Eating Italy? Don’t mind if I do.

I’ve lived in Rome for four years, but what I love is that there is always more to discover. I am the eternal tourist. I am always looking for that new, undiscovered, perfect trattoria – only to find myself back at the old favourites. 

So every now I then I seek out a bit of tourism. Eating Italy Food Tours combine two of my very favourite things, food and learning more about the hidden corners of Rome. I’d been meaning to take a tour with them for AGES. Would I like to go for a stroll around Testaccio to be shown, and of course to sample, the best food that the area has to offer? Well yes I would. I know Testaccio fairly well, but it was still a pleasure to be reintroduced by the lovely Beau.


Testaccio is not a tourist area, rather a former working-class, fairly undisturbed residential area. As our guide pointed out, so much not a tourist area it is quite literally off the tourist map. We were going to eat real Roman food and meet some of the people who make it. For people new to Rome, or visiting for the first time, something few can experience. So much did I enjoy it, I thought I’d give you a glimpse – if only to make you very hungry. 


First stop and breakfast at Barberini. I have a number of confessions to make and the first is this; I don’t really like Italian croissants (called cornetti – croissants is a misnomer). But these little tasty treats were served warm and flaky and were followed swiftly by a little tiramisu served in a chocolate cup. Did we know that tiramisu means ‘pick-me-up’? Well these certainly did. So good they were ‘worth the price of the tour alone’ said Sandra.


Second breakfast (we were hobbits for the day) was a stop at Volpetti Piu. I’ve been to this cosy canteen/tavola calda before for a quick bite and it’s defintely worth a stop – you could easily walk past and dismiss it as nothing special. That would be a mistake. This time we were fed a deliciously fresh slice of pizza al taglio straight from the oven and a crispy suppli (a deep fried rice ball filled with mozzarella).
Next stop just around the corner to the mother ship, the legend that is Volpetti. I’ve never been in this gastronomia before because as Nigella Lawson once said, I’m not safe in delis and would instantly spend a fortune on cheese. Far, far too tempting to stay in for long.
No need for the hard sell, the cheese does the talking
From here we walked to the new Testaccio market. I’m ashamed to say that I haven’t been to the market since it was transferred from its former home in Piazza Testaccio. I was sad to see the old market go, but in its bright new shiny surrounds, busy, noisy and full of people of all ages shopping, discussing recipes, strolling, snacking, dog walking; it’s a great example of what a market should be. 

Photo by Chiara


Despite its new location, stalls in this market have been in families for generations. Our tomato suppliers, Paula and Francesca took over from their grandmother; Enzo (working since he was 14) and Lina’s stall supplies greedy shoppers with buffala di mozzarella only 12 hours old.

One of the many friendly market vendors
After all that preparation for our stomach –  next stop lunch! A well earned rest and chat over wine and pasta at Flavio al Velavevodetto a well-known local restaurant built into the ancient pottery mountain that is Monte Testaccio.
Final stop and final confession. I’m not a big ice-cream fan. But this was not ice-cream, this was gelato. And this is Giolitti, a Roman institution for over 100 years. Be sure to know your flavour combinations, get it wrong and you might be advised to try again. I played it safe with pistacchio and hazelnut.
Eating your way around Rome? My idea of heaven. Next trip?
My sort of ‘girls on tour’ tour.

For more details contact Eating Italy Food Tours


  1. Eating and seeing new places – my favourite kind of tour too! 🙂

    By the way Testaccio is one of my favourite places to eat, there are definitely lots of good eats there.


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