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24 hours in Rome – How much can I eat?

Rome Food Tour

The way to a (wo)man’s heart is through her stomach, am I right?

And what better place to go look for it than in Italy!

A few months ago, I was invited to speak about blog things at TBDI in Rimini, and I decided to take the chance to explore a little bit of Rome, by following my nose!

With exactly 24 hours in what might be called the greatest city in the world, I opted to ignore tradition and try something new – explore the markets and go on a food tour with Walks of Italy.

Rome Food Tour

Just las summer I joined in on a Walks of Italy food tour in Florence that I adored, and it really opened my eyes to a new way to travel, well, new for me at least. Food travel.

Personally I am a big believer in learning about a destination through food. Food can explain so much about a place, if you open your eyes, nose and mouth to it.

Food is also a way to understand locals, what makes a population tick if you please. From portion sizes, principal ingredients, meal hours and styles, for those perceptive enough of us, you can really learn a lot about a place through food.

Rome Food Tour

Food tours also tend to drag you out of the most population tourist traps and into the abyss that is a “real” city, and Rome is no exception. With only 24 hours in town, the last thing in the world I wanted to deal with was heaps of idiot tour groups, lines and inflated entrance costs.

Give me some espresso, markets, more espresso and all the food I could ever want to eat and more and call me happy.

Rome, show me what you got!

Rome Food Tour

Rome Food Tour

Up early for the market, which let’s be honest here, being “early” in Italy doesn’t exactly mean “early” by our sense of the word, which was fine by me. With an empty tummy apart from an obligatory wake-up cappuccino (when in Rome HA! Sorry, can’t help myself) I set off to me the small group in Campo dei Fiori.

I was ready to eat!

I am not one of those bloggers who Instagrams nothing but recipes and expensive meals fit for 3 people all while wearing size 0 skinny jeans. I was raised to eat what’s in front of me, and that’s what I do when on the road, especially in Italy.

That means leggings and flow-y dresses on food tour days! No waistlines for this blogger!

Rome Food Tour

I think one of the things I miss the most about living in Europe is cheap, daily market fresh fruits and veggies. I used to love going out and picking up what I would need a few times a week, becoming a “regular” at certain stands, chatting with the locals about this and that. Even going out and buying your bread DAILY.

I won’t go into it here, but let’s just say I could probably have bought my own vintage mint green Vespa by now with the amount of money I am dropping on fresh fruits and veggies here in New Zealand. Honestly, the price difference is SHOCKING.

I am not exaggerating – I spent over $30 yesterday to buy ingredients for guacamole. WTF?!

Rome Food Tour

Rome Food Tour

Something else I love about these kinds of markets is that the food really is sold to season. If it’s not artichoke season, you don’t see artichokes.

Maybe I’m turning into a hippy or a hipster (which is it?) but I really love the farm-to-table trend and *actually* getting as close as possible to the origins of your food. America, we need to step on board with this.

Picking up a tomato or an onion and still seeing the dirt on it makes me secretly happy. It’s almost ruined me in a weird way because whenever I go home to the prepackaged, sterilized American grocery stores, all the food looks plastic and flavorless.

And don’t even get me started on the fungi.

Does anyone feel the same way or is it just me that prefers dirty veggies?

Rome Food Tour

It’s hard to chose a favorite memory from olive oil and balsamic vinegar tasting to trying all the cured meats and stinky cheeses….

Nope, can’t pick a favorite.

Again, cured meat might be one of the staples I miss the most outside southern Europe. Who knew I would grow up loving this salty, kinda gross-looking and smelling dish?

Rome Food Tour

Rome Food Tour

After trying and tasting so many local snacks, staples and signature dishes, who would have thought there would be room for lunch?

But oh no, I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to make my own pizza. If you are going to make your own pizza, there is only one place to do it, and that’s Rome.

After a few failed attempts to toss the dough as high as possible, I passed it on to the experts and picked out my ingredients. There’s no such thing as too much cheese on pizza, right?

Rome Food Tour

Rome Food Tour

Looking back on this trip, I am so happy I decided to skip the hustle and bustle of Rome’s main tourist attractions and instead explore the back streets like a local and get a completely different feel for such a magnificent place.

The markets, restaurants, pizzerias, cafes, butchers and gelato shops in Rome all deserve attention. If you want to see a different side of a famous place and get to travel using your other senses, why not try something like a food tour.

