Ancient Roman Recipes
Ingredients and cooking instructions for Roman Recipes
The life and times of the people of Ancient Rome
The society, culture and life of the Romans
The Romans and life in Ancient Rome
Roman Dessert Recipes
Recipes for Starters, Main Course, Dinner and Desserts
History, Facts and Information about Ancient Roman Recipes
What type of food did the Ancient Romans eat? What ingredients did they use? What cooking methods did they employ? What were the Ancient Roman Dessert recipes like? The content of this article provides interesting history, facts and information about life in Ancient Rome including original recipes.
Roman Burgers - Isicia Omentata
Souffle of Small Fish - Patina de pisciculis
Seafood Fricassee - Minutal marinum
Green Beans - Fabaciae virides et baianae
Chicken and Leek - Pullum frontonianum
Chicken with Stuffing - Pullus fusilis
Boiled Eggs - In ovis apalis
Mussels - In mitulis
Tuna - Sarda ita fit
Big Shrimps - Scillas
Fried Veal - Vitellina fricta
Boiled Veal - In vitulinam elixam
Steamed Lamb Cutlets - Aliter baedinam
Ancient Roman Dessert Recipes
Famous Ancient Roman Recipes - Apicius - On the subject of Cooking
The content of this section provides details of Ancient Roman food recipes for main courses and desserts. They are taken from a collection of Ancient Roman Food Recipes. The cookery book, containing these old Roman recipes, is called Apicius, a name that has long been associated with the love of food. The famous Greek equivalent to this name is Epicurus from which the word 'epicure' is derived meaning a person devoted to refined sensuous enjoyment (especially good food and drink). Marcus Gavius Apicius was the name of an extravagant Roman who loved expensive food and luxury. His liking for food was famous and eventually the name of Apicius was eventually thought appropriate for a collection of Ancient Roman recipes which at first was commonly known as known as Apicius. In the earliest printed editions of this ancient book of Roman recipes it was given the overall title 'De re coquinaria' which means "On the Subject of Cooking". The Roman food recipes contained in this cookery book includes fish, meat, dessert, vegetable and soup recipes.
Ancient Roman Recipes
The content of this Ancient Roman Recipes category on life in Ancient Rome provides free educational details, facts and information for reference and research for schools, colleges and homework. Refer to the Colosseum Sitemap for a comprehensive search on interesting different categories containing the history, facts and information about Ancient Rome.
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The Temple of Saturn can't be missed in a walking tour of the Roman Forum mostly because of its huge presence. It is one of the first things you will notice as you scan the area of Rome ruins.
The gigantic Greek style columns, from a 4th century restoration following a fire, framed the entrance to the Temple of Saturn.
The eight standing columns face the Curia or Senate House.
Notice the different colors of the columns which shows a wonderful example of spolia, which is the practice of recycling materials or elements from ancient buildings.
Saturn Temple is the Forum's oldest temple dating from 497BC, founded in the early days of the Roman Republic.
The arched openings in the massive foundations housed the treasury of the Roman government.
The most popular god, Saturn, ruled a "golden age" of prosperity, peace and civil freedom. The Romans believed Saturn's kingdom was Capitoline Hill.
According to legend, the rule of Saturn's son, Jupiter, brought this period to an end. Honoring Saturn with a Temple, the Romans hoped for the return to a better era.
In the end of December, a festival was celebrated in honor of Saturn. Friends and family exchanged gifts and his statue was draped and carried in procession through the city.
There is an excellent view of the Roman Forum from this spot.
Explore Rome at your own pace on an extensive hop-on hop-off itinerary through the heart of Rome. The buses are open top which allows you to enjoy full 360 degree panoramic views as you travel along your route. You have the choice of a 24 or 48 hours ticket with which to make use of all the stops in the most beautiful, cultural and evocative areas of the Eternal city. The tour operates 365 days per year.
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The double decker green bus departs Termini Station every 15 to 20 minutes giving you plenty of opportunities to explore each stop in detail. If you were to stay on the bus for the entire loop, it would take approximately 1.5 to 2 hours.
