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When you think about the food you might eat on a visit to Italy, most people think about gelato and pizza. I wasn’t any different.
What I learned from a food tour in Rome is that Italy has so much more than just pasta, pizza, and strong espresso. There is so much history behind the food, with long-standing traditions that go back for centuries.
Food isn’t just a necessity in Italy, it’s a way of life, and feeds into the culture in such a big way.
If you’re looking to take one of the top Rome food tours, then this guide is for you. Each food tour offers something different and unique, so keep reading to find one that’s right for you.
What to Expect from Rome Food Tours
Before visiting Italy, I essentially planned a two-week trip around the country to search for the best pizza north of Rome. (I did end up finding it — in Rome — but I’m still open to another round of explorations!)
On my own sort of food tour around Italy, I decided I’d go to the experts to find out a bit more about the nation’s culinary history.
When in Rome, do as the Romans do, and gorge yourself!
You can expect food tours to take you to not only the best places to find local, freshly-made food to sample dishes and snacks, but you can also expect to be taken to some historic sites and neighborhoods.
As you walk from place to place, you will learn about Rome’s history, both food related and not, and hear from passionate local guides about the local way of life, traditions and culture.
It’s not all about delicious food – although that is the focus.
The Best Rome Food Tours
Below you will find a list of food tours in Rome and what you can expect from each.
1. Rome Street Food Tour
This Rome Street Food Tour is a great experience for first time visitors to Rome who are looking to discover the city’s culinary secrets while exploring its vibrant streets.
The tour is led by a friendly local guide, who will take you on a journey through the city’s neighborhoods, where you’ll visit traditional food markets and sample some of the best street food in Rome.
You’ll learn about the history behind each dish and the cultural influences that have shaped Roman cuisine over the years.
The tour includes stops at family-owned restaurants, bakeries, and gelaterias, where you’ll taste a variety of authentic Italian treats, such as pizza bianca, suppli, and artisanal gelato.
This engaging and delicious tour is a must-do for anyone looking to experience the true essence of Rome. You can read all about our experience on the Street food and history walking tour of Rome.
2. Taste of Testaccio Food Tour
I arranged for a walking food tour in Rome’s Testaccio neighborhood. It’s not the most touristy area of Rome but, as I soon learned, there were plenty of reasons why it’s the best area for culinary freaks like myself.
The tour started in the morning so we’d first have time to explore the local farmer’s market. In the market, we met with some of the locals who’ve had stands there for years and years.
My favorite was Carmelo, the “Tomato Poet” who sells his tomatoes each for the same price—no matter the type. We sampled several different varieties just as Carmelo would offer for other visitors.
After the tour of the food market, we had the chance to try a local Roman-style breakfast pastry—the cornetto.
It’s something most of us on the tour had never heard of before. And it was amazing! There was also tiramisu in a chocolate cup. Can’t go wrong with that.
My favourite part of the walking tour was when we stopped at the gourmet foodie shop E. Volpetti. The shop serves gourmet cheeses (over 140) and meats, but what I most enjoyed was the balsamic tasting.
I enjoyed it so much I even brought home a balsamic vinegar.
After all those treats we spent some time getting a better history of the Testaccio area of Rome.
Rather than just stuffing our faces all afternoon, we visited one of Rome’s most famous cemeteries—it’s for non-Catholics only and is where the famous poet John Keats is buried.
Our tour guide explained some of the history of the area, which inevitably included details about the neighbourhood’s football (soccer) obsession, the mafia history and any number of your typical Italian stereotypes.
After exploring the more historical sites, it was back to the food tour.
Lunch included typical Roman pasta dishes and — of course— fine wine. By this time I was more than adequately full. But when the final stop of the tour was announced—Rome’s most popular gelato cafe—my appetite grew yet again!
In the gelateria, our tour guide explained the most important tips for knowing the difference between real and fake gelato, as unfortunately some gelato stores are tourist traps:
- Pay attention to the color. Banana gelato should be off-white not yellow (you don’t eat the banana peel!)
- Pay attention to the shape. Real gelato shouldn’t have large, billowy mounds flowing out of the metal tubs. More rich and tasty gelatos while be full of less air!
- Keep an eye out for the ingredients. If you see big brown boxes behind the counter, or empty tubs, then you’re probably not eating the real thing. Italian food shops will often prominently display their ingredients so just have a quick look around before you buy!
By the end of the tour I pretty much felt like a food expert, but thankfully the good food in Rome didn’t stop there.
My guide offered up all her favorite Rome restaurants so that the rest of my stay would be as tasty as the tour!
- We recommend this Tastes & Traditions of Rome: Testaccio Food and Market Tour with Devour Tours (one of our favorite companies) It includes 8+ food tastings and a small group of maximum 12 people. We did three of their food tours in Italy and loved everyone. Including the next tour…
3. Hidden Rome Trastevere Food Tour
The Hidden Rome food tour of the Trastevere district is an evening food tour that allows you to experience the city’s vibrant nightlife and indulge in its delicious cuisine.
The tour takes you through the charming streets of Trastevere, one of Rome’s most picturesque neighborhoods, where visitors can explore its hidden alleys and corners.
