How Not To Behave Like A Glutton In Rome

by Matt on October 30, 2009


We’ve just returned from a quick trip to Rome. It was an amazing adventure filled with food, wine, stellar company and a few amazing side trips that I’ll be blogging about shortly. But in the meantime, please enjoy this guide to not letting your eyes and stomach get the best of you while roaming around the city. Because folks, I only have your best interests in mind and would hate for you to pack on an additional nine pounds  (you read that right) while visiting this amazing city. Let this be a lesson to you and plan accordingly. I happen to do gluttony very, very well. I’m sure the Pope would have something to say about that.

In all sincerity there is pure pleasure in being surrounded by people so passionate about the food of their country.  We were never short of suggestions and everyone was so gracious about explaining what makes their food so special. For me it was an eye-opening experience and one I hope to relive again very soon.

Ignore the Three Dinner Rule

Was it sheer excitement? Stupidity? Taking advantage of a good thing? You decide. But having three dinners in one night might have something to do with it. But could you blame me? With our useful guide and best friend Kristina we found ourselves stopping for pizza on the street, salumi, cheese and wine (with snacks!) and some gelato before ever making it to the restaurant. And then dessert.  I’ve been on Tapas Crawls in Spain before but I really outdid myself here.


Don’t Drink Five Cappuccinos A Day Out Of The Realization That You’ll Never Have Anything So Perfect Ever Again.

And this doesn’t even touch the shots of espresso I had after that. But when you are in a place that does coffee so remarkably well, each drink served with such perfection you can’t say no. And that seems to be the way things go for me in Rome: familiar and comforting but executed perfectly, like a dream where nothing bad happens. That doesn’t mean one is immune from bad food in Rome (a dinner of mediocre pizza confirms this) but chances are you can’t go too wrong with coffee here.  And because of this I’ve been sufficiently caffeinated the entire time. Hallelujah.


Skip Eating Tons Of Gelato For “Research” Purposes.

I’m in the food business. I have a food blog. I owe it to myself to eat as much gelato as possible so that I have a decent point of reference when discussing it with others, right? It was this excuse that I hid behind as I sampled my way through gelaterias across Rome. And while some were significantly better than others I will most likely never tire of ANYTHING. NOCCIOLA. EVER.


Lose Control When Passing Every Pasticceria

You could do what I was not able to do and pass every pastry shop along the way, stopping only when you are hungry for something sweet. Or you could dart into each shop “just because”, picking up a handful of pastries because who knows if you’ll ever see them again. My hands-down favorite was the Plum & Cherry Crostata from Innocenti, flat little tarts of crisp buttery pastry sandwiched around tangy fruit jam.  And those brutti ma buoni cookies were absolute heaven.


Pizza On Every Street Does Not Mean EAT Pizza On Every Street. Or Don’t Let That Supplì Go To Waste.

Pizza Culture in Rome was quite different than what I am used to. Because of this I needed to stop several times throughout the day and sample as much Pizza al Taglio  as I could fit into my mouth. These large, long pieces of pizza are cut to order, depending on how much or little you want. A favorite was Broccoli e Salsiccia and Marinara with anchovies. Wrapped up in paper, these square pieces of pizza would have satisfied my hunger perfectly had I ever been hungry. I never was and I wonder why.


You Needn’t Stop In Every Wine Bar In Rome Just Because You Can.

I told myself that between photographing the ancient ruins and walking for miles that I worked up a wicked thirst that could not be quenched by water but only special grapes that have been pressed, aged, bottled and served in glasses with stems. And my god my little self-lie worked! Each day there were quick visits to local wine bars, some hip and trendy and some just regular spots. I stuck to Italians the entire trip (natch!) and not once made notes of what I drank. Sad, isn’t it? Guess I must return and do it all over again, this time with pencil and paper.


Overloading On Fruits & Vegetables Doesn’t Count As Gluttony. Or Does It?

And that is because they are good for you! And you know what makes them better? When they’re battered and fried.  Let’s just say I became close friends with lots of Fritto Misto. And yes, I’d do it all over again in a second. Now if you’ll excuse me I must unbutton my pants.

Thanks to my friend Kristina for the piggish photo of me licking an anchovy off my lip. More Italy to come shortly!