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Itinerary: Rome Hop-on Hop-off Stops:
1. TERMINI - Largo di Villa Peretti
2. SANTA MARIA MAGGIORE
3. COLOSSEO - Via di San Gregorio / Sundays and Public Holidays Via Nicola Salvi
4. CIRCO MASSIMO - Opposite Piazzale Ugo La Malfa
5. VIA DEL TEATRO MARCELLO - Opposite Teatro Della Cometa
6. ISOLA TIBERINA - Piazza di Monte Savello ATAC bus stop
7. SAN PIETRO - Via della Conciliazione, Opposite Caff- San Pietro, no. 36 (Vatican City)
8. CASTEL SANT'ANGELO - Lungotevere Tor Di Nona / Piazza Ponte Sant'Angelo.
9. AUGUSTO IMPERATORE - Piazza Augusto Imperatore
10. TREVI - Via del Trittone (This bus top is closed from 2pm on Saturdays and all day on Sundays and Italian public holidays)
11. BARBERINI - Via Barberini
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As with other aspects of ancient Roman life and Roman architecture, Roman homes, houses and Roman villas underwent a degree of evolution, particularly as the fortunes of Rome impacted wealth, society, roman technology and standards of living.
A further factor to be taken into account is the vast period of time being considered when we speak of "Roman" homes and housing. Ancient Rome had a history which lasted over a thousand years and as such it is hardly surprising that the customs, needs and dwellings of the citizens should change.
Political affairs also affected location: Rome's civil wars between Julius Caesar and Pompey at the end of the Republican period meant that it was safer for the rich and important to have their sumptuous dwellings outside Rome's city walls on the nearby hills such as the Quirinal, Viminalis or Caelius or even in the Trastevere district where there was the added advantage of land to be employed for sumptuous gardens and parks.
In the centre of town the most over-populated areas where the plebeians dwelt tended to be the lowest and generally least salubrious, probably as they used to be marshes before being drained. The Suburra was the most famous or infamous of these.
As we look at ancient Roman houses and villas we will notice that their development was influenced by very real aspects such as:
To give some quick insight: Advances in hydraulics allowed the Romans to bring piped water into their homes, this meant that there was less need for water collection basins (impluvium) within the home. Coupled with advances in construction this enabled the buiding of multi-story apartment blocks. Glass at the windows allowed larger windows to be built to allow light in whilst keeping the cold out. Availabiltiy of raw materials allowed a broad variety of decorative techniques which acted in concert with the plasticity of brick and cement walls and suspended plaster ceilings to bring great innovation of interior spaces. Access to food and primary needs meant that it was no longer necessary to have your own vegetable patch and cities could be built up more intensively.
"Fires" as a source of development in Roman architecture and Roman houses might seem like a strange element to add to the list. Rome and ancient Roman buildings were very prone to fires due to the great use of oil lamps for internal lighting and cooking fires. The wooden structures within walls, floors and ceilings did the rest, as in the great fire of Rome during the reign of Emperor Nero. These fires were occasion for relatively regular destruction of artwork and buildings and their subsequent reconstruction. A famous example of this is the Pantheon, first built in traditional style by Agrippa during Augustus' reign but rebuilt in its glorious present form by Emperor Hadrian with its record breaking dome and central "oculus" like a traditional roman house compluvium/impluvium. On far smaller scale we have the evidence of reconstructions of Roman houses in ancient Rome, there are numerous examples of excavated houses with republican style mosaics which survived catastrophe and second/third style frescos on the walls which had clearly had to be rebuilt and repainted.
We can thus see how the study of ancient Roman society allows us the deepest of insights into the factors impacting the development of housing and urbanisation.
The earliest Romans living on the Palatine hill were essentially farmers and shepherds, wearing animal skins as clothing and building their abodes of whatever construction materials were readily available. Archeological digs on the hills of Rome have brought to light a number of clues as to what these huts were like and when they were built.
These early huts were generally rectangular or lozenge shaped. They were made by planting large trunks into the ground, say three per side. The walls would be made by filling the space between them with smaller sized wood and straw/mud.
The roof cover would have been held by wooden beams meeting in the centre at the vertex (ie a traditional roof shape) and supported by one or more trunks standing in the centre of the hut. Roof covering was probably of straw. A hole in the roof allowed smoke from the internal fire to escape.
The layout of Roman houses was essentially Etruscan-Italic in origin, possibly driven by the early concept of a single communal space where a fire burned to keep people warm.
