It’s almost a sacrilege to come to Rome and not take a food/ wine tour. It will almost be like coming here and not seeing the Pantheon or not going to the Colosseum. Given, how much the average Italian loves food… a food tour in Rome is almost a sacred experience. Savouring each bite, learning the regional connotations of dishes and immersing yourself in the neighbourhood gastronomic specialities is an experience you will remember forever.
Rome is an excellently walk worthy city and certain neighbourhoods like Trastevere, Prati and the Campo Di Fiori area are simply ideal for food tours. Choosing the best food tour in Rome can be a hard decision especially if you are taking just one food tour. The Campo di Fiori and the Testaccio local market area and the colourful Trastevere neighbourhood will lay open local food in its most basic form so if that’s what you are looking for choose an operator who does these area centric tours. Then there are Vatican neighbourhood tours that combine food and cultural experience and day food tours to wine hubs like Frascati that lie just outside Rome.
And then there are passionate food lovers who really want an immersive experience in Roman food and so they opt for pizza making/ pasta making or gelato/ tiramisu making tours… these combine cooking classes with loads of tastings!! And then there are people who are in Rome for a week or so and are looking for a wine experience complete with a vineyard visit. There are aperitivo tours offered in the heart of Rome but to visit a vineyard is a different experience altogether.
Whatever tour you take prepare yourself up with some basic knowledge about Roman food. You can go through our Roman food culture page for some additional information. You can also go through our cuisine section in the main Italy tourism page for getting a good idea about Italian food in general.
Read: The Best Italian Wine Guide to know about how to understand & identify the best wines in Italy and how to buy them.
How to get the most out of your Roman food tour
The Romans are mighty particular about their food. They will vehemently tell you that authentic Romano Brunelli pecorino cheese should be used to prepare spaghetti carbonara. They are rigid about which cheese to pair with which wine and what dish to eat on which day. Their Aperitivo sessions are a thing of beauty and Sunday lunches are decadent longish affairs. And their affair with pizzas, pastas and lesser known delights like trapizzino and suppli are unprecedented.
One absolute no-no is starving yourself before the tour so that you can eat well on it. Never do this as this will make you exhausted and cranky and make you prone to acidity and indigestion. And when you are starved at the beginning of the tour you will wolf down food at the first two/three stops and then stuff yourself full so that there is no room to enjoy whatever is coming in the latter part of the tour. In Rome, every area has its own speciality and not to get a taste of it all is a sin. And of course missing the mandatory gelato at the end of each food tour is a bigger sin.
So eat a light meal 3 to 4 hours before your food tour so that you are energetic yet with a healthy appetite. Once you start your tour take small bites of everything even if it is delicious beyond description. For example, don’t stuff the entire suppli into your mouth even though it’s a super delectable fried risotto ball with a gooey cheese centre!!!
Note down the addresses of the establishments you want to visit later, pack up some nibbles to enjoy later but don’t overeat at any point otherwise you may have to quit in the middle!! Italian food tours serve a whole lot more food than their French counterparts so wearing stretchable clothes (track pants are a nice option) is a great option. Don’t load up on water too (skip the mandatory 2 litres requirement for that day) so that you have more room for food and wine. You are likely to taste some wonderful wine variants with longish confusing labels and terminology. Remember to differentiate between normal table wine, IGT wine and the prime wines of DOC/ DOCG.
Don’t get drunk though as most tour operators will cut the tour short for inebriated guests while some smartly replace alcoholic drinks with non-alcoholic ones.
The tours may not offer extra drinking water so carry your own bottle (for taking moderate sips). Wear comfy shoes and carry an umbrella in case the weather gods decide to act up.
Secret Food Tour
Now this is a really big setup… they work all across Europe, Americas, Africa and Asia. They have a very cultural approach to food with lots of history insights, recommendations, anecdotes that make the food journey a delicious story session. Guides are super knowledgeable and very friendly.
In Rome their most popular offering is the 3.5 hour guided food tour in the historic centre. With 8 stops and a lot of local exposure, anecdotes and food stories this tour offers the opportunity of sampling 3 different kinds of pizzas, suppli and 2 types of authentic Roman pastas. The brief history lesson about spaghetti carbonara and learning the difference between gelato and ice cream are other extras. Guests will be offered cannoli (the iconic Italian pastry) and one secret dish at a hidden location. There are also fine DOC wines and the mandatory cappuccino/ espresso that’s a part of the deal.
