Contact, Visit us Let’s plan your experience!

Rome and its culinary scene


As ancestors of Italians, the Romans surely had a quite strong perception about the way they eat and conceived the food.

The habit of eating three times a day is one of the main heritage that this culture has left behind, becoming a common practice in the western world.

Usually, there was a light breakfast, a quick snack for lunch, and a more consistent dinner was served between 3 and 5 PM and for wealthy families, this was lasting for a good 4-6 hours.

Romans used to go to the thermopolia, places where the food was cooked and sold to the clients since some kitchen was a very rare facility to be find in the houses.

Their diet was primarily based on cereals legumes and cheese, while meat, whereas fish were staple for the rich families only.

Also vegetable consumption was quite persistent in ancient Rome, were lettuce, cabbage and leek being incredibly popular choices.

For more refined palate, afford asparagus and mushrooms were the favorite option. Romans used to mainly eat apples, pears, chestnuts, figs and grapes; citrus fruits only arrived in the 4 th  century AD being cultivated in the African provinces of the empire.

Also bread was quite common in their diet regimen and it could be divided in “panis niger” a darkened kind of bread which was affordable by the poor and the “panis candidus” – the bread for the rich counterpart obtained from the best flour.

Drinking wine all day long was a particularly common practice for both poor and rich people, being nevertheless prohibited for women.

Wine was usually diluted with water and mixed with spices, culinary herbs or honey: the “Posca”, for example, was a mixture of water and sour wine, popular amongst legionnaires, where honey was added to energize the soldiers, a sort of ancient Gatorade, let’s put it this way.

Romans were also big fans of exotic meats, in fact, they were very fond of dromedary feet, flamingos, and parrots – slowly cooked and then roasted with dill, vinegar, flour, dates.

A very famous novel “Satyricon” by Petronius is about the description of an incredible dinner held at Trimalchion’s palace, a very picturesque and gross character always willing to flaunt his wealth, by offering incredible banquet.

We also owe Romans also the habit to wash our hands by using silverware for the wealthy and small clay containers for more modest houses.

The way of eating tell us a lot about the society and surely we can’t neglect how impactful Romans have been, even on the way we feed ourself.

During the centuries, the Roman culinary scene has changed but it has maintained its roots and traditions.

Here are some keys aspects of the culinary cuisine in Rome.

Traditional Roman Dishes:

  • Cacio e Pepe: A pasta dish made with Pecorino Romano cheese and black pepper. The cheese creates a creamy sauce when combined with pasta water.
  • Carbonara: Another pasta dish featuring eggs, Pecorino Romano cheese, pancetta, and black pepper. The eggs create a rich and creamy sauce when mixed with hot pasta.
  • Amatriciana: A tomato-based pasta sauce with guanciale (cured pork cheek), Pecorino Romano cheese, and red pepper flakes.
  • Supplì: Deep-fried rice balls stuffed with ragù (meat sauce) and mozzarella, similar to arancini.
  • Saltimbocca alla Romana: Thin slices of veal cooked with prosciutto and sage, often served with a white wine sauce.

Pizzerias and Pizza al Taglio:

Rome is known for its thin-crust pizza, which is usually sold by the slice. The pizza al taglio (by the cut) tradition offers a variety of rectangular slices with various toppings.

  • Trapizzino: A triangular sandwich filled with various Roman-style fillings, such as chicken cacciatora or tripe.
  • Pizza Bianca: A simple, airy, and slightly salted flatbread often enjoyed with mortadella or other fillings.
  • Filetti di Baccalà: Fried salted codfish served as a street food snack.

Exploring the culinary scene in Rome is a delightful journey through history, culture, and the flavors of traditional Italian cuisine.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


Most Popular

Scroll to Top