Superficially, the evolution of Roman houses is relatively simple to understand and has made even easier thanks to the finds around Pompeii and Herculaneum. Pompeii in particular allows us to see a snapshot of the evolution of Roman houses from the 3rd century BC through to the 1st century AD when the volcano erupted, although other sites also give us some good insights, such as Ostia and other locations across north Africa, middle east etc.
Relatively "modest" Roman houses such as that of Trebius Valens (Reg III, Ins.2, #1) give an impression of the richness which Pompeian architecture reached and its context within city life: at one time it's facade was particularly interesting due to the numerous large electoral inscriptions on it with personal political recommendations of the house's owner and advertisements for the public games at the amphitheatre complete with the name of the "editer munerum" and gladiator pairs, champions and the fact that it would be covered by sails to protect the public from the sun. Inside the house was particularly noteworthy for second style paintings in one of the bedrooms, a room with black painted surfaces, a private bathroom behind the kitchen, a triclinium under a pergola with a chequered decoration, and a play of water pools with 12 fountains laid out radially in the garden
Older houses, such as "the house of the Surgeon" (VI,I,9-10), 4th-3rd century BC, had a rather more austere aspect with massive squared blocks making up its facade. The house derives its name from the exceptional collection of surgical instruments found here.
A simple rectangular area (atrium) with a hole in the middle of the roof let light and rainwater in. The rainwater was collected into a cistern for household use: there was no piped water yet. The roof could either be flat or inclined inwards to act like a funnel. Various rooms were laid out around the edges of this area. The two rooms either side of the entrance formed a short corridor which ran from door into the central atrium space. The most important room was at the opposite end of the atrium, opposite the front door: The "tablinum" was a sort of master bedroom where the family records were kept. The family dining table ("cartibulum") and fire were in the common space of the atrium between the tablinum and impluvium.
Rooms were called cubicula, they had little furniture perhaps a bed and a cupboard and were usually made for a single occupant. They didn't always have a door, a curtain might be sufficient. Light and air (and cold) entered through a window which for security as well as comfort was high and narrow.
Behind the house, to the other side of the tablinum there was a small vegetable garden which provided the basic Roman food for family needs such as the beans and pulses of the popular "satura" soup (a sort of minestrone).
The layout of early Roman houses was therefore highly symmetrical and space was focused around the central focus of the impluvium. This approach was reflected in architectural decoration by Roman mosaics with their central "emblema" and Roman painting and the sequence of Roman painting styles moved from the "first" style which imitated materials like stone and marble to "second" style which depicted theatrical three dimensional stage sets.
With time access to wealth, piped water, glass, food, materials, building techniques and skilled workers allowed the architecture of this basic type to be modified in numerous ways:
Building techniques allowed the atrium to grow in size through the use of more complex joists or columns. The compluvium (central hole in the ceiling) could be built and decorated in numerous ways, particularly as the size increased the use of pillars increased. The "tuscan" type of atrium ceiling was the most ancient and expensive since it avoided the use of pillars and as such required particularly large beams. The cheaper and more practical alternative was to introduce 4 or more pillars to support the hole in the ceiling.
The layout of Roman houses evolved so that whilst it maintained symmetry with the front door the family living spaces receded away from the road and atrium towards the noble tablinum and the garden beyond it. The focus on the impluvium lost its importance in favour of the more open space of the garden beyond.
Further wealth allowed yet more expansion in all dimensions with a parallel shift in decorative techniques of mosaic and painting. A wonderful example of this is the 3rd century AD villa at Piazza Armerina in Sicily. Pompeii gives us examples of Roman house with two front entrances, essentially two atrium blocks side by side, one of blocks used more as a service area whilst the other + garden/peristyle to the rear were for the noble family. Wealth also permitted a degree of expansion in the vertical direction by adding extra floors to the house.
The layout of Roman houses had thus extended in all directions, destroying the focal centrality of the atrium in favour of a more open layout - the town house equivalent of the large villas on the coast on the bay of Naples.
Roman houses developed into highly sophisticated buildings. The houses of the rich Patricians were veritable multi-storey wonders on the coast or sprawling villas whilst the poorer classes, the Plebeians or Plebs, as in all times and ages were gradually reduced to live in unhealthy slums. The great fire of Rome during the reign of Emperor Nero is said to have burned down the greater part of these slums in order to make way for his enormous palace called "the Golden House" or Domus Aurea.
