Recommendations for Roma

Discussion in 'Food & Travel' started by dawgpound2, Nov 17, 2004.

  1. dawgpound2

    dawgpound2 Member

    Mar 3, 2001
    Los Angeles, CA
    My wife and I are going to be there Christmas week. Any suggestions on good, unknown restaurants, food shops, etc?

    Anything?
     
  2. MikeLastort2

    MikeLastort2 Member

    Mar 28, 2002
    Takoma Park, MD
    I really like Al Pompiere, located at Via Santa Maria de Calderari, which is in Rome's Jewish quarter right near . The food is typical Italian Jewish. Try the baccala - you won't regret it. Their phone number is 06-6868377

    Oh, and if you like Gelato, you have to try Tre Scallini (near Piazza Novona), Della Palma and Giolitti (both near the Pantheon).

    Rome in Christmas sounds like a blast.
     
  3. dawgpound2

    dawgpound2 Member

    Mar 3, 2001
    Los Angeles, CA
    Thank you again, Mike. I haven't forgotten your first recommendation either.

    My wife and I are pumped for the trip. I can't wait to walk around on Christmas Day.
    We are also spending Dec. 26th walking around Florence.
     
  4. tog

    tog Member

    Oct 25, 2000
    Seattle
    I can also recommend the gelaterias near the Pantheon. I forget which is the one just about a block to the north up the alley, but it's spectacular.

    This is my cheap guide to eating in Rome, when you're walking around on an afternoon and just want some delicious local food:

    I would suggest getting some pizza rustica or pizza bianca. Good, cheap, fast food...and delicious. My favoite place is just west (maybe three blocks) of Piazza Santa Maria in Trastevere, but most any place that says "pizza rustica" is gonna be delicious. Find the ones that have oblong pizza, as opposed to pizzas baked in rectangular pans. And stay away from the ones near tourist places.

    Here's how it works: You go in, ask for the pizza you want (pointing will work) then they'll hold a big knife over the pizza and you tell them when they hold it where you want it cut. If you want to be cool, you can say, "Cosi," meaning (basically) "like that." Then they weigh it, heat it, fold it in half, wrap paper around the bottom, and hand it to you. Dirt cheap and usually great local food.

    A pizza bianca can be had at these places. This is just pizza rustica crust (like a focaccia) that they split in half, place mortadella and mozzarella into and press in a grill. Delicious.

    Also at many of these places, you can get suppli. I highly recommend these. These are balls of rice and tomato sauce wrapped around a core of mozzarella, breaded and fried. This is about as Roman as it gets (it's sometimes called "suppli alla romana"). If you see about racket-ball-sized fried balls, those are them. Get them. You won't regret it. (Although one time a guy made me take off my Lazio cap before he would serve them to me :))

    Of course, the best place to eat in all of Rome is my grandmother's house...

    If you have questions about tourist places, I'm sure Lastort or I would be happy to answer them.
     
  5. tog

    tog Member

    Oct 25, 2000
    Seattle
    Make sure to check out the giant nativity in St. Peter's square.

    Not that you wouldn't, but just wanted to be sure you did.
     
  6. dawgpound2

    dawgpound2 Member

    Mar 3, 2001
    Los Angeles, CA
    Grazie, Imposter!

    Will do on all of it!

    You guys are getting me even more pumped for the trip!

    And I think I'm gonna buy Lazio and Roma jerseys.
     
  7. tog

    tog Member

    Oct 25, 2000
    Seattle
    Heretic!
     
  8. 352klr

    352klr Member

    Jan 29, 2001
    The Burgh of Edin
  9. MikeLastort2

    MikeLastort2 Member

    Mar 28, 2002
    Takoma Park, MD
    Good call. I had completely forgotton about that thread.
     
  10. dawgpound2

    dawgpound2 Member

    Mar 3, 2001
    Los Angeles, CA
    Excellent stuff! Grazie.
     
  11. 352klr

    352klr Member

    Jan 29, 2001
    The Burgh of Edin

    Once again, I can't thank you enough for all your help on that thread. I pretty much printed it up and used it along with a map to figure out what to do every day. The least I can do now for you is some meagre rep. If I end up in DC in Sept after my dissertation, maybe you can introduce me to that good wine shop you frequent and I can pay you back there.
     
