Rome brims with the relics of its ancient history. Over millennia, the Eternal City has seen colossal upheavals, housed architectural marvels, set the cultural zeitgeist and witnessed the rise and fall of an empire. The city still buzzes with an energy and passion, as proven by its lively bars and restaurants. Pop the calorie counting on the back-burner and indulge in delicious food, superb wine and gelato to die for – after all, when in Rome…
Pizza is often the order of the day here, whether you’re at a cosy eatery or breezing by a street vendor. For a pizza with all the toppings, bake your very own during a private class at a pizzeria such as the delightful Pizzeria al Grottino. A local favourite, pizza bianca isn’t pizza as you know it. Thinly-rolled dough is brushed with oil, cooked until crisp and served salted; it’s a simple but moreish pleasure, sold as a snack by bakeries and pizzerias throughout Rome.
Boasting historical roots in the city’s cuisine is the humble artichoke. The local variety has a vivid violet blush on its thick petals, and a hefty head on its shoulders. Fried in oil ‘Jewish-style’, Roman artichokes make a wonderfully crisp and surprisingly light side dish or appetiser. You can pick up your own artichokes at Campo de’ Fiori, the daily market where stalls are piled high with colourful fruit, veg, flowers and a range of treats and tipples.
Speaking of tipples, Rome lies in the Lazio region, renowned for its dry white wines. Just to the south-east of the city is the little hillside town of Frascati, home of an eponymous white wine produced here for centuries. Frascati wine comes still or sparkling (spumante), and the superiore blend bears a prestigious DOCG label. Other wine-producing towns and villages dotted along the same Alban Hill range are collectively known as the Castelli Romani, responsible for many exquisite DOC wines. Whilst staying at one of our luxury villas in Rome, sample the dry, crisp vino produced nearby – it’s the perfect accompaniment to the rich local cuisine.
One such dish, strongly associated with Rome, is porchetta. This succulent preparation of pork is salted, stuffed with herbs and served boneless. It’s been awarded prodotto agroalimentare tradizionale approval, a status granted by Italy’s government to traditional and revered Italian produce. Another Roman classic is carbonara, invented here in the 20th century; spaghetti, pecorino Romano (a locally-produced hard cheese), cured pork and eggs combine to make the perfect primo. To give you an added flavour of authenticity, we can arrange such a meal prepared by a local in the city’s medieval neighbourhood of Trastevere.