The progress of the early Roman empire in terms of peace (pax Romana), wealth and relativley large cities with higher population densities came hand in hand with the progress of technology and civil engineering which allowed such population concentrations to thrive: plentiful food and water supply, streets and pavements allowing ordered transport and mobility, ports to carry merchandise to and from, drains and sewers to keep the city clean.
Clearly such a situation tends to raise the value of each square meter of land, providing an incentive to build higher buildings which can utilise such investment to the full. From the residential point of view and Roman housing this is particularly evident in the development of multi-storey apartment buildings.
Roman town planners are also famous for having invented the first apartment blocks, called "insula" or "insulae". Some examples of these apartment buildings can still be seen in cities such as Rome or Ostia (Rome's harbour). Interestingly they are not to be found at Pompeii where the highest building had something like three floors and the norm was just a single floor. In spite of its wealth Pompeii had not outgrown its limits as attested by the many large gardens and relatively undeveloped areas to the east of the city, ie availability of space and population density was clearly a strong factor in whether or not apartment blocks were built up.
Roman apartment buildings could be as high as 5 or 6 floors and measure some 10 metres in length and 20 metres in height.
The insulae in the poorest areas could be built out of extremely bad materials such as clay, straw, wood and crude bricks and often owed their structural strength to the support of neighbouring buildings, not a healthy situation. This accommodation, with very little by the way of hygiene was generally regarded as a temporary stepping stone towards something of higher quality.
The apartments at Ostia give us a good example of what the next step up might have been. There are various examples of insulae dating to the reign of Emperor Trajan (ie when the Empire was at its greatest extent) with the same apartment layout being repeated various times over. These buildings were obviously intended as low cost high quality housing for an increasingly rich middle class present in Ostia at the time as the port of Ostia was itself enlarged and improved. The plans of these buildings show a great deal of thought for use of space and functionality.
The external walls of these buildings are in opus reticulatum (small square blocks placed diagonally above one another) whilst the internal ones are in opus incertum (rather less ordered). There were fewer floors and each apartment had its own terrace and private access. Also at Ostia, there are various examples of apartments with frescoes and decorations of the typical yellow and red squares which were popular at the time: a good example of housing made for an increasingly rich entrepreneurial middle class.
The middle-upper classes, made of professionals, merchants and nobles could clearly afford their own private houses, whether in the city or in the country. The "basic" house was focused around an atrium whilst a more elaborate and clearly larger variation on the theme was to add a peristyle around the back garden, thus almost doubling the overall footprint of the house..
Some of the more common Roman home terms are described in the table. The key letters to the left of the terms enable the various areas to be matched to the plan shown below the table:
|a||Ala||Two rooms, opposite one another, facing onto the atrium. Their use is uncertain but may have been for storage, general use and, in Patrician houses, for displaying the face masks of their ancestors preserved from Roman funerals.|
|b||Andron||Corridor connecting the garden (hortus) and the atrium.|
|c||Atrium||In the most ancient times of Rome the atrium was the area where much of family life went on. The name "atrium" stems for the word "ater" meaning "black" due to the smoke of the fires used for producing light and keeping that area warm.
The atrium was rather like a central courtyard in the house with a rectangular opening in the roof above it (the compluvium) providing air and light. A rectangular basin in the ground (impluvium) corresponded to the opening above in order to collect rain water.
All major living areas of Roman homes had direct access to the atrium.
|d||Compluvium||Rectangular opening in the roof, above the atrium of the house. It let in rain, air and light. Rain fell into the impluvium.
This may seem a mere technical detail but it is easy to see how it conditioned Roman architecture once light could be had through windows and water through pipes. This central element became inessential and hence allowed greater freedom of design of interior space with subsequent impact in all aspects of interior space design, such as mosaics and painting.
|g||Exedra||An area at the bottom of the garden, at the end of the peristylium. It was more or less equivalent in function to the tablinum ie. for meetings, chatting and generally getting together.|
|h||Fauces||The corridor which led from the front door (ianua) to the main part of the house, the atrium.|
|i||Hortus||The garden. Closed in by a wall.|
|j||Ianua||The front door of the house. It was normally set a little further in from the road, leaving a small entrance area called the vestibulum. Notice the similarity with the word January (Ianuarius), first month of the year in the Roman calendar revised by Julius Caesar. Some more front door facts....
|k||Impluvium||A shallow rectangular section dug a little into the ground of the atrium to collect the rainwater which fell in through the compluvium. The water drained into a cistern underground which acted as water repository for the household.
