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Rome is a Different Kettle of Pasta

This post is another of those roads that lead to Rome. We trust it will persuade you to want to go (or go back) to Italy’s capital. In the eternal city, the pasta, pizza and even aperitifs taste different. The Romans know it, and so do the rest of the Italians. Because, as you well know, there is more than one Italy.

Having landed, strolled and got lost amid all La Grande Bellezza, these are the key destinations for savouring Rome tastefully and with sprezzatura, which has no exact translation – it refers to a nonchalant, seemingly effortless (but studied) attitude characteristic of Italian culture.

Where to eat

Roma Sparita. Located in the Trastevere, in a secluded corner sheltered from the hubbub, where time seems to stand still. Their cacio e peppe is a must, as is the Roman spaghetti par excellence, their seasonal mushroom recommendations and their tiramisu.

Romolo e Remo. Out of the way, but well connected by bus, this traditional trattoria romana is usually chock-full, so it is wise to book ahead. Home cuisine with generous helpings – go for the pasta dishes combined with the best fresh produce, and the pizzas if you’re there in the evening. Warm, obliging service. Open all week.

E-45 Piadineria Romagnola. Near the Vatican, it is ideal for a quick, quality meal. You choose the type of pasta and the filling. They make it on the spot and you can also have a homemade birra or take it out and have it elsewhere. Try the Roman classic, the number 12 on the establishment’s menu.

Taverna Trilussa. This tavern features exquisite antipasti, local sausage and outstanding stir-fries in the Trastevere.

Assunta Madre. On a quiet backstreet running parallel to the river Tevere lies this seafood temple. The fishtank in the entrance is their best testimonial, as are the photos on the walls, featuring celebrities that have graced their establishment.

Da Felice. A must-see trattoria in Trastevere; a family business offering tried and tested recipes. Try the roast lamb and the bucatini all’amatriciana, a type of hollow (or perforated) spaghetti, slightly thicker than the usual. It is typical of the Lazio region and is eaten with amatriciana sauce, which becomes infused in the pasta. Amatriciana is a variation on the different tomato sauces, this one including pork jowl bacon and cheese. The assortment is huge. All’amatriciana means any pasta or dish with this sauce. Order any of their select wines to go with it.

I Luzzi. A family trattoria serving Roman dishes near the Colosseum. Go for the set menu or one of the pizzas. This economical trattoria is in a tourist enclave.

A good ice-cream can be had either at Carapina – try their Nero assoluto – or Vice café.

Where to drink

Roscioli. This salumeria or delicatessen features tastings of pickled produce – mainly types of local sausage and canned foods, although it also boasts an excellent wine bar. If you’re looking for a good wine, you’ll find it here for sure. It’s a bull’s-eye. As are all their Italian specialities.

Café Doney. With its small terrace right on the Via Veneto, this is one of those distinguished cafes relished by both Romans and tourists looking to enjoy a good aperitif in one of Rome’s quieter, more select areas.

Porto Fluviale. A former warehouse restored as a trendy gastronomic enclave in the Termini area. It offers both food and drink but, above all, try their coffee and spritz as an aperitif.

To NY. The interior design and long bar counter dotted with cocktail shakers could not be more eye-catching. Best to drop in at night, with the atmosphere in full swing, and submit to the bartender.

Where to sleep

The Westin Excelsior Roma

An imposing, classical-style hotel just a stone’s-throw away from the Piazza di Spagna and the city’s prime shopping area. A unique spot for indulging in la dolce vita with its full-blown breakfast, its slew of homemade cakes and pies and even side dishes from all over the world. The hotel boasts spacious rooms with views, bathrooms with all manner of amenities, imperial-style salons and a spa to relax and recuperate, before taking in more of Rome. Well placed on the metro (the Barberini stop) and bus routes.

Text and photos by Belén Parra (Gastronomistas)

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