The schedule is as follows… start off with coffee at a café in piazza Navona and then move on to pizza samplings while checking out the street musicians. Next it’s time for a visit to campo di fiori vegetable market for some suppli, cured meats and cannoli and some Roman pasta in Jewish quarter. Then there are cheese and wine pairings, Spaghetti tastings, Italian pastries and gelato.
If you want to drink more pay 12.99 euros more and then you can get the upgraded drinks package tour. The drinks will include Prosecco DOC or Spritz (Venice created white sparkling wine), Italian Lager Beer (they offer Menabrea or Ichnusa) and Italian Organic Wines (Montepulciano red or a mineral white Malvasia). The selection is perfect for apertivo sessions and getting to know the heritage behind the drinks is beautiful. Remember if you get drunk these guys will replace your drinks with virgin versions.
Tours are offered at 11 a.m. and 5 p.m. If you would like a drink centric tour then choosing the evening slot is better. Tours usually meet up with their orange umbrella holding guides in front of the Brazilian Embassy in Piazza Navona N.14. (On Sundays the meeting point is Piazza Rotunda).
The Roman Food Tour
Arguably Rome’s most popular food tour operator, Roman Food Tour offerings are always only about the food. Rarely will their tours have any sightseeing options…there is only massive quantities of food with interesting anecdotes about their heritage.
The Roman Food Tour by Day lasts for a little over 4 hours and is priced at 80 euros. Inclusions are 20 food & wine tastings, a bottle of water and an expert English-speaking guide. The tour runs from Monday to Saturday from 10.45 a.m. and kicks off near the Cipro metro stop in the Prati neighbourhood. The tour ends conveniently near the Ottaviano metro and the guide will helpfully give you directions towards your next destination.
The food tour starts off with breakfast at La Paticceria Siciliana where the chef whips up cannolo’s as guests sip on Italian cappuccinos. Next stop is Pizzarium (read its detailed review here) and if you are lucky an encounter with the Michelangelo of Pizza ‘Gabriele Bonci’ is possible. Pizza samplings curated amongst his 80 different topping offerings follow. The next stop is a cheese tasting session at La Bufalina gourmet store that stocks umpteen variants of cheeses, oils, balsamic vinegar and meats. Exquisite concoctions like Pecorino Romano with truffles, Gorgonzola Dolce and balsamic vinegar sprinkled aged Parmiagno Reggiano are offered to guests. The best Prosciutti that includes Cinta Senese, Parma, and San Daniele are offered along with a glass of DOCG Falangina.
The group then moves to the Trionfale market where the Roman market vibes can be truly felt. Buffalo mozzarella, melanzane parmigiana and porchetta are offered in tastings but feel free to load up your bag with whatever else you might want to buy. One of the highlights of the tour that is the demystification of the Italian wine labelling system takes place here and tastings of wines from different vineyards across the country are offered.
The next stop is Al Giardino Del Gatto e la Volpe…a family owned true blue Italian trattoria where ravioli (ricotta cheese and spinach) and gnocchi (4 cheese) are served with an excellent glass of DOCG Vermentino wine.
The tours last stop is Fatamorgana (that’s an artisanal gelataria)… learn what makes a gelato artisanal and its differences with ice-cream. There are over 60 flavours on offer here.
The Prati by Sunset tour is priced at 90 euros and is an excellent way to spend a Roman evening. This tour is a little over 4 hours and runs from Monday to Sunday at 5.30 p.m. The tour meeting point is the square near Cipro Metro / Underground stop and ends near the Ottaviano stop.
Naturally the tour kicks off with an aperitivo (at La Bufalina) and a spread comprising of 12 water buffalo mozzarella caprese, truffles, 30 year aged balsamic vinegar. The CNN recommended Gabriele Bonci’s Pizzarium is next and you can sample exotic toppings like caviar, foie gras, prosciutto with fig, fresh ricotta with baby zucchini on pizza. A trip to Rome’s favourite food store… the Paciotti (owned by the intriguing Stefano Paciotti) is next in line. Browse through more than 200 kinds of cheeses and 100 kinds of meats and savour samplings of cheeses (Parmigano Reggiano, Pecorino Romana, sweet Gorganzola Torta Montanara). You will also get to taste hams (Parma, Cinta Senese and Joselito). Of course a fine glass of DOC wine will keep you company.