The development of piped pressurised water diminished the need for the water collection cistern and allowed the impluvium to be turned into a decorative fountain, contributing to the "centripetal" architecture focused around the centre of the atrium.
This might seem like a meaningless detail yet it belies the shift in architectural approach between central focus or one where the sense of space was enhanced by removal of centrality in preference for modularity: particularly evident in the development of Roman mosaics and Roman painting.
|L||Peristylium||A range of columns around an area such as a garden. Rather like a cloister. It could even be made of two floors.|
|mm||Piscina||Pool/fountain in the centre of the peristyle/garden.|
|n||Posticum||Back entrance to the house.|
|o||Taberna||A couple of bedrooms, store rooms or shop with direct road access. The walls of the two rooms were the sides of the fauces (h). If this was managed by the household slaves and servants then it might have access from the atrium otherwise it would be made independent of the main household.
One particular taberna in Pompeii, attached to the back of a rich villa is an example of how an ancient Roman prostitution business might be run.
|p||Tablinum||In Rome's earliest days the tablinum was the pater familias' private study. A sort of drawing room or lounge. It was situated on the Atrium on the opposite side from the front door (ianua). The interior was often decorated with frescos and art.
The tablinum would be closed off from the atrium by heavy curtains and from the garden by way of wooden doors.
|q||Triclinium||The dining room. There would generally be three couches in this room (hence the name beginning with "tri"). Poorer houses might have a biclinium. The couches would be built at right angles to one another. Those in the garden would be made of brick and then plastered or covered in marble. Those in the house itself would generally be made of wood.
The couches would be set around a table called "mensa". The leftmost couch was reserved for the master of the house, his wife and one of his sons or in the absense of a son for one of his liberti. The central couch would be for high ranking guests, particularly the spot next to the master of the house. The third couch would be for other guests.
The romans adopted the practice of eating in a lounging position from the Greeks. As we can see from numerous paintings of the time, reclining was generally reserved for men whilst women would sit.
|r||Vestibulum||The small hall area which separated the front door from the main road. Rich Patricians often started their day by taking visits from their numerous "clients (clientes) who would congregate in the vestibulum early in the morning.|
Some further notes:
A plan view of a typical Roman house is described below. The first has a simple garden whilst the second has a peristyle around a pool and various other extra rooms.
Early Roman house. The vegetable patch/garden was at the back, through the tablinum.
Example of a later Roman house where the basic atrium module has been extended towards the back into the garden with its peristyle.
The family has progressively moved away from the street side of the house whilst rooms by the door have become service quarters, stores or some sort of public activity.
The size, number of slaves, activities and beauty of the furnishings, frescoes and mosaics all depended on the personal preference and wealth of the owner and hence varied greatly according to fortune and personal taste - an example of how Roman patronage influenced art production.
Roman houses would be run by the lady of the house with the aid of her slaves. Extremely rich Roman families would have a large number of slaves for a variety of tasks in the home, including one to tell you the time. The finds at sites such as Pompeii and Ostia have enabled a great deal of information to be derived about the types and varieties of such Roman homes.
More detail of the Roman houses at ancient Pompeii have been assembled in the essay about the architecture of ancient Pompeii.
Roman Villas and farms - Roman villae - were clearly rather different in nature to the "common" home of the Roman general public. The building in this case would be made with the specific purpose of assisting the extended use to be made of the building beyond pure living quarters:
- in the case of the elitist villa this would be to both show personal wealth, entertain and undertake personal business.
- in the case of the Roman farms - villae rusticae - the building had to support the process, storage and supply chain involved with the production of a variety of staple agricultural producs such as olive oil, wine and general horticultural produce.
More detail about Roman villas and farms - villae rusticae - has been included in this separate section.
