere, Campo de’ Fiori and the Jewish Quarter. This is where you’ll sample some of Rome’s tastiest dishes.
Your expert guide will take you to traditional markets, family-owned restaurants and popular eateries, where you’ll sample local specialties such as supplì, pizza and gelato.
The tour also includes visits to historic and cultural sites, providing a deeper understanding of Rome’s rich history and culture.
This small group tour ensures an intimate and personalized experience, making it perfect for foodies and history buffs.
Final Thoughts on the Best Food Tours in Rome
Going on a food tour in Rome is the best way to uncover the culinary delights of the Eternal City while immersing yourself in its rich history and culture.
Rome’s culinary history and traditions are some of the oldest in the world, and food tours allow visitors to access a variety of delicious dishes, from traditional pasta dishes to artisanal gelato in a single day trip.
Food tours are not only a great way to satisfy your appetite, they are also a great way to gain a deeper understanding of a city’s culture and traditions.
Bio: In 2009, Adam Groffman quit his job as a graphic designer in Boston and traveled the world for 15+ months. The life-changing journey took him to places like North Africa, the Middle East, India and Southeast Asia. Since 2011 Adam has been living in Berlin – the hipster city in Europe. the blog, Adam’s journeyfocused on finding the coolest cultural things to do around the world.
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Do you have any good food recommendations for Rome? Let us know in the comments!