Next, it’s time for Al Giardino Del Gatto e la Volpe (Rome’s local favourite family trattoria). Guests can have ravioli with spinach and the iconic 4 cheese gnocchi along with a glass of DOCG Vermintino. All Italian food tours end with gelato and this one too ends at Fatamorgana vintage gelato store where guests are taught the differences between real and fake gelato. Variants of gelato from each region like Amalfi coast’s Limone flavour and Bronte (Sicily’s) Pistachio is offered.
Another variation of the evening tour is the Trastevere by sunset tour that’s again a 4 hour tour that starts at 5.30 p.m… Offered every day, this is priced at 90 euros but offers 16 tastings and fewer stops than the other 2 tours.
The Trastavere tour begins at Trapizzino where you will taste the Roman local snack that marries pizza and a sandwich. Some of these have gourmet stuffing’s/ toppings like parmigiana di melanzane, Roman oxtail stew, artichokes, meatballs, tripe etc. After Trapizzino and wine tastings, the next stop is a prize salumeria were you will taste exotic cheese selections like sweet Gorgonzola, Pecorino Romano, and Parmigianino Reggiano accompanied by truffles and sometimes sprinkled with organic aged balsamic vinegar (possibly Rome’s favourite sipping condiment).
Review ham selections like Parma, salami and San Daniele with a glass of DOCG Chianti. From here the group will move to Trastevere’s iconic wood fire pizzeria (the oldest pizzeria here) for some pizza slices, fine wine and pasta. The last stop is Fonte della salute artisanal gelataria where the group learns all about the art of creating the perfect gelato.
They also offer a Food and wine tour in the historical centre of Rome on Sundays and Wednesdays (4.30 p.m.). This tour is priced at 95 euros and meets up at the first stop i.e. Antica Salumeria at Piazza Della Rotonda.
This covers food stops as well as landmark locations (Spanish steps, Pantheon and a good view of the Trevi). The tastings happen at Antica Salumeria (cheese, meats and Frascati Superiore), a rooftop restaurant near Trevi (truffles, Parmigiano Reggiano and Barolo/ Amarone wine) and at a local trattoria near the Spanish steps (pasta and wine tastings). The tour ends with Tiramisu at a local Roman favourite shop.
Should you want to visit a vineyard, you can take up the Day trip to Castel Gandolfo town that has luscious vineyards. The tour includes train ride to Castel Pauli’s vineyard and a tour of the vineyard with 3 different wine tastings (usually Frascati Superiore DOCG, Donna Adriana and Campo Vecchio).
A tour of the Castel Gondolfo town follows with trips to local shops including a salumeria (porchetta tastings). The group will then lunch at La Gardenia restaurant (overlooks the lovely lake Albano). It’s always an exotic meal (gnocchi with truffles, lobster with linguine and nice wine). Some local exploration follows and then the group goes back to Roma. This 7 hour tour costs 130 euros (110 euros for kids) and is offered every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday.
There is also a Trionfale market day tour that runs every day except Sundays and happens in Prati. Visits to 6 venues for food and wine tastings (including La Cannoleria, Trionfale market, pizzeria and a local trattoria run by the Paciotti family). This starts from 10.45 am near the Capri underground station and ends near the Vatican museums.
Tours here are done in groups of 12 people max so there is a lot of guide to visitor interaction. Children have discounted rates of 70 euros for the sunset tours. The Rome Food Tour guides always carry placards so they are immediately recognisable.
Food Tours of Rome
Founded by Bruno (food connoisseur and guide) Food Tours of Rome specialises only in Italian food tours in Italy. This operator is known for its area centric Roman food tours and uniquely positioned offerings.