A more complete rendition of ancient Roman building materials requires a whole page of its own, however Roman walls would be made of brick and mortar whilst floors and roof would be of wood. Terracotta tiles would provide the roof covering. Lead plumbing might be used to get water into the building itself. Lighting was via windows or burning torches and oil lamps, which clearly made buildings highly subject to fire.
| Roman Life | ancient roman homes | ancient roman villas and farms | ancient roman education | roman numerals | entertainment and games | food | roman clothing and toga party |Roman Houses | Ancient Roman Homes | ancient roman animals | Ancient Rome Buildings |
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Trastevere: The Heart of Rome
By Martha Miller
While Rome entices with its extraordinary monuments, Trastevere, one of its many distinct neighborhoods, captures the traveler's heart. Trastevere, which translates to "across the Tiber River", was once considered the outskirts of Rome. Allowed to develop its own flavor and now part of il centro storico, it's the perfect place to glimpse a bit of the old world while still enjoying the lifestyle of today's Romans.
Often described as Bohemian, homes bedecked with flower boxes and clinging ivy intertwine with coffee bars, restaurants, and one-of-a-kind boutiques. Buildings in terracotta, maize and wine cast a glow, like a daylong sunset. From the cobblestone streets to the overhanging laundry lines, senses are pleasantly awakened with every step. Equidistant from the Coliseum and the Vatican, Trastevere is an ideal place to make a home base.
If arriving at Fumicino airport, save a bundle by taking the train from inside the airport to Stazione Trastevere and from there catch a cab to your hotel.
As charming as Trastevere is, the winding streets can be a bit confusing. A detailed map may be included in your travel book, but if not, it is well worth spending another few euros to save time and limit frustration. Start your visit at the outdoor mercato at Piazza San Cosimato, located one block from Via San Francesco a Ripa. Tented booths display a bountiful array of tantalizing fruits and vegetables.
It's an opportunity to observe locals buying the freshest ingredients for the day's meals and then carrying it all home in their trailing, 2-wheeled shopping carts. Vendors open their stalls around 8:00am and close at 2:00pm.
Taking in the Sun
Trasteverini take full advantage of Rome's temperate climate. It isn't unusual to spot a signora snapping peas and taking in the morning sun on a chair just outside her doorway. Later in the afternoon, two blocks away, men in Piazza San Calisto set up folding tables among the cobblestones to play card games, ignoring cars squeezing in around them.
The most popular gathering place in the area is Piazza Santa Maria in Trastevere. Dating back to the 3rd century, the church of Santa Maria in Trastevere is the oldest in the city. Take note that there are no fewer than 80 other churches named for her in Rome. Visitors come to view the gleaming mosaics by Pietro Cavallini and then linger on the steps of the octagonal fountain to people watch and enjoy an aperitif at Caffè Di Marzio.
Saturdays almost ensure a wedding or two will take place. Tradition dictates all guests and members of the wedding party must wait outside the church to see the bride arrive. It is a very special moment that no Italian wants to miss.
If it's Friday morning, you might see the local arrotino, or knife sharpener, pedal by on his bicycle replete with whetstone. His distinctive bellow signals the building's tenants to lower a basket from their window with cutlery in need of honing.
In the late afternoon, it's common to take a passeggiata or evening walk. Arched doorways, climbing ivy and pathways closed to traffic provide a relaxed setting for strolling. Children gather to play in the piazzas and neighbors catch up on the latest news. Piazza Santa Maria in Trastevere could be called the piazza that never sleeps; street performers entertain the crowds into the wee hours with music, fire juggling, acrobatics, and comical skits.
At dusk, in adjacent Piazza Sant' Egidio, artisans and vendors set up tables to sell crafts, jewelry, candles and more. A former convent turned museum, Sant'Egidio's Museo del Folklore features exhibits portraying more recent Roman life. One example is a photo exhibit highlighting the era of "La Dolce Vita" and movie making in the 1950s.
Incidentally, if in need of a little cinema therapy, the Pasquino theatre opposite the museum features English-language movies. Through Piazza Sant'Egidio, veering to the right you'll arrive at Caffè del Cinque, (Vicolo del Cinque 5), a bar situated at the intersection of five streets; a good place for an early morning caffè, afternoon apertif or latenight cocktail. Sit at a table outside if you dare; passing cars are literally within arms reach.
Food in Italy is among the best in the world and fortunately, in Trastevere you can eat well and cheaply at the local hangouts. One favorite is Da Corrado (Via della Pelliccia, 39), just a few steps down from Caffè del Cinque, a no-frills establishment, where atmosphere comes from the clientele and the wait staff. Try involtini, thinly sliced meat wrapped around vegetables and mozzarella.
