Food in Italy, Hitting the Local Scene

I’m taking a break today from packing advice to share a little bit of my day. Today was all about food. 

Along with my group, we took a walking tour of my favorite Roman neighborhood, Trastevere. Starting in Piazza San Cosimato, right in the heart of Rome’s “bohemian village”, we sampled our way through the streets.

The first stop was for prosciutto, a typical cured ham. At this time of year, the best way to sample it is with sweet melon. We had an aged prosciutto and a young one, I enjoyed making the comparison but I am already firmly in the camp of the aged kind. It’s dry and has a lovely flavor, and I find the young kind to be too sticky. Not my thing.

  Next we hit a Norcineria, or a store that sells food from a small village north of Rome called Norcia, which specializes in pork products. Porchetta, or a slow roasted pork, was our sample, served with white pizza. Mmmmm. Fatty, but that’s what makes it good. Better not think about that.
 We worked our way through town, trying cheese, meat, rice balls, pastry and gelato. There were so many diverse flavors and fun local experiences to be had, it was almost as much fun to meet the shop keepers as it was to eat the food. Almost.
The best part of the day was showing people a different side of Rome. For a city of 3 million, it has a very quaint, village side to it that most tourists don’t see. It may be a little intimidating, there were no tourists around, strictly locals, but being bold and engaging the local scene is equally rewarding as going to a famous monument.

I do have a bit of packing advice, actually. After a 3 hour oddessy through food in Rome I would advise considering bringing one thing- elastic waist pants.

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Sarah Murdoch is a tour guide and guidebook writer for Rick Steves Europe. Her blog, Adventures with Sarah, focuses on packing tips, travel stories and advice for planning the best trip possible.

13 replies on “Food in Italy, Hitting the Local Scene”

  1. I just returned from Italy on the 25th of last month. .Had a wonderful time. Enjoy your advice.keep me informed. I traveled to Rome,Florence and Venice.Wold like to do SICILY. Give me some advice on booking a trip there in the future.

  2. Sarah,

    I absolutely loved the food-tasting tour. It was such a delightful juxtaposition for the previous day of ancient Rome. The tastes were so delicious. A double thumbs up for this day of the tour!

    Helen Brown

    PS I had a fabulous time and will be booking another tour as soon as I can!

  3. Enjoyed the vicarious tour through Trastevere…..and agree, bring the elastic waist bands. Thank you.

  4. A friend just told me about your blog, so I’m reading the whole thing. I’ll be on the Rick Steves Rome/Southern Italy tour that starts Sept. 19, so this is giving me a little bit of a preview! I feel like I’m pretty good at the packing thing, but you’ve given me some more good ideas.

  5. Traveling is easier with waistbands elastic at least half way around on both skirts & pants. Easy down, easy up.

  6. Just happened onto your great info as I’m getting ready for southern Italy & Sicily the end of Sept. Taking it all in & enjoying all you have to offer !

  7. I am enjoying your blog very much. I look forward to seeing what you are going to blog about next. Right now, I’m living vicariously through you, until the day that I will step foot on that wonderful country, which I think will be some time next year. Thanks again, Sarah, for this gift.

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