They offer a very popular Jewish Ghetto and Campo de Fiori by night food tour that combines a walking tour of Campo Mazio area… known as Rome’s oldest district. This tour involves a tour of 7 food stops near famous monuments and presents a kind of sightseeing plus food experience. Stroll around Piazza Navona, Campo de Fiori, Piazza Farnese, Jewish Ghetto and Julius Caesar’s death spot. At Ghetto Ebracio you will get to sample a Jewish street food speciality called Carciofo alla Giudia (fried artichokes) and go admiring the new synagogue, Teatro Marcello and the Portico di Ottavia.
At Campo di Fiori you will visit an ancient bakery where a delightful margherita pizza and some light beer are on offer. You will also check out the execution square and an organic food store that stocks a good selection of cheese and cured meats. After tastings of cheese, ham and wine move on to the ruins of Teatro Pompei and a lovely trattoria that serves pasta and wine. Sip on special Sant Eustachio blend in a cute café (dates back to 1938) near Basilica di Sant Eustachio and ten move on to Largo Torre Argentina where guests are treated to gelato.
This is a 4 hour tour that meets up around the Jewish Ghetto and runs from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m.
Then there is the Trevi and Pantheon food tour that covers the Trevi fountain, Spanish steps, and Montecitorio zones along with restaurants/ cafes and street food stops in this area. This tour is meant for those who want to check out the fountain and the Pantheon and taste the local food as a side offering.
This tour runs from 11.00 a.m. to 3.00 p.m. and is 4 hours long. The group usually meets up at Piazza Campo de Fiori.
You can also opt for the rather unusually curated Monti and Esquilino food tour which winds around the 7 hills of Rome through the Esquilino and Monti districts. These areas teem with exclusive wineries, restaurants and street shops besides magnificent basilicas and gorgeous art. This tour predominantly focuses on the wine bars of the beautiful Monti and visits to attractions like the Borgia stairs, San Pietro in Vincoli Church, Santa Maria Monti etc. The guide will offer a thorough lesson on the terroirs of each wine region and possible wine pairings with cheese and ham nibbles. This is also a 4 hour tour that runs from 10.30 a.m. to 2.30 p.m.
The san Giovanni district is known for its local markets and food heritage. Food Tours of Rome offers a 3.5 hour San Giovanni Tour (runs from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.) focusing in this zone that offers visit to the local market, cheese wine and deli tastings and a typical Italian meal at a family run osterie. Visits to the Santa Croce church, san Giovanni basilica and an exploration of the ancient aqueducts is also a part of the deal. Like most of their tours, this one too has a coffee gelato stop at the end.
Those with a sweet tooth can revel in the Dessert and Sightseeing Food Tour in Rome. This tour focuses on Italy’s favourite desserts like Cannoli, Diplomatici, Babà, Cassate, Brutti ma zoni, Zabaione, Sfogliatelle and Gelato. As the guide takes the group around the Campo de Fiori and Piazza Navona zones, the guests will visit umpteen gelatarias, pastry shops and vintage confectionaries. Obviously not meant for waistline watchers, the 3-hour tour runs at 3 p.m. and 5 p.m. and has about 7 stops along with some sightseeing options at attractions like the Pantheon. This tour is good for people who are interested in the history of desserts like the fact that most Roman heritage desserts had cheese, honey and no sugar.
Then there is the Wine tasting and sightseeing tour which takes in sights like Borgia stairs, San Pietro in Vincoli church, Santa Maria of Monti church. The tour is led by a sommelier who points out all the historic wine bars. Guests will learn about the apertivo culture in some detail and get to taste heritage spirits like classic grappa and limoncello, Amaro, Strega, Rosolio, Sambuca, Genepi and the iconic Aperol Spritz. The tour usually starts off from Piazza della Suburra from 5 p.m. to 8.30 p.m.
People with gluten free diets might enjoy their Gluten free tour and those looking for a food oriented day trip will enjoy the Florence food and culture tour/ Naples by night food tour.
The tours offered by this operator are usually restricted to maximum group sizes of 16 people. Guides speak great English and encourage groups to ask questions. The lack of headphones however, makes 16 a rather large group size to focus on.
Eating Italy is a sub group of Eating Europe Food Tours and the Roman edition isn’t very old… they only began offering curated food tours since 2011. Eating Europe offers a selection of food tours all across European cities. Eating Italy has been earning consistently good reviews since the last few years.
