By Ahmed Ahmed
Rome, housing the Vatican City, is a great centre of pilgrimage. Millions flock there to visit St. Peter’s Basilica and see the sights of the holy city. But if you tend to find yourself more drawn to earthly delights, then Rome knows another way to bring you to your knees: with its cuisine. Everyone knows that the Italians hold food in the highest regard. But did you know that some of the country’s choicest delicacies hail from the capital city itself?
Here’s a guide to eating like a Roman, courtesy of Oh-Rome.com
, whose short-stay holiday apartments offer you your very own piece of Roman life.
Breakfast (la Prima Colazione)
If you’re used to a good old fry-up, or waffles and pancakes, then the Roman idea of breakfast might leave you a little surprised. The norm is to take coffee – a caffè latte
, for example – with croissants or brioches. The emphasis is on quality, not quantity, so expect excellent coffee and deliciously moreish pastry that leaves you wishing for more. Head for a café where the locals are; you can be sure they know what’s good and what’s not.
Lunch (il Pranzo)
Traditionally, shops and businesses tended to close for a couple of hours in the afternoon so that people could head home and enjoy a leisurely lunch break. While this is less common nowadays, Romans still like to have a relaxed, and filling, midday meal. Lunch is the big one here, so take your time over it. Drop into a restaurant off the tourist trail to find better deals and more authentic fare. Long pasta dishes like Fettuccine Alfredo
(with parmesan and butter) or Spaghetti alla Carbonara
(in a creamy sauce with bacon and pecorino cheese) make a great lunch. Top them off with a cool glass of Frascati
, one of Rome’s famous white wines.
OK, so Italians don’t really have teatime, but Rome is full of gorgeous coffee shops and pasticcerie
where you can tuck into delicious buns, cakes and pastries. And don’t forget the famous gelato
: ice-cream in a variety of flavours that you can buy from stands and shops all over the city.
Dinner (la Cena)
What could be better than dinner in Rome? Treat yourself to a full Italian spread in one of the city’s numerous restaurants and trattorias. Pizza, which the Romans would love to claim, is actually from Naples. However, rich dishes like Saltimbocca alla Romana
- veal with prosciutto
and sage – are thoroughly Roman, right down to the bravado suggesting it’s so delicious it jumps into your mouth: ‘saltimbocca
.’ Meat-free specialties include Carciofi alla Romana
, artichokes filled with minced garlic and parsley. Whatever you choose, leave room for dessert. Crosta di Ricotta
is a classic Roman cheesecake, flavoured with oranges and sweet Marsala wine.