Before heading to Florence, my friends and I decided to go on a tour. If you’re in Rome, I highly recommend going on an Eating Italy food tour (http://www.eatingitalyfoodtours.com). They provide several different tours and it’s well worth it. We went on the 1/2 day tour in a working class / emerging hipster neighborhood, Testaccio. Testaccio has a fascinating history from antiquity to modernity, all of which your guides present in a cogent and engaging way.Throughout the day, you eat a lot of delicious food. One tip: If you get to the meeting point a little early, there’s a great little cafe where you can a coronet + capuccino for 1.50 Euro total. And yes, it’s good.
During the tour, you also get a chance to see some of the interesting sites in the neighborhood, including part of a castle, a pyramid, and a cemetery for non-Catholics.
As you walk around, the guides also provide background information about the history of the neighborhood. Even in antiquity, Testaccio was a food trading hub for Rome. And so, meat would get slaughtered, oil sold, food made, etc. Because of this, hundreds of thousands of amphorae were broken down and neatly piled up once they were no longer usable. Over time, the amphorae built up, forming a mountain of amphorae. Thus, today, the sign of the neighborhood is an amphora.
We also learned a few misc. things like, don’t buy water in Rome, you can drink from the fountains and how to identify fake vs. real gelato. Apparently for some people, gelato is the fifth food group…. but regardless, once you know how to identify the fake stuff, it’s shocking how few places actually serve real gelato!
And representing while on the tour, came across this flyer… representing Kazakhstan. 🙂
After it was over, we all agreed that we wished we had done the food tour first (although come to think of it, I don’t think it was offered on Sunday or else it was full… hm). Luna, our guide, had a lot of great suggestions for eateries in # of different areas and it’s always interesting to meet fellow travelers. Like I said, well worth spending a 1/2 day with Eating Italy food tours.