Those who are in love with the idea of Roman street food should definitely take the Trastevere street food tour. The tour will treat guests to fried risotto balls (suppli), Trapizino (calzone and pizza fusion) etc. while they roam around the cobbled streets of Trastevere. Highlights of the trip include a visit to Antica Caciara (a 1900 dated delicatessen) and interactions with the Polica family (owners). Another highlight is the Piero Iacozzilli store that’s referred to as ‘King of Porchetta’ and tastings of their famous roast pork and cheeses. Then there is an encounter with Signora Vera…Trastevere’s famous pastry chef, a gelato session and generous tastings of craft beer from a selection of 40 local beers.
The Twilight Trastevere tour is also styled similarly though it lasts for 4 hours and is more expensive 99 euros. Highlights of the tour are Da Enzo (a famous trattoria that has been used for movie locations) and a wine tasting session at Spirito di Vino’s wine cellar. Then there is a tour of a family owned cookie factory, Piero Iacozzilli’s roast pork tastings and explorations of the lovely little churches that dot Trastevere. A full pasta Amatriciana meal with Cacao e pepe and fine wine at a local trattoria is also a part of this tour deal and so are tastings of suppli and gelato.
This Street eats day tour runs from Monday to Saturday for 3 hours at 10.45 a.m. and 11.30 a.m. a standard tour costs 79 euros. The Trastevere timeless traditions evening tour runs at 4 slots; 4.15 pm, 5 p.m., 5.45 p.m. and 6.30 p.m. and is offered from Monday to Saturday.
Another set of tours focus around the Testaccio street market area. There is the 4 hour Testaccio day tour that has tastings of cheese, olive oil, salami and prosciutto at the Testaccio open market and learning the art of making bruschetta and knowing fresh mozzarella. Tour the pyramid of Cestius and know the history of Rome’s oldest neighbourhood before enjoying a 3 pasta and wine meal at Velavevodetto and craft beer samplings at a local pub. The tour starts with delectable bakes at a local roman bakery and ends with sumptuous gelato at a famous gelataria. The day tour is on weekdays and Saturdays offered at 3 times; 9.45 a.m., 10.30 a.m. and 11.15 a.m.
The Twilight Testaccio tour is 4 hour long and includes an apertivo session as well. Sampling Rome’s iconic Quinto, Quarto Offa and coda (oxtail dish) is a highlight and guests are taken to dine at Monte Testaccio’s best loved restaurant. Outdoor cured meet, oil and cheese tastings and a lesson about Gelatos is also a part of this trip. The experience of watching the sunset while tasting gelato is definitely a great feature. The twilight tour is on weekdays and Saturdays offered at 5.30 p.m.…its priced around 99 euros.
They only offer one tour of Sundays and that is the Sunday food tour that focuses on the Jewish ghetto area. The tour starts with a traditional breakfast at a famous bakery and then sampling craft beer blends at a brewery. Visit an old Jewish pastry shop and have freshly baked Roman pizza at a local pizzeria. A trip to a kosher restaurant for a full Jewish Roman meal and then gelato is in order. The Sunday tour also includes sightseeing …as temple ruins, fountains and baroque monuments are explored. The tour runs for 4 hours every Sunday morning at 10.45 a.m. and is priced at 79 euros.
Another great offering is the Evening wine and food stroll that’s led by Marco Lori (a leading sommelier). The tour departs every Monday and Thursday at 6.30 p.m. and lasts for 3.5 hours. The wine tour focuses on the Jewish ghetto area and features an extensive wine selection lesson along with tips on pairing wine and food. Tasting Jewish Roman dishes like fried artichoke, wine infused gelato are included.
Livitaly is well known for its curated small group tours and you can read all about their nice walking tours in our Rome city walking tours section. In the food tour segment they offer only one offering but it’s very well recognised.
Rome food small group tour is only meant for groups of 6 or less thus providing good guide to visitor ratio and enough intimacy for extended interactions. This is a 3 hour tour that’s offered on Tuesday, Friday and Sunday at 6.30 p.m. and on Mondays and Thursdays and Sunday at 12.30 p.m. The group meets up at Piazza Mattei and begins with an Italian Apertivo and then winds through the Jewish quarter that’s famous for its fried food (artichokes and Flor di zucca/ fried zucchini flowers).