To avoid a long wait, arrive before 8:30 pm and take a good look at the menu posted outside before you sit down as there are none inside. If you hesitate too long, the waiter will decide for you. For a cozy dinner visit Il DuCa (Vicolo del Cinque, 56) where the wood-burning pizza oven and dark, rustic surroundings, not to mention the tasty pizza, will make you glad you came. Only one street over, Il Conte di Montecristo (Vicolo del Bologna, 89a) serves up a mouth-watering swordfish among other specialties. After your meal, sip an icy limoncello commonly believed to aid digestion.
Funky Shoe Store
Moving down Vicolo del Cinque, look for little known gems like Jacche Calzature, a funky shoe store offering sample shoes and those worn in fashion shows for a hard-to-believe price. Outfitting women and men, there are two locations, both in Trastevere: Vicolo del Cinque 24/b and Via Benedetta 9.
In keeping with the area's authenticity of a real neighborhood, plastic likenesses of David and glittery miniature coliseums are absent. Instead, unique shops echo the artisans of the Roman Empire. Turn right at the end of Vicolo del Cinque and make time to visit Polvere di tempo, (Via del Moro, 59) where the unifying theme is well, time.
Interesting curios include handcrafted hourglasses, sundials, globes and kaleidoscopes. The giant 18-hour hourglass alone is worth the trip. If you find yourself longing for some English-reading material, The Almost Corner Bookshop (Via del Moro, 45) carries all types of books and an especially good selection of historical and fictional titles.
Gourmet Food and Wine
Backtrack a short distance to Ferrara, (Via del Moro 1/a-Piazza Trilussa 41). "Upscale" best describes this gourmet food/wine shop and restaurant. A gift-boxed, 100-year-old bottle of balsamic vinegar will set you back about e270. For the rest of us there are reasonably priced Italian specialties including capers, olives, pesto and tomato sauces. Prices range from e0.70 for a chocolate to e900 for a rare bottle of wine.
Ambling up the street behind Piazza Trilussa, be sure to stop in at Checco, (Via Benedetta, 7) a favorite coffee bar of the locals, for an espresso and cornetto or pastry. Try the pine nut torta for something special and if chocolate's your thing, you won't be disappointed with the thick and steamy chocolato caldo. Go ahead and splurge a little when asked if you want it "con panna" - with whipped cream on top.
For excellent pizza by the slice, exit Checco and turn left continuing straight to find La Boccaccia (Via di Santa.Dorotea, 2). This is more an eat-and-run type of place, but is definitely worth finding if for no other reason than to sample the potato and cheese combination. Delizioso!
For a light lunch, cafes and bars feature tramazzini. These white bread sandwiches cut crosswise, with various fillings, are delicious and economical. Pull up a chair at Caffe Settimiana, (corner of Vicolo della Scala and Via di Santa Dorotea) and enjoy lunch while taking in a close up view of Porta Settimiana, a gate in the Aurelian Wall dating back to 1498.
Road to the Vatican
Follow the straight road that starts on the other side, Via della Lungara, and it will lead you to the Vatican. A brisk walk, will take you there in about 25 minutes.
With a multitude of churches just steps apart, one can easily compare different influences. Aiming away from the Aurelian Wall and ambling up Via della Scala, visit Santa Maria della Scala for a rich taste of Baroque design. The simple façade gives no clue to the heavy ornamentation inside.
For dinner, wander the back streets beyond Vicolo della Scala to find small but stellar restaurants like Trattoria "da Lucia" (Vicolo del Mattonato, 2). After dinner, stop for gelato at Gelateria alla Scala, (Via della Scala 51) which prides itself on using only natural ingredients.
For a spectacular view of Rome, head up to Mount Janiculum. You'll pass the church of San Pietro in Montorio; built on the site where Saint Peter is believed to have been crucified. Also famous for its cloister and artwork including Bramante's "Tempietto."
A bit further up the hill is Fontana dell 'Acqua Paola, a grandiose fountain dating to 1612. Across from the fountain and next to the Spanish Embassy is a photo op not to be missed. Numerous domes dot the urban vista and on a clear day, you can observe the snow-capped Colli Albani, the hills behind Rome. Other easy-to-spot points of interest are Palazzo Venezia and Castel Sant'Angelo.
