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Rome at Christmastime


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Hmmm. Here's another question.

Where to stay?

If one wanted to book a hotel or pensione (depending on what was available) in a 'neighborhood' that retained the character of Rome as its inhabitants live in it....rather than land in a big hotel or tourist hotel stuck in the middle of the city, which neighborhood would you head for to find such a place?

A sort of place that didn't need to be luxurious, yet possibly could be...or possibly not. But it is mostly the neighborhood I'm talking about.

Where...when you walk out the door, the 'real' Rome is there. With foods and restaurants and stores for the cities natives, not its visitors.

Which neighborhood would you head for?

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I second the notion of a day trip to Oriveto. The last time I was in Rome, my S.O. and I had a terrific picnic of wild boar sausage, bread and cheese on the steps of the duomo before we began to seriously poke around town.

You'll find some pottery shops (ceramica tipico locale) that rival anything you'll find in Tuscany too.

As for "neighborhoods" in which to stay, I've had great luck finding pensiones and alberghi in the neighborhood around the Colloseum. (Colloseo stop on the metro). If you stay somewhere near via Cavour, it's a simple walk either up the street to Stazione Roma Termine, or down the street to via dei Fori Imperiali to the bus stop. If I remember correctly, the 35 bus will get you practically anywhere you'd want to go, except perhaps the Apian Way.

Finally, I wouldn't necessarily avoid restaurants that display a "menu touristica," but simply avoid ordering from that menu. I've had some terrific lunches at those types of places--particularly around the Piazza Venezia and the Vatican--by simply playing to the restaurant's strength. Nobody--in my experience--makes bad pasta all'Amatriciana in Rome.

Oh yes, and a question for the group: Is Sora Lella still around? It's a restaurant on an island in the middle of the Tiber. I can't remember how we got there, but we had a superb meal there five or six years ago. If indeed it's still there, I'd recommend it heartily.

Best regards,

Skip Lombardi

http://www.skiplombardi.com

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Thanks for the information!  This is exactly what I wanted to know, I appreciate it.

I mentioned to my husband what you said about the "cost no object" restaurants starting to lean towards French.  He said he would love to hear about a couple of those, and that maybe we can hit one French-influenced place and one more traditional Italian.

I feel like I am learning a lot in this thread and I am betting there are more like it in this forum.  I'll do a search, but if anyone has any specific thread to recommend, I'd appreciate it!

I don't agree much on the definition on top Italian places as "French", and I think a great explanation of why this is so can be found in this post by chef Cesare Lanfranconi on the DC board. Still, this is a recurring discussion here on eGullet and one where everyone tends to stick to their opinion :smile: .

For top of the range places in Rome two tips:

-La Pergola of the Hotel Cavalieri Hilton, serving German chef Heinz Beck's cuisine, considered by the critics as one of the best places in Italy.

-Baby, Don Alfonso's chef Alfonso

Iaccarino new restaurant in Rome.

For more information on Rome take a look at the pinned Rome thread, if you haven't already.

Il Forno: eating, drinking, baking... mostly side effect free. Italian food from an Italian kitchen.
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You'll find some pottery shops (ceramica tipico locale) that rival anything you'll find in Tuscany too.

http://www.skiplombardi.com

Any other recommendations for places that sell pottery, sculpture (I saw someone posted earlier in the thread about wooden sculpture), or other art? I would love to buy some art while I'm there.

Also, I second recommendations for shops that sell wine and other spirits!

Thanks so much.

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These are the places I buy wine in Rome.

It's worth trying a few different places; at some of them you can have a glass of wine and maybe a little salad, or some bread and cheese and salami.

Enoteca del Parlamento, (expensive, a lot of big name stuff)

Buccone (via di Ripetta)

Bleve (via di santa maria del pianto) Ghetto

Casa Bleve (via del teatro valle) (+food)

Also Roscioli -- via dei giubbonari. (near Campo dei Fiori), this is also a cheese shop and a restaurant, but I haven't eaten there.

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These are the places I buy wine in Rome.

....

balex,

do you have any experience with Trimani? I have a few friends who swear it's the best place in Rome.

Last time and only time I was there, years ago following the suggestion of a good friend, I was surprised, positively by the choice, extremely negatively by the prices.

Il Forno: eating, drinking, baking... mostly side effect free. Italian food from an Italian kitchen.
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These are the places I buy wine in Rome.

....

balex,

do you have any experience with Trimani? I have a few friends who swear it's the best place in Rome.

Last time and only time I was there, years ago following the suggestion of a good friend, I was surprised, positively by the choice, extremely negatively by the prices.

No, I have never been there. Maybe I'll pop in, in the interests of research next time.

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I'd also recommend a trip to Orvieto, with a special exhortation to visit the museo archeologico and ask the ladies working there to see the Etruscan tomb paintings. They're kept in a special climate-controlled room that you have to be supervised to see, and they're unbelievably fascinating, almost three millennia old. Also check the shop on the piazza where the Duomo is and try a bottle of the semi-sweet Orvieto Classico. Not that it's the most amazing wine in the world, but it's definitely something you don't taste anywhere else.

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  • 1 month later...

Are there any particular traditional holiday foods we should look for? Any recommendations on where to get them? We were hoping to hit some great bakeries, cheese shops, sausage shops, gourmet foods shops, etc. We talked to someone about arranging a culinary tour of some of the local favorites, but I'm not sure we can afford it, since it would run 290 euro for the two of us for a 3 hour tour. If we could arrange our own tour, that would be ideal.

Also, any recommendations for simple lunch fare and coffee?

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  • 4 years later...

Any updates on these recommendations - particularly for shopping for food?

Is the Monday before Christmas a good day for the market at Campo Dei Fiori? Apart from cheese, salumi, etc, what are the seasonal delicacies or specialities one should be looking for?

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The food market at the Campo is pretty touristy; head to the Testaccio market if you're seriously shopping for ingredients. David Downie's "Food Wine Rome" (2009, part of the Terrior series) is worth buying; it's not just a compendium of restaurants, but also food & wine shops, coffee bars, pastry shops, chocolatiers, and gelateria. You could certainly plot out several interesting & tasty walks based on his recs. The book is organized by neighborhood/area, with addresses & general directions.

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Thanks for the tip Hungry C - you were right about Testaccio market, it's the real thing and we filled the bags with Roman artichokes, puntarella, several kilos of parmesan (which will be appreciated as a present), etc, etc.

Nearby Volpetti (mentioned elsewhere) has to be one of the great food shops of Europe. No serious food lover should miss this when in Rome.

There were so many things in both places which are impossible to find here - even in a city like Brussels which has its own strong food culture. Quality is above reproach. The do-it-yourself airfreight worked well (most things went into the bags in the hold). Notwithstanding Ryanair's long delays, everything arrived in top condition in our kitchin shortly after midnight.

Some of the Italians with whom I work will travel to Rome every year for their Christmas food shopping, although they have lived most of their lives outside Italy. Now I start to understand why they go there each December with empty cases.

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