And after all, who doesn’t love to eat? Especially in Italy!

Have you ever been to Rome? Would you like to go on a food tour in Italy?

Rome Food Tour

Rome Food Tour

Many thanks to Walks of Italy for hosting me in Rome. Like always I’m keeping it real – all opinions are my own, like you could expect anything less from me!

67 Responses to 24 hours in Rome – How much can I eat?

  1. Lucy March 29, 2014 at 12:35 am #

    Ah! The pizza looks amaaazing! And I live in Italy now so I know 😉 although… I was kind of supposed to be giving up bread, and thus by default pizza, for the rest of Lent (I’m slow to the table) …not sure I’ll be able to now, I have serious cravings.
    I’ve now been inspired to check out any food tours in Milan – hopefully will get onto one before I leave! xxx

    • Liz March 29, 2014 at 10:31 am #

      HOW CAN YOU GIVE UP BREAD IN ITALY?!

  2. Mike of Mapless Mike March 29, 2014 at 1:09 am #

    The food in Rome is delicious. It’s one of my favorite places that I’ve been to. I’m really looking forward to living in Spain and getting away from the plastic, sterilized American grocery stores that you described. I like buying fresh, in-season food that has the dirt on it because that’s what we’re supposed to eat, no? Also, your pictures are making me incredibly hungry!

    • Liz March 29, 2014 at 10:31 am #

      I got so hungry writing this haha

  3. Rachel of Hippie in Heels March 29, 2014 at 1:21 am #

    YUM! I’d really like to go on a food tour like that.

    • Liz March 29, 2014 at 10:31 am #

      It’s really cool, such a great way to experience Rome!

  4. Lyddiegal March 29, 2014 at 2:39 am #

    I was in Rome once, and did not eat nearly enough! I think you are right about being able to buy fresh veggies from local places with the dirt still on them. Tomatoes were not meant to be shrink wrapped.
    Your pizza looks delish as well! Never too much cheese!

    • Liz March 29, 2014 at 10:31 am #

      All the cheese!

  5. Travel&Lust March 29, 2014 at 3:41 am #

    So glad you enjoyed the culinary activities in Rome! You are absolutely right,the food in the Mediterranean is amazing! It´s almost hard to not eat healthy with all of those yummy fruits and vegetables in the markets.

    • Liz March 29, 2014 at 10:32 am #

      I know, I miss it so much!

  6. Pauline March 29, 2014 at 3:56 am #

    O.M.G. I need to go back to Rome and make sure I sign up for a food tour when I’m there…

    • Liz March 29, 2014 at 10:32 am #

      Yes you do!

  7. Adrianne Robins March 29, 2014 at 4:20 am #

    It’s so astonishing how beautiful countries are, great nature and food! ;P

    • Liz March 29, 2014 at 10:32 am #

      Exactly, well put!

  8. Chelsea Alventosa March 29, 2014 at 5:52 am #

    Wow looks so delicious!!! I need to go back to Italy now that I’m a “more seasoned” traveler and dig into the parts that I didn’t see when I was 19. Also that is WHACK about the guac ingredients!!! And I’m too stingy to buy avocados here in Spain… thank god I didn’t choose an expensive country.

    • Liz March 29, 2014 at 10:33 am #

      The avocados were over $10 by themselves, I hate food here, so expensive. I spend around $100 a week on groceries in NZ, it’s absurd.

  9. Erika March 29, 2014 at 9:33 am #

    Oh my gosh, a food tour in Italy sounds like heaven on EARTH! Bring on the stretchy clothing, bring it ON!

    • Liz March 29, 2014 at 10:33 am #

      hahaha you sound just like me 😀

  10. NZ Muse March 29, 2014 at 12:48 pm #

    Oh, Italy….

    Some of the best food I’ve ever had in my life was in Rome. Sigh.

    • Liz March 30, 2014 at 11:31 am #

      I know, I miss it too

  11. Kaelene @Unlocking Kiki March 29, 2014 at 9:41 pm #

    Yum all the food in Rome is just amazing and this sounds like such a fun experience!

    • Liz March 30, 2014 at 11:32 am #

      It was too cool!

  12. Grace March 29, 2014 at 10:30 pm #

    This was a great read, thanks! I’m hoping to travel to Rome in June and you’ve definitely convinced me that a food tour is a great way to see the city (not that I needed much convincing, haha). My mouth is watering just looking at that pizza!