  12. MikeLastort2

    MikeLastort2 Member

    Mar 28, 2002
    Takoma Park, MD
    Works for me. :)
     
  13. MikeLastort2

    MikeLastort2 Member

    Mar 28, 2002
    Takoma Park, MD
    I just went back and read my first reply.

    I was going to look up what the Jewish Quarter isnear, but forgot! It's not too far from the Theater of Marcellus (Teatro di Marcello).

    And Rome in Christmas? I meant to say Christmas in Rome. That's what I get for not reading before I hit submit reply.
     
  14. dawgpound2

    dawgpound2 Member

    Mar 3, 2001
    Los Angeles, CA

    Problem Mike no. :)
     
  15. tog

    tog Member

    Oct 25, 2000
    Seattle
    OK, here is my quick guide to Rome. My mother is from there, and I've spent months on end walking around. Unfortunately, my directions are bad, because I tend to walk back streets and stuff, so I'm just gonna name places and general areas, I think. Hopefully maps can do the rest.

    ================

    Walks
    • One really good thing to do--and I recommend this at night; Rome is oustanding at night with all the lights--is a walking loop from Pizza Navona to the Pantheon (where you should stop for some gelato) to the Trevi Fountain to Piazza di Spagna (Spanish Steps). It's a really nice walk, mostly on alleys lined with shops and restaurants. You can spend a good three hours on a night walking this loop.

    • Another good walk is to start at Castel Sant'Angelo (I used to play soccer in the moat here when I was a kid), then go over to St. Peter's square. St. Peter's is spectacular. I can, and have, spent days here. I recommend going up to the cupola. If you're in shape, you can go the cheap route and walk the whle way up. I always do this because there's a shorter line, and I like the walk. There's a great view of the city from up there, and you can get the picture everybody has of Rome: out over the square and the road towards Castel Sant'Angelo. From here, you can head south along the river over to Trastevere.

    • Trastevere is a network of alleys centered around the Piazza Santa Maria, where there is the church of the same name. I love this church. It's one of the oldest in Rome. Stunning inside. (Also, if you go out the southwest exit of this square--to the right as you exit the church--and go down that street, you'll come to my favorite pizza rustica place in the city, maybe five blocks on the left.) There are many delicious and affordable restaurants in Trastevere.

    • Another great walk is to start at the Piazza di Spagna and head north (left, if you're facing the steps) to Piazza del Popolo, where there is a giant obelisk. Up the hill from there is the Villa Borghese, which is a massive and beautiful park. It is also home to the Borghese museum (which, like most things in Italy, is open sporadically). Near the museum, there is an exit from the park that will take you to Via Veneto, which is where all the fancy shops and very expensive hotels are. It's a nice walk, though. The U.S. Embassy is also here.

    • From the Coloseum, you can walk back toward Piazza Venezia, where the giant white tomb for the unknown soldier is. You can't miss it. It's huge and white. Romans hate it because it isn't ancient and it's bright white. They refer to it--almost exclusively--as "the wedding cake." Along the way on this walk--to the left--there are the ancient ruins of Capitolino and Palatino hills. To the right (up stairs which you can't miss) is San Pietro in Vincoli (where Michelangelo's Moses, one of my two favorite sculptures, is) and the rest of the churches of Campidoglio. Great stuff. Once at Piazza Venezia, you can go straight west to Piazza Argentina. In the middle is a big hole in the ground with some ruins. This is where Ceasar is said to have been killed. Once here, you can head south-ish to the Teatro Marcello, and then on south to Santa Maria in Cosmedin, where the famous "mouth of truth" is. Just south of there is Circus Maximus (Circo Massimo).

