rome

With a city nicknamed Caput Mundi—Capital of the World—it’s only natural that Romans are accustomed to seeing their home as unrivaled in matters of history, culture, and food. And while it’s true that traditional local cuisine holds a sacred place at the table, the Rome is hardly impervious to change. The city’s (more…)

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Somehow it’s late June. I have no idea how that happened. Maybe it has something to do with high season being in full swing and having an absolute blast doing what I love most (after eating pizza of course): showing visitors around my adopted city. Recently, I have been changing things up a bit. Rather than only offering private tours, I have begun providing affordable group itineraries to two archeological sites I love, both of which are normally closed to the public: Monte di Testaccio (aka Monte dei Cocci) and the Circus Maximus Mithraeum.

Monte di Testaccio is a man-made hill composed of tens of millions of ancient terra cotta amphorae. The hill is a fascinating trash heap which testifies to the Roman appetite for imported oil during the Empire. The next visits to the 135-foot-tall pile of ancient olive oil jugs will be held July 8 from 11:00am-12:30pm and July 19 from 4:30-6:00pm.

The Circus Maximus Mithraeum, a cavernous underground ruin dedicated to the god Mithras, dates back to the early Imperial period and preserves ancient reliefs. I’ll be leading tours of that site July 10 and 16, both from 9:30-11:30am. Booking for all visits is essential and can be done via Eventbrite.

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DOT Bistrot opened a little over a year ago just off Piazza San Cosimato in the tourist trap-laden zone of Trastevere. Normally, I avoid dining in this part of town like the plague, but DOT is a rare island in a sea of mediocrity. The new(ish) arrival serves a combo of Sicily-inspired dishes (think panelle, seafood pastas, (more…)

fatamorgana trastevere gelato

In Rome, eating gelato is a year-round ritual, but since the temperatures have soared recently, I thought it was high time to update my annual gelato guide. There’s a bit of breaking news to report: Fatamorgana’s Prati location moved from Via Bettolo to Via Leone IV last week, so now it’s even closer to the Vatican walls. Ermanno di Pomponio has left Neve di Latte, while Carapina in central Rome raised the price of a small cup to €3.00, making it one of the priciest scoops in town, but worth every euro-cent. Al Settimo Gelo has expanded its offerings to buffalo’s milk gelato, which it makes for MozzaRe in Trastevere (peep the royally cheesy website). The pistachio will change your life.


View The Best Gelato in Rome and Therefore the World in a larger map

For more on gelato in Rome, check out this handy Google map pinpointing the best of the best or download my app or ebook for a portable version that works offline. And if low-tech gelato hunts are more your speed, be sure to brush up on how to judge gelato in 7 easy steps and these tips for finding natural gelato in Rome.

rachel roddy 5 quarters
Photo from Rachel Eats.

I know a few exceptional food writers. You know, the type who can effortlessly convey the aromas and flavors of her kitchen, flawlessly capture the relationships forged at the market, or earnestly document a familiar food culture in an utterly entrancing way. I know a few such people and one of them lives in Rome. Her name is Rachel Roddy and her cookbook comes out to day. You need to buy that book. Buy it for yourself and then buy it for every cook and traveler you know.

Rachel is a British food writer, blogger, home cook, and photographer. She grew up north of London surrounded by the books of Elizabeth David and Jane Grigson, a fact that shows through in her own honest, exquisite writing. A decade ago, she came to Rome and settled in Testaccio, a district in central Rome that is geographically isolated from its neighbors, engendering a completely unique atmosphere and distinct culture, one that Rachel is immersed in has illustrated beautifully with the recipes, images, and stories on her blog Rachel Eats. The book, Five Quarters: Recipes and Notes from a Kitchen in Rome, is a love letter to Testaccio, to Roman food, and to the simple, ordinary experiences that define life guided through food.

Now go buy this book and find a place for it beside titles by Jane Grigson, Elizabeth David, and Claudia Roden. It will soon be as well used and deeply loved as any of those.

Five Quarters: Pasta e Fagioli from Kat Tan on Vimeo.