    • Liz March 30, 2014 at 11:33 am #

      IT WAS SO GOOD! Rome is super touristy, and for a good reason, but I definitely recommend experiencing the city through food

  13. Marie @Budgeting for Travel March 29, 2014 at 11:04 pm #

    I really love Rome, I read lots of good reviews in Rome. Wow, your pizza is very mouth watering! I’m a big fan of pizza, I tried to taste the different type of pizzas.

    • Liz March 30, 2014 at 11:33 am #

      pizza pizza pizza

  14. Sam March 30, 2014 at 12:08 am #

    I absolutely agree with you about the dirty vegetables. It’s weird how we are so dissociated from where our food comes from: it’s one thing buying pre-killed, pre-packaged meat without a sense of which part of the animal it comes from (which I don’t think is healthy either), but not having any sense that the vegetables you’re buying actually grew in the ground is just…wrong, in my opinion! Give me some dirt on my potatoes, please! Anyway, this food tour looks amazing! Since food tours are my new favourite thing, this is definitely one I’d like to try!

    • Liz March 30, 2014 at 11:34 am #

      totally agree on everything!

  15. Jen March 30, 2014 at 2:02 am #

    Great post Liz! Reading this has made me hungry. This is something I really wished I have done in Italy. It has been my favourite country for food so far in my travels.

    • Liz March 30, 2014 at 11:34 am #

      Understandably! Italy rocks!

  16. Melissa March 30, 2014 at 9:22 am #

    This post has made be super excited about going back to Italy at the end of April! Amazing photos. I’ve been to Rome before but never did a food tour! In April I’m going to Milan. Hopefully they have a food tour as well – I would love to try it!

    • Liz March 30, 2014 at 11:35 am #

      I don’t know if Walks of Italy has food tours in Milan but they have other ones that are awesome. I’ve done 3 tours with them this year and they rock 🙂

  17. Kayla March 30, 2014 at 10:09 am #

    I have never been on a food tour but I think Italy is the place to go for a food tour! That pizza looked so delicious!!!! Thank you for sharing. Keeping food tours in mind when I travel next.

    • Liz March 30, 2014 at 11:35 am #

      I love going on food tours!

  18. Polly March 30, 2014 at 12:21 pm #

    That is one good looking pizza. I usually shy away from green stuff, but I love veggies in Italy. Maybe it was just being there during a summer when it was too hot to eat anything but salad and fruit, but I swear they taste better and fresher than even the produce I get at farmer’s markets in the US. Would love to spend more time in Rome as well!

    • Liz March 31, 2014 at 6:44 pm #

      Agreed, love the Italian veggies 😀

  19. Sharon Loh March 30, 2014 at 3:44 pm #

    AHHH Look at that pizza!!! And the fresh fruits!!! And the bread!
    Everything in Italy looks tempting, huh?

    Can’t wait for my turn! 😉

    • Liz March 31, 2014 at 6:45 pm #

      I hope you get over there soon!

  20. Amanda March 30, 2014 at 3:45 pm #

    Grrr, I was totally supposed to do this delicious food tour when I was in Rome last summer. But unfortunately I was there in late August, when nearly every family in Italy goes on vacation. Meaning that many of those family-run restaurants and stalls were closed, and therefore Walks of Italy didn’t run any of their food tours. I was sooooo bummed. I totally want to do this next time!

    • Liz March 31, 2014 at 6:48 pm #

      BUMMER

  21. Christie March 30, 2014 at 5:25 pm #

    Yum – this looks like the best way to spend a day in Rome to me! Italian food = sooooo good. I have spent a few days in Rome but it was overshadowed by my luggage being stolen, never to be seen again. I don’t hold a grudge, so I am hoping to get back there one day in the not too distant future, and a food tour like this surely looks like a great way to spend time there!

    • Liz March 31, 2014 at 6:59 pm #

      Omg that sucks!

  22. Alison March 30, 2014 at 8:15 pm #

    While 24 hours is definitely not enough time for Rome, I think your itinerary was the best way to spend it! I know that cruise boats that go through the Mediterranean try to cram in all the Roman sites in one day, which sounds crazy to me! But you have managed to see the city in a very unique way!