If you want to get a workout or just need to get in touch with nature, the park at Villa Pamphili, further up Mount Janiculum, is the place to be. Void of tourists, this running, walking and biking trail draws old and young alike. During the weekdays, grandparents pushing strollers are common and on the weekends, couples and families arrive to picnic and exuberantly cheer soccer games.
When in Rome...
Water pours continuously from fountains here and all over Rome. Refill a bottle without worry, as it is clean and safe to drink unless posted signs say otherwise. To do as the Romans do, place your finger over the waterspout to redirect the flow to the small hole on top and quench your thirst straight from the resulting mini geyser.
Bargain hunters will be happy to know about the Porta Portese flea market. Located off Viale Trastevere, beginning at the corner of Via Portuense and Via Ippolito Nievo, the savvy shopper can stock up on new and used items including beautiful picture frames, prints, jewelry, trendy clothing and many more good buys. Go early to avoid the crowds; hours are Sundays 6:30am -2:00pm.
Visit Rome any time of year; off-season is considered to be November to February when hotels are usually less expensive and museums and archeological sites are less crowded. February and July are good for shopping clearance sales. August has a slower pace because the majority of businesses close for ferragosto, summer vacation.
Generally, Trastevere is safe, but use common sense and keep an eye on your belongings. As in other parts of the city, purse-snatchers and pickpockets are a concern.
With its multitude of must-see historical sites, Rome can be overwhelming. For a genuine look at how today's Romans live, visit Trastevere. It very well may be the most memorable part of your trip.
Freelance writer Martha Miller of Austin, Texas, is working on a book about the two years she lived in Rome
Sources and Copyrights: http://www.gonomad.com/destinations/0504/trastevere.html
Sources and Copyrights: http://www.hg2.com/cities/italy/rome/shops/market/---la-soffitta-sotto-i-portici---rome-italy
Tour the medieval villages outside Rome on an afternoon excursion to the Castelli Romani region. You'll take a relaxing drive through the beautiful countryside surrounding the busy capital, see views of the Pope's summer residence of Castelgandolfo and enjoy a wine tasting at famous Frascati.
Among the many monuments of Rome, an important role is played by Castles. There are few of them, but they are great. Here follows a list of the most beautiful and amazing castles of the "Caput Mundi".
Nowadays it is still the summer residence of the Popes. It is placed on a volcanic crater, above an amazing lake. The town center worth a visit too.
On the main square, Piazza della Libertà, there is the church of San Tommaso di Villanova, designed by Bernini, a couple of cafes, a few shops selling local produce and tourist fripperies in the piazza.
Castel Gandolfo is a sleepy little place and it's an ideal spot to spend a few relaxing hours. There are some good places to eat, and the area is renowned for its local produce, and several establishments offer you the chance to taste and buy wine, meat and other local specialities.
There is a tourist information kiosk close to the piazza on Via Massimo d'Azeglio.
The town has a peach festival, the Sagra delle Pesche, on the third Sunday in July. The patron saint is San Sebastiano, celebrated in September.
Take this special excursion to receive a Papal Blessing at Castelgandolfo in the summer months only. Availability is limited, so don't miss the opportunity to leave the busy Italian capital to spend time with the Pope at his summer residence at Castelgandolfo.
Frascati is the most well-known of the Castelli Romani, and the most visited. Just a short journey from Rome, the town is famous for its white wine, and is a popular destination for Romans looking for fresh air, good food and drink and a pleasant day out.
The most imposing building in Frascati is the grand Villa Aldobrandini, with gardens that are open to the public.
Frascati it is a picturesque town, reknown for its bistroes and wyneries. Another famous place is Villa Torlonia, with its theatre "Delle Acque". The Chrurch of Gesus and St. Peter's Cathedral worth a visit.
Tour the medieval villages outside Rome on an afternoon excursion to the Castelli Romani region. You'll take a relaxing drive through the beautiful countryside surrounding the busy capital, see views of the Pope's summer residence of Castelgandolfo and enjoy a wine tasting at famous Frascati.
Nemi is an ancient pretty medieval town, placed on the crater of a ancient estinguished volcano. This town is mostly reknown for the production of strawberry in May - June. You can't miss the characteristic centertown.
Sources and Copyrigths: http://www.aboutroma.com/castels-of-Rome.html