Mention the Eternal City and most people already picture themselves on a glossy red vespa, whizzing past the Colosseum with wind in their hair.
But what if we cruised beyond the Colosseum, the Trevi Fountain and traditional tourist hotspots and showed you a hidden, secret side of Rome? I’m talking about pasta that is dripping in carbonara sauce in a traditional trattoria and the best Nutella ice cream you’ll ever have (that’s right!). Need I say more?
To help you navigate Rome’s hidden gems – culinary and otherwise – we’ve put together this exclusive list. Enjoy!
1. Cacio e Pepe
This trattoria is situated in the Prati neighborhood and is a favorite with the locals. It is reputed for its take on the very Roman pasta dish cacio e pepe (literally: cheese and pepper). Their carbonara is also to die for: crunchy, flavorful pancetta in a creamy sauce swirling in thick spaghetti. After this you’ll never be able to see pasta the same way again!
2. The secret keyhole on the Aventine Hill
Walk up the Aventine Hill and you’ll find an imposing monument with a heavy iron door. Lower your eyes and peer into the keyhole. We can’t say more because that would ruin the fun, but let’s just say you’ll be awestruck by the view!
This gem of a restaurant is worth seeking out behind Piazza Navona. Mouthwatering lasagna is served with the perfect wine in a stylish, eclectic and intimate décor. You’ll feel right at home while discovering the very best Italy has to offer.
4. Mercato Monti
This trendy market is located in one of Rome’s hippest neighborhoods. It is a treasure trove of vintage and new accessories, clothes and art. Dig in to find one-of-a-kind souvenirs from your trip!
5. Il Vittoriano’s elevators
Head to Piazza Venezia, where you’ll see the massive Il Vittoriano monument (also called “the Wedding Cake” by locals- you’ll see why). Inside the Vittoriano monument, a glass elevator lifts you to a panoramic terrace, where you can get the most beautiful views of all Rome.
6. Giolitti Ice Cream
You didn’t really think I forgot the ice cream, did you? Giolitti is famous with locals and non-locals alike, simply because its ice cream is heavenly. You’ll find rich and luscious flavors like white chocolate and Nutella, alongside more summery flavors like raspberry and pistachio.
7. Voy restaurant
If you’re looking for brunch with a Roman twist, just head straight for Voy Restaurant. This upscale venue is cherished by the locals for its generous Sunday brunch, which features hearty servings of pasta (duh!) and creamy desserts.
Ok, so here’s another gelateria – but this one is decidedly unconventional. Fatamorgana offers incredible, creamy ice cream made from the freshest ingredients – but with unusual flavors. The ice cream comes in flavors like carrot cake, lemon curd, and yes, even mojito and black cherries. You’ll be glad you stopped by.
9. Mercato Campo de’ Fiori
This food market is popular with locals and visitors alike, and takes place every morning. But if you want to beat the crowds, head there very early. Amid the colorful fruits and vegetables, you’ll be able to sample flavorful truffle oil and velvety balsamic vinegar.
10. Sant’Eustachio Il Caffé
What better way to get your day started than with a cappuccino at this reputed coffee shop? The smell of freshly ground coffee beans will draw you in from miles away. Their cappuccinos are perfect: perfectly balanced, with just the right amount of milk foam on top. Sip one of those and you’ll be ready to spend the day checking out tips 1-9!