Every food stop is complimented by selected wine offerings. There is Suppli and Pizza by the slice from a famous eatery and much of it is carried to Largo Argentina where you can admire the excavations while relishing your food. Seats will be reserved at a famous pasta place overlooking the Pantheon were guests will sample multiple varieties of roman pastas and selected paired wines. This is a true blue dinner experience and not just a food tasting session. Of course there is gelato/ coffee to end the tour.
The guides are extremely knowledgeable and they pay a lot of attention to detail. For example, the prosecco and prosciutto which are usually offered at the beginning of their evening tour has northern ham in it instead of regular Parma prosciutto. The guide goes out of her way to explain how Parma prosciutto differs in flavour from Northern ham. The Jewish area, its post and pre holocaust history and its memorials and monuments are pointed out and the tour offers a very immersive experience. The tour is offered at around 75 euros and therefore gets you good value.
Contacts & Booking
Phone: (+39) 331 307 65 29; Website
Bites of Rome
This is a small Rome centric exclusively food tour operator who specialises in small group tours that are limited to 8 people. They are dedicated to supporting the local food system and choose food cafes and restaurants and bars that are community driven and sustainable.
Arguably their best offering is the Gourmet food tour that’s an introduction to fine Italian food. The first stop here is at Beppe and his cheese… a quaint cheese bistro in Rome that was founded by passionate cheesemonger Beppe Gioviale (ails from piedmont region). Browse through more than 80 varieties, sample the finest and pair them with DOCG wine. The group then goes to Jewish ghetto zone and visits the Portico Ottavio ruins. Next on the agenda is the Tiberina island that goes to the unexplored side if Trastevere that has a secret cookie factory.
After the cookie factory tour there will be a tasting session at the Crazy bistro which specialises in quirky imaginative food. There is also a mini cooking lesson included in the tour when the group visits Barbara Agosti’s restaurant…..she is known for her Pasta dishes and is the inventor of Strapazzo (carbonara variant). A glass of wine of your choice accompanies the meal. Finally the tour ends at an organic gelataria.
The Gourmet food tour is offered at 11.00 a.m. and 5.00 p.m. from Monday to Saturday and lasts for around 3 hours. 7 food and 2 wine tastings along with water is the basic offering… the tour is a little expensive at 100 euros per adult but then you have to remember that this is gourmet food!!!
Then there is the small group Trastevere tour that’s a fairly common concept. The Trastevere tour is 3 hour long and is offered at 10.30 in the morning and 5 p.m. in the evening. This is a basic version of the gourmet tour as it includes the cookie tasting at the 1920’s cookie factory and a stop at a bistro for some gourmet tastings. This also has a carbonara making session with a Roman chef and a street food tasting session. The tour ends at a gelataria where an introduction to organic gelato making is given. The Trastevere tour has 7 food and 1 wine tasting session.
All their guides are knowledgeable, friendly and quite good in English. The small guest to guide ratio ensures good communication levels and the whole tour is filled with food anecdotes and stories.
The With Locals is local Roman community based initiative that provides a selection of local guides who offer personalised food tours. Guests can choose their own guide after reading their bio on the website and then go on a food tour with them. All guides are locals who may be historians/ photographers/ writers/ artists etc. and they bring their own unique choices and flavours to the tour. The tours are all private tours so there is a large degree of personalisation and communication.
Their 10 tastings tour is a great offering as it exposes the guest to 10 different foods at 10 different locations across the city. Some of the highlights of the tour are fruit samplings from Campo de Fiori, pizza Bianca from Forno Campo de Fiori (probably Rome’s oldest bakery), cannoli from Dolci di Nonna (Sicilian patisserie) etc. Then there is the famous suppli, Jewish ricotta pie in the Jewish ghetto zone and Panini at a local café. Then there is artisanal gelato at a famous shop and coffee at a vintage coffee shop. Finally there is a curated meat and cheese platter and the guest learns about pairing and sharing!!
There is a shorter version of this tour too but that’s much less popular. The 5 tastings tour includes the fruit sampling at Campo de fiori, pizza at Antico Forno, cannoli at Chieda della Santissima, suppli at Piazza Trilussa and gelato at Trastevere.
