For some, food is merely a necessity of travel, a means to rally your dwindling energy so that you can continue your tour along the trodden tourist path. For others, myself included, food is a travel inspiration in and of itself.

I’ve waxed poetic about trips revolving around food many times in the past, so you won’t be shocked that Rome was more of a food destination than anything else on a recent trip. Granted, I had already taken in the common tourist highlights on previous trips, which allowed this one to be all about eating delicious things and washing it down with glass after glass of Italian wine. Like just the epitome of gluttonous.

It can be daunting though to navigate your way through the culinary landscape of a new city, especially a city like Rome where the density of tourist traps is high, duping even the most seasoned traveler. To maximize your culinary exploits, and give you a lay of the land, I wholeheartedly recommend going on a food tour when you arrive.

I serendipitously stumbled upon Eating Italy food tours which offers daily tours in the Testaccio and Trastevere neighbourhoods. I opted for the Twilight Trastevere as it was a part of Rome that I wanted to explore further, and I liked the idea of having a local to show me the best spots.

Trastevere is one of the oldest districts of Rome and lies along the Tiber river, across from the centre of the city. It exudes old world charm with narrowly winding cobblestone streets, which are disorienting to even the most directionally able. Once a working class neighbourhood on the outskirts of Rome, Trastevere has seen an influx of artists and creative-minded Romans over the past several decades, which has evolved into a trendiness that’s difficult to ignore.

But what makes Trastevere so unique is how it fuses the old and the new of Rome so beautifully. Medieval churches and multi-generational Roman restaurants are intermixed between craft beer bars and clubs serving creative cocktails. It was described to me on my first trip as “the spot where all the local Romans hang out.”

What’s great about Eating Italy food tours is that the guides are experienced, knowledgeable and many actually live(d) in the neighbourhood that they’re showcasing. They also don’t overpack the tours, keeping the groups to a maximum of ten, even though I’m confident there’s more demand for their tours than that.

And rightly so, as Eating Italy has handpicked the most authentic dining experiences to give you a flavour of Trastevere, from a traditional restaurant serving up Carciofi alla Giudia (Jewish style fried artichoke) to a family run cookie shop still baking in their custom oven from the 1950s to a wine restaurant that was formerly a synagogue in the 10th century and whose cellar walls are older than the Colosseum.

Jasmine, our lovely and knowledgable local guide, brilliantly intertwined Trastevere’s rich history with its vibrant food scene, keeping a diverse group thoroughly engaged for our four hour tour. She also pointed us in the direction of some great beer bars afterwards which, if you know us well, that’s just icing on the cake.

So next time you find yourself in Rome and yearning for some of the best local eats, check out the Eating Italy food tours in Trastevere and Testaccio (a neighbourhood just as intriguing for diners). And while you’re at it, bring me back some brutti ma buoni (ugly but good) cookies, as I haven’t been able to shake my craving for those since I left Trastevere.

Here are some photos from our Eating Italy food tour.

Eating Italy Food Tours - Artichokes

Eating Italy Food Tours - History

Eating Italy Food Tours - Guanciale

Eating Italy Food Tours - Porchetta

Eating Italy Food Tours - Shop

Eating Italy Food Tours - Arancini

Eating Italy Food Tours - Cookies

Eating Italy Food Tours - Merengue

Eating Italy Food Tours - Ravioli

Eating Italy Food Tours - Pizza

Eating Italy food tours photography courtesy of Departful contributors Lauren Barth and JP Bervoets.


Lauren Barth

Lauren Barth

Lauren Barth co-founded Departful in 2012 and is the Managing Director of Departful Media. Since then she has worked between North America and Europe and has published content in partnership with a variety of tourism boards and businesses based around the world. Lauren is currently based in Toronto, Canada.

Departful is a travel magazine that provides accessible, relevant, and thoughtful travel tips and ideas to inspire people to explore the world around them. We feature travel articles, travel tips, and photography based on our own experiences from over 100 countries covering all things adventure, culture, food and drink, technology, and gear. Made with ❤ in Toronto.


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