    • Finally, a last favorite is to start at Piazza Della Republica (right near the train station). You can get to Santa Maria della Maggiore just a few minutes' walk south. From the P. d. Republica, you can also head northwest and right away you'll see the Basilica de Santa Maria degli Angeli. Fantastic church. If you look on the floor, you'll see markings that act as a sundial when light comes through and is cast on the floor. Just a little farther and you'll get to a tiny church called Santa Maria della Vittoria, which houses my favorite sculpture in the world: The Ecstacy of Santa Theresa of Avila by Bernini. Right across the street/square from here is Santa Susanna, a beautiful cathedral that is also an American parish. It's where we went to church when I was a kid (and still went to church). Just a little farther to the NW, and you're at the bottom of Via Veneto and near the U.S. Embassy again.

    Okay, that was way more than I intended. Once I got going, I seemed unable to stop. There's lots more, but you've only got a few days. Have fun.

    Oh, and a tip. If you're going to mail postcards, do it from the vatican post office, which is just to the right of the church as you're looking at it. Romans swear everything gets where it's going faster from here. Plus, how often do you get to buy stamps from nuns?
     
  16. dawgpound2

    dawgpound2 Member

    Mar 3, 2001
    Los Angeles, CA


    A million thanks! Great stuff.
     
  17. MikeLastort2

    MikeLastort2 Member

    Mar 28, 2002
    Takoma Park, MD
    Make sure you go to Church of San Luigi dei Francesi to see Caravaggio's famous painting of "The Calling Of Saint Matthew."

    This jpeg doesn't do it any justice at all

    [​IMG]

    The church is near the Italian Senate.
     
  18. tog

    tog Member

    Oct 25, 2000
    Seattle
    Ooh, good one.

    I found that accidentally one day. I love Caravaggio, but i hadn't known it was there.
     
  19. MikeLastort2

    MikeLastort2 Member

    Mar 28, 2002
    Takoma Park, MD
    I love the fact that when you go into the church, you can't even really see the painting since it's so dark in there. You have to put a Euro in the light box, the lights come on, and you are just amazed at the incredible painting.

    I also love the fact that the place was completely empty when my wife and I saw it.
     
  20. dawgpound2

    dawgpound2 Member

    Mar 3, 2001
    Los Angeles, CA
    Thanks, Mike.

    My wife is a HUGE Caravaggio nut, so I'll surprise her with this gem.

    Grazie!
     
  21. Power_of_foot

    Power_of_foot Red Card

    May 28, 2004
    First try some Italian sandwich in the street.
    They put Parma ham(Salty ham) in baguette.
    They are the most delicious in the world.
    Try some Italian ice cream too.
    They are awesome.
    If you wanna eat good foods, go to restaurants near the square.
    They serve great thin Italian pizza with great pasta.
    Plus eat pizza with qhite wine.
    They are delicious


     
  22. RandyNA74

    RandyNA74 Member

    Jun 9, 2004
    Washington, DC
    Club:
    SSC Napoli
    Nat'l Team:
    Italy
    I just discovered this thread and became very nostalgic! :)

    As far as pizza is concerned, I would definitely check out pizza rustica but wouldn't know many places that actually make good conventional pizza, as in where you sit down at a table and they bring it to you. Then again, I'm from Naples, so just a little spoiled and biased there. ;)

    One place that was outstanding though is this huge restaurant called Zio Ciro or something along those lines. Located near Piazza di Spagna. Wow...

    Gelato is outstanding virtually anywhere in the city.

    Too bad you can't go to my aunt's house or you would eat enough for 3 days in one meal. ;)
     
  23. dawgpound2

    dawgpound2 Member

    Mar 3, 2001
    Los Angeles, CA
    Where does you auint live, Randy? I'm getting hungry just thinking of it.

    Kidding! :)
     
  24. RandyNA74

    RandyNA74 Member

    Jun 9, 2004
    Washington, DC
    Club:
    SSC Napoli
    Nat'l Team:
    Italy
    She lives outside of Rome, actually, in the town of Ardea.

    Man, I can smell the kitchen already.... :)
     
  25. Smiley321

    Smiley321 Member

    Apr 21, 2002
    Concord, Ca
    I'm probably going back in the spring and one thing that I haven't done is explore the catacombs. Any advice on where to get into those, how much time to budget, etc?

    Also, I'll probably drive this time from Venice. Any advice on smaller places to spend the night or visit along the way?
     

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