    • Liz March 31, 2014 at 7:03 pm #

      Yeah, I’ve been to Rome, 24 hours is definitely not enough but this time I wanted to try something different 🙂

  23. Charlie March 30, 2014 at 9:30 pm #

    The food in Rome is incredible. I always put on so much weight each time I go but it is SO completely worth it! In my opinion you certainly made the right choice on how to spend your day in Rome.

    • Liz March 31, 2014 at 7:03 pm #

      I feel so fat when I’m there too!

  24. Em March 31, 2014 at 7:11 am #

    Oh my goodness this all looks and sounds amazing – the stinky weird meat is the best. I went to a local produce market thing today in my hometown and there was a cured meat stand wow so much deliciousness!

    I am hoping to go to Rome this year and as I will be travelling solo I might have to get myself involved with the food tour it sounds like an amazing way to get to know about a city and like you mentione what better way to get to know the place and the people that what they eat? After all who doesn’t love to eat 🙂

    Hope it’s ok to share this post on my fave links post today.
    x

    • Liz March 31, 2014 at 7:05 pm #

      Loved cured meat!

  25. Kelly March 31, 2014 at 9:17 am #

    I went to Rome two summers ago and my sister and I loved wandering and finding little restaurants not a part of the main tourist traps and found delicious food. Also, I have celiac’s so it was awesome to pretty much be able to go up to any restaurant and say that since Romans are very knowledgable about gluten free…plus the food was awesome!

    • Liz March 31, 2014 at 7:05 pm #

      Yeah I was surprised how with it they are in Italy about gluten free 😀

  26. Trevor Huxham March 31, 2014 at 10:19 pm #

    Ugg these pictures are heart-breakingly beautiful…everything looks natural, real, and just how I remembered things when I was in Rome for the first time back in December. I want a slice of that pizza you made yourself–it looks DELISH.

  27. Satu VW / Destination Unknown April 1, 2014 at 3:20 am #

    I’m heading to Italy in the end of April and again in May, and I can’t wait to eat (and drink) my way through the country!!! The one shocker about being back in Norway is that the quality of the fresh produce is not the best (in the supermarkets, that is), hence it is nice to have something tasty to look forward to! 😉

  28. John Ditta April 2, 2014 at 7:18 am #

    this might be strange to say but when I went to Italy I didn’t like the pizza as much as back home? aha

    • Liz April 2, 2014 at 6:32 pm #

      woah no way! That’s sacrilege!

  29. Sofie April 3, 2014 at 3:08 am #

    I would loooove a tour like that. And I’d probably gain a few pounds on it:D

    • Liz April 3, 2014 at 2:39 pm #

      pack stretchy pants!

  30. Sarah April 4, 2014 at 5:19 am #

    I too like my veggies dirty! 🙂 Yumm, this post makes me want to hop over to Italy and eat. I think I just might do that! In leggings, of course 😉

    • Liz April 7, 2014 at 2:49 pm #

      leggings are key 😀

  31. Charlotte April 9, 2014 at 12:57 pm #

    I leave for Italy this Friday for the very first time — my stomach is so excited it’s unheard of. When I found out there were cooking classes available at this farm I’m staying at, I was over the moon! I can’t wait to start blogging about all the food I am going to consume over these next 5 weeks!

  32. Hamish Healys April 9, 2014 at 5:49 pm #

    I’d love to go to Rome, Italy but you know what? … Food would probably be the farthest thing in my mind.

  33. Nicole April 17, 2014 at 6:15 am #

    Have you tried the pizza in Napoli??? It’s amazing!!! If you haven’t you need to 🙂

    • Liz April 18, 2014 at 2:26 pm #

      I have but about a million years ago!

  34. MACH May 8, 2014 at 12:21 am #

    Great photos and sounds like a cool experience. Thanks for sharing.

  35. Rachel April 22, 2015 at 9:11 am #

    Love a good food blog! Especially about one of our fave countries in Europe! We are returning this year to EAT some more! Great pics by the way! 🙂

  36. Valeria @ Rome, New York, London, World May 22, 2015 at 5:16 am #

    So glad you loved Roman food! I’m from there, now living in London and I miss it SO much!

  37. Anya August 10, 2015 at 12:34 am #

    Food tour in Rome – sounds perfect for pizza lovers like me 🙂 And not just a pizza, everything on this pictures looks tasty, even flowers.

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