You’ll be led by a local guide who will introduce you to the area’s best food spots and traditional dishes, as well as sampling some of the freshest ingredients such as fresh mozzarella di bufala and truffle cheese.
Along the way, you’ll learn about the history and culture of Trastevere and Rome, making this an immersive and enriching experience.
This food tour is perfect for anyone looking to taste some of Rome’s best food in a lively and authentic setting.
4. Flavors of Rome Campo Marzo Street Food Tour
This food tour allows you to explore the city’s food culture while seeing its famous landmarks.
The tour combines a walking tour of Rome back streets and hidden alleys, taking you past some of the most iconic sights to some hidden gems in the historic district.
You will make stops at local food markets and street food vendors, where you’ll taste traditional Roman dishes.
A knowledgeable guide will provide insight into the city’s rich history and architecture, as well as its culinary traditions.
This tour is perfect for those who want to experience the highlights of both worlds: delicious food and unforgettable sightseeing.
- Check prices and availability for the Flavors of Rome Food Tour here.
- You may also love this Semi-Private Food Tour of Rome Italy, which allows you to explore Rome through its food – from pasta to gelato, this tour hits all the food highlights.
5. Vegan Food Tour Experience
If you have dietary restrictions, such as being gluten-free, vegetarian or have allergies, then the vegan food tour is for you.
This one-of-a-kind tour lets you indulge in the city’s delicious vegan Italian cuisine, taking you to some of the best vegan restaurants and food spots in Rome.
This tour offers a chance to taste traditional Italian vegan dishes made from fresh and locally sourced ingredients.
You’ll visit markets and eateries that specialize in vegan cuisine, exploring a wide range of flavors and textures.
Along the way, you’ll learn about the history and culture of veganism in Rome, making it an immersive and educational experience.
6. Jewish Ghetto And Navona Food And Wine Tour
If you’re looking to sample some of the classic Italian fine wines, then this is the tour for you.
The Jewish Ghetto and Navona Food and Wine tour is a fantastic way to experience the city’s culinary delights and sample some of Italy’s finest wines.
The tour takes you through the charming streets of Rome’s historic center, where you’ll visit traditional food markets, artisanal bakeries, and famous wine bars.
Your guide will introduce you to authentic cuisine from the Jewish area, such as artichokes, as well as local wines, such as Frascati and Chianti.
Along the way, you’ll learn about the history and culture of Rome, making for an immersive and enriching experience.
7. Small-Group Walking Tour of Trastevere, Campo de’ Fiori & Jewish Ghetto
Last but not least, is the small group walking tour of Trastevere, Campo de’ Fiori and the Jewish Quarter. This is where you’ll taste some of Rome’s most delicious dishes.
Your expert guide will take you to traditional markets, family-owned restaurants, and popular eateries, where you’ll sample local specialties such as supplì, pizza, and gelato.
The tour also includes visits to historic landmarks and cultural sites, providing a deeper understanding of Rome’s rich history and culture.
This small group tour ensures an intimate and personalized experience, making it perfect for foodies and history buffs alike.
Final Thoughts on the Best Food Tours in Rome
Taking a food tour in Rome is an excellent way to uncover the Eternal City’s culinary delights while immersing yourself in its rich history and culture.
Rome’s culinary history and traditions are some of the oldest in the world, and food tours allow visitors to access a wide range of delicious dishes, from traditional pasta dishes to artisanal gelato in one day trip.
A food tour is not only a great way to satisfy your taste buds but also a great way to gain a deeper understanding of the city’s culture and traditions.
Bio: In 2009, Adam Groffman quit his job as a graphic designer in Boston and went on a 15+ month trip around the world. The life-changing journey took him to places like North Africa, the Middle East, India and Southeast Asia. Since 2011 Adam has been living in Berlin – Europe’s most hipster city. His blog, Travels of Adam, focuses on finding the coolest cultural things to do around the world.
More Italy Travel Tips
Need more inspiration for your trip to Italy? Then these other resources may be useful to you…
- ITALIAN LAKES: To help you with your trip to Italy’s largest lake, read our suggestions for things to do in Lake Garda and for Italy’s most famous lake, a guide to things to do in Lake Como.
- TUSCANY: Don’t miss these stunning places to visit in Tuscany and a guide to Chianti towns and how to spend a day in Siena.
- VENICE: Is it a trip to Italy without exploring these best things to do in Venice?
- FLORENCE: For one of Italy’s most beautiful cities, here are 16 amazing things to do in Florence and enjoy this food and wine tour of Florence.
- CINQUE TERRE: Here’s our top things to do in Cinque Terre including our favorite Cinque Terre boat tour, and here’s a little insight into the personalities of the Five Towns of Cinque Terre.
- ROME: Here is our list of memorable things to do in Rome, a food walking tour in Rome, and what to do with kids in Rome in 72 hours, and our guides to the Vatican, and the Colosseum and Roman Forum and 36 Essential Things to know before Visiting Rome
- OTHER: 10 Italy Honeymoon Destinations For Unforgettable Romance and 10 reasons to visit Puglia, Southern Italy
Do you have any great food recommendations for Rome? Let us know in the comments!