The 10 tastings tour can be availed at multiple times around the city; it’s offered at 11.00 a.m., 12.30 a.m., and 3.00 p.m. The roughly 3.5 hour is available in multiple languages like English, Italiano, Español, Français, Português, Deutsch, Polski, and Vietnamese. The tour runs every day but on Sunday the schedule changes a little because the Campo de Fiori market is closed. All the guides have slightly varying time slots so read up their specifications carefully. At about 52 euros per person…the 10 tastings tour offers great value.
Italian wine is an institution in itself and if you have a taste for it then attending a wine tasting and seminar might be a great idea. One of the best places to learn the elements of Italian Wine is Vino Roma that’s a very famous wine studio in the heart of Rome…a little distance from the Colosseum.
Hande Leimer; the head sommelier here is a member of the AIS or Associazione Italiana Sommelier and holds an advanced degree in wine and spirits studies. Her best offering is the ‘My Italians’ wine tasting session. This will introduce you to basics of wine tasting, aroma defining, region identifying and evaluation of blends. 5 to 7 wine variants and light finger food are offered at about 50 euros per person.
Then there is the wine and cheese dinner that exposes guests to 5 different Italian wines (sparkling, red, white, sweet and a surprise blend) and then pairs them with 5 different cheeses. The basics of wine and cheese pairing is explained and guests are offered a fine cold cut patter (salami, prosciutto etc.). 5 different wines and 10 different kinds of finger food are offered at 60 euros per person.
This is technically not a tour…merely finely curated tasting sessions for people wanting to have a convenient and immersive experience of Italian wine. The tasting sessions will only be held if there are a minimum of 4 people for each event. All sessions are held in the stylish Vino Roma wine studio.
Vino Roma also conducts food tours though they are all private ones. Tours are offered in Prati and Trionfale (the new gastronomic favourite areas of Rome) and the historic centre and the Jewish Ghetto. Tours are also offered in Ripa, Campitelli, and the stylish neighbourhoods of Esquilino and Monti. Since the tours are private they are highly customised and prices will vary according to stops and schedule.
Old Frascati Wine Tours
Old Frascati wine tours brings to guests the wines from Antiche Terre Tuscolane (a wine cooperative created by 3 family run vineyards). Frascati wine is supposed to be the old Roman wine ….it’s called ‘Golden Wine of the Romans’, the ‘Pope’s Wine’ and the white wine of Rome. Everything about the place spells vintage right from the winemaking artefacts that date back to 1000 BC to its slow cooked porchetta that’s cooked in a wood oven for 8 hours. All the pasta here is hand rolled and olive oil is always cold pressed; the spectacular sunsets and scenery are just the icing on the cake.
Frascati is a proud and enthusiastic supporter of the Italian slow food movement and the tours are a good way to experience that. Incidentally Frascati sits on a dormant volcano and its volcanic soil gives this area’s produce an unique flavour. The wine tour team has three instrumental people; Dominique (ONAV licensed wine taster), Paola (7th generation winemaker) and Eugenio (the towns favourite baker). Then there is Rosanna (wine cookie creator), Paola (food and wine specialist) and Marco (artisanal pizza maker). The group shares their stories and offerings intimately with the guests creating a warm personal vibe.
Their Classic Half Day Wine Tour offers a beautiful exploration of Frascati city center and an introduction to stuff like slow roasted pork and Frascati jug wine. Next on the agenda is a trip to a family run winery and an exploration of the artisanal vineyard and 16th century farmhouse. Tastings of 3 wines; Frascati Superiore DOCG, Red Vagnolo IGT and Sweet Cannellino DOCG are offered and the licensed sommelier will explain the features of all of them. Samplings of fresh bakes and virgin olive oil are also offered. Lunch at a local ostaria with cheeses, vegetables, salumi and organic pasta with wine and sauce, is offered at the city center.
The guide meets the group at 10.20 a.m./ 4.20 p.m. at Frascati train station. This mid group (15 people max size) costs 55 euros person and is half price for teens and kids under 16.
Tip: catch the train for Frascati from Rome Termini at 9.49 a.m./ 3.54 p.m. to time with the tour. The ticket is under 2.5 euros!!
