I’m a die-hard foodie and the first thing I did when we arrived in Rome was to book a food tour with Walks of Italy for the very next day. I knew from the very first day I was in food lover’s heaven. There seemed to be multiple restaurants on every street and they all looked amazing whether they were an outdoor cafe on a big Piazza or a tiny trattoria tucked into a tiny alleyway.
Our first evening in Rome
We arrived in the morning after an arduous 4 ½ hour flight from Los Angeles to Philadelphia and another 8 ½ hour flight from Philadelphia to Rome. Bags in tow, we took the train from the airport to Termini station. (about 1 hour) When we arrived, we grabbed a cab to Hotel Lirico, next to the Opera House but it was way too early for check-in.
We were ravenous and since we had some time to kill, we dropped off our bags and grabbed a nearby gelato at a cafe nearby. After one spoonful, I realized I wasn’t in Kansas anymore. We walked around a little to get our bearings and then checked in so we could rest and refresh for a while. A little later we ventured out again to search for a restaurant for dinner near the hotel.
We wandered into some back alleyways checking out a few prospects and finally came upon a small trattoria called Ristorante La Forchetta d’Oro le Anna. It wasn’t open yet but intuition told us we had to eat there.
Since it was too early to eat we walked a few blocks to the Basilica Santa Maria Maggiore. It’s the largest and oldest Catholic Marian church in Rome and is amazing inside. It was constructed sometime between 432-440 AD.
Our tummies were growling so we walked back to the trattoria. By that time several people were seated inside having dinner, and they all looked like locals, which was a good sign. Soon the restaurant was filled up to capacity so we were glad we walked in when we did. The owner started us off with a plate of amazing bruschetta made with fresh, ripe tomatoes, garlic, and parsley spread on crusty homemade bread. Our first bite told us we had hit the jackpot. I don’t remember ever tasting more flavorful tomatoes anywhere.
Our first course was an addicting plate of pasta topped with porcini mushrooms, shrimp, and fresh tomato sauce. There was actually more on the plate but I’d already dove in before I remembered to take a photo. That’s the foodie in me!
Next was a delicate and flavorful veal scallopini.
We also enjoyed a plate of freshly grilled zucchini, eggplant, and peppers dripping with mouth-watering olive oil and fresh cut herbs.
We didn’t any room left in our bellies for the Tiramisu, but the owner insisted we finish off our meal with a glass of Limoncello. When in Rome. . .
Even though we ate at many restaurants on our 28-day trip and they were all amazing, this first one was our absolute favorite! How lucky is that?
Walks of Italy Rome Food Tour
The next morning, we took a taxi to meet up with our tour group for the Rome Food Tour: Pizza-Making, Markets & Tastings with Walks Of Italy. Our meeting place was at the statue of Giordano Bruno, located in the center of Campo di Fiori, an open-air market. We were a little early so while we were waiting we wandered around the market.
Our tour guide was Julia, a 30ish young Brit who has been living in Rome for over ten years. She turned out to be a complete delight.
She took us to sample olive oil and balsamic vinegar with crusty bread and some uniquely Italian liqueurs.
Next, we walked over to the Antica Norcineria Viola meat shop in a building near the market. We went into the back of the shop where the shop owners treated us to plates of Italian cold cuts. We washed them down with a bottle of wine that Julia had provided.
Be warned: This isn’t a tour for people on restricted diets, vegans or the gluten intolerant. Italians, like many other people in Europe, love their pork and bread. I couldn’t get enough of it. And, you never know what you’ll find in a meat shop. A pair of donkey balls were hanging out to dry in the photo below. Italians don’t waste any part of an animal. We didn’t try any, thank God.
After we porked out on pig meat, we moved on to the Latte Cisternino Cheese Shop. Again, we were taken to the back of the shop where we sampled mozzarella, hard cheeses, and a dessert cheese made with lemon. We washed that down with another bottle of wine. (by this time we were getting tipsy) I’m a cheesehead so I was in cheese heaven.
Our final stop was the Bomba Ciccia Pizzeria where we sat down at a table with more wine while the staff prepared a large table for us so we could learn to make pizza.
Pizza in Italy is thin and light. You can eat an entire round by yourself and not feel full. We rolled out the dough using wooden dowels. Then we swirled fresh tomato sauce on top making sure the sauce didn’t touch the edge.
Each of us had the option to add cheese, artichokes, roasted zucchini, peppers, eggplant, olives, and fresh sausage to our liking. Then we shoved our creations into the fire for a short bake.
Walks of Italy’s Rome Food Tour is a fabulous way to get to know the people who work at the market and adjoining shops, learn about Italian cuisine and meet fellow travelers.
If you’re a foodie like I am, you won’t want to pass it up.
Planning a Trip to Rome
Find a hotel in Rome
- Booking.com – Find a hotel in Rome
Get the best price on a flight to Rome
- Skyscanner – Find the most affordable flight to Rome on a search engine you can trust.
Rent a car in Rome
- Auto Europe – This site offers the best auto rates in Europe.
Take a tour of Rome
- Best tours of Rome – Book a tour on Viator to see the amazing sites of Rome.
- Tours by Locals – Find a local guide to take you on a private and personalized tour.
Don’t forget to buy travel insurance!
What would be the first thing you order to eat when in Rome? Please leave a comment below.
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