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If you’re in Rome and like Italian food (who doesn’t?) the walking tours from Eating Italy Food Tours should be high on your list. A 4-hour outing included seven stops and 12 tastings ranging from small pastry bites and fresh produce, to a full pasta lunch complete with wine, and classic ‘real’ gelato where you could choose your own flavors for your cup.
I went on the Taste of Testaccio tour in one of Rome’s older, working-class-becoming-gentrified neighborhoods. The walking wound its way past some unique points of interest with the guide weaving the neighborhood’s history with it’s geography and food culture including Testaccio’s traditional roots as home to the city’s butchers (the old meat packing plant is now a contemporary art museum) and Monte Testaccio – a (very large) pile of broken terracotta pieces that was essentially a Roman dump. We also were introduced to the proprietors of everywhere we stopped, many of whom were second, third and even fourth generation workers in the family business, and learned more about their stories.
One of the best stops of the day was at a speciality food shop, Volpetti, which was filled to brim with cured meats, olives, cheeses, olive oil, balsamic vinegar, wines and more. Though definitely overwhelming – it was packed with both food items and people – I went back after the tour to pick up a few things to take home and was impressed by (and grateful for) how welcoming the staff were. You could tell they enjoyed what they do and were patient and helpful with tourists, even offering to bubble wrap the glass bottles I bought without me asking.
Everything we ate throughout the day was incredibly fresh – we made bruschetta at Testaccio Market by grabbing juicy tomatoes and basil at one stall then walking over to a bakery for baguette slices, tried mozzarella that hadn’t even been refrigerated it was so fresh and ate cannoli that was filled with ricotta and chocolate chips while as soon as we arrived.
By the end of the afternoon, not only had I eaten well, but felt like I had had an insider’s look into the Testaccio food scene and traditions. The only downside was that I had scheduled a pasta-making class for that evening and was already stuffed…but somehow I managed to make it through…
Eating Italy Food Tours Details and Contact
Eating Italy Food Tours offers three walking food tours in Rome and is also in the process of starting a couple cooking programs including a pasta making class for kids. You can learn about their tours here and be sure to check out their helpful blog for more local tips on Italian food, where to go in Rome and how to dine in Italy in general.
Note: I was a special guest of Eating Italy but all opinions and recommendations are my own and I would love to go back and do the other neighborhood tours as well!