Then there is the Pizza making wine tasting tour that’s offered in the evenings from Tuesday to Saturday. Guests are taken to visit a rare wood burning oven in Frascati city center and they can learn about the special aroma that chestnut branches impart into food. A pizza making lesson and a tutorial on authentic Roman Frascati pizza (made from just 5 ingredients) follows and guests become well quipped to make this pizza for themselves. Lunch is this very pizza with meats, seasonal vegetables and organic pasta. Wine tastings are offered along with an explanation of their heritage (Frascati Superiore DOCG, Red Vagnolo IGT and Sweet Cannellino DOCG).
Then there is an Evening tour of Frascati wine taverns that’s offered on Saturday evenings. The group is met by the guide at 5.30 p.m. in front of the Frascati station (take the 4:54 p.m. train from Termini). This tour offers a historical perspective of Frascati and anecdotes about its turbulent history, vintage art gallery etc. The tavern tour starts with picking up various products to take along to the Fraschetta (taverns of Frascati that serve only regional wine).
Guests will learn to select and pick up pickled vegetables, fresh bread, slow roast pork and cookies doused in wine. The chance to meet the food artisans who produce these innovative products and listen to their stories is an integral part of the trip. Dinner is served outside the oldest Fraschetta here and you can meet the 7th generation owners as they brew their jug wine inside the tavern. Dinner is eaten picnic style, on the piazza and you will truly feel like a local.
This very affordable tour is priced at 45 euros per adult (half price for kids under age 16). The guide meets the group at 4.30 p.m. at the Frascati train station. You can catch the 3.54 train from Termini to reach Frascati just in time for the tour.
The Frascatti food tours are perfect for tourists who are in Rome for a longish period (about a week or more) and would love to explore its surrounding vineyards. Frascatti is at a higher elevation and can provide a cooler break from hot Roma. The tours are a different alternative to the usual Rome centric food tours and are positioned as a food day trip. You need to be pretty active to take these tours…to reach the village from the station there is a steep flight of steps.
Rome Boat Experience: Cruise, Dinner & Sightseeing
Rome Boat experience owns a fleet of boats that journeys up and down the Tiber providing guests a hop on hop off service, a day tour and a dinner with cruise option. While the boat facilities are not rave worthy, it’s the only operator offering the Cruise plus Dinner option in Rome. So if dining on the Tiber is high on your priority list then this might be worth checking out.
You can either sit on a deck table or in the lower saloon (the deck is pleasant but is a problem in bad weather). Music is played as you feast through a four course meal prepared by the chef on board. There is a running commentary that points out the outlines of various attractions as framed against the Roman sky. Guests get to have an intimate look at the beautiful bridges, their undersides and the banks.
The menu usually comprises of potato cake with cream cheese, tomato and artichoke. Then there is Lasagne with summer vegetables, crepes with grouper fish and Gnocchi with Taleggio cheese and zucchini. Later there is beef with pesto, bail and zucchini au gratin. You can also expect dishes like sliced chicken marinated with lemons and served with tiny pizzas that have generous mozzarella, tomato and eggplant toppings. Dessert is usually tiramisu and gelato and there is plenty of fresh fruit. A special kids menu, vegetarian and gluten free food etc. is also available.
Some attractions that are pointed out on the way are St Peter’s Basilica, Mouth of Truth, Castel Sant Angelo reflected against the cityscape, as well as the beautiful bridges of Rome like Ponte Sant Angelo, Ponte Garibaldi, Ponte Fabricio and Ponte Rotto
This dinner cruise departs from Lungotevere Tor di Nona at 9.00 p.m. and runs for 2 hours 30 minutes before coming back to the same point. The tour is offered from 01st of May to 31st of October on Fridays and Saturdays. It’s priced at 68 euros for adults.
The 4 course dinner with cruise offering is actually not an authentic way to taste local Roman food. It’s more of a standard quality Italian meal with sightseeing from the Tiber thrown in as an added attraction. The Tiber river banks aren’t very clean but there are beautiful paintings on them that say a lot about the cities lost glory.
Another variation of food and wine cruise offered by Roman boat experiences is Wine Bar/ Aperitif cruise that runs from 5.30 p.m. to 7.00 p.m. (Sunday, Monday and Thursday in the summer). This offers only one plate of Roman appetizers and glass of wine and the only advantage of this trip is being able to watch the sunset while sipping wine on the river