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{ 85 comments… read them below or add one }

kok aan huis November 3, 2009 at 7:22 am

Your blog is really interesting and funny :-)
I like the fact that you honour the food tradition of Italy.

Elle November 3, 2009 at 12:58 pm

great post and pretty pictures.

J2Kfm November 5, 2009 at 6:03 am

awaiting with bated breath for more glorious shots of yours.
i can almost imagine sensing those whiffs of freshly baked pastries at every corner, melted cheese on those pizzas, and shots after shots of espresso.
keep em coming, Matt. :)
A Malaysian Food Blog

Cooking with Michele November 5, 2009 at 8:27 am

Italy is my favorite country to visit, and Rome is by far my favorite city in the world – I’ve been there half a dozen times and will be returning in April when I take a group to Italy on a culinary adventure. You can read about my trips and see my photos on my travel blog:

Emily November 5, 2009 at 9:02 am

LOVE this post. Great pictures! I’ve always wanted to travel to Italy, mostly to eat and see the sights! Now I really want to go. Oh, I want to go right now.

Tina November 5, 2009 at 9:55 am

I love Rome. Thanks for reminding me how much!

Melanie November 5, 2009 at 1:50 pm

I found out I’m probably going to Rome in January, and then the next day I found your blog (totally unrelated, but still very cool). I’ll be spending the day by myself and then my husband will join me in the evenings. Do you have a list of “must-sees?” I can’t wait to see the rest of your trip!

Anthony Shelley November 5, 2009 at 4:14 pm

Oh my God, I can’t wait to go to Europe! *dies*

hotspot shield November 6, 2009 at 1:36 am

Thank you very much for that splendid article

Megan Gordon November 6, 2009 at 5:20 pm

Nice! Can’t wait for more future posts…beautiful photos. Rome is one city in Italy that I just kind of blazed through…would love to go back!

Not Delia November 7, 2009 at 2:01 am

Wow! I love this fantastic blog. Such tasty food and inspiring photos. I’ll be back for more ideas about how a food blog should look. I’ve never yet been to Rome, although I have been to Italy a couple of times. The food is wonderful, and there are always new flavours to discover – or perhaps just get a bottle of cheap plonk, a great bit of cheese and a good bit of bread for the perfect lunch.

Peter Bagi November 7, 2009 at 1:31 pm

unreal pics dude! Love it.

Kelsey/TheNaptimeChef November 7, 2009 at 7:51 pm

I never, ever get tired of Italy. This post makes me want to go there right now!!

Steve November 8, 2009 at 12:50 am

This post makes me so completely, utterly jealous, but at the same time so happy! I’m glad to see that you had an amazing time. I’ll be sure to not follow any of these rules whenever I finally make it there. :-P

boogie November 8, 2009 at 1:40 am

incredibly stunning photographs! wow!

Jeanne November 8, 2009 at 5:50 pm

I need to go to Rome. Like. Now.

Never mind the fact that I have school. Never mind that I have finals in a month. Your experience there makes me want to study abroad. Actually, now I def want to go to Italy. Ahh!

shauna November 8, 2009 at 11:30 pm

The only reason I didn’t put on nine pounds when we were in Rome is that a) I couldn’t anything with gluten in it (but I wanted to!), and b) we were on our honeymoon.

But looking at this gorgeous post, I think I just gained three.

emma November 9, 2009 at 1:17 pm

You’ve inspired me to travel to Italy now! Your photos are beautiful. Thank you.

Lainey November 9, 2009 at 2:41 pm

those photos are fantastico! i am so hungry now. i would have been disappointed if you ate any less–so good thing you went all the way.

Mary Kate November 10, 2009 at 11:14 am

Rome is beautiful and so is the food! My issues were with gelato, new assortment of flavors almost everyday for 5 months…Yikes!

Luckily, you do a lot of walking in Rome!

The Teacher Cooks November 10, 2009 at 1:14 pm

The post was great! The pictures were better! Thanks for the trip.

glutster November 11, 2009 at 12:23 am

you mean this isn’t commonplace and customary when not visiting a foreign country and having an affinity for food?


no need to say it but will do so anyways, photos…you know what already :)

Beatrice November 11, 2009 at 5:12 pm

I dunno — it sounds like you did everything exactly right. I would be happy to sacrifice myself and handle the pastry-shop investigations if anyone has an extra ticket to Rome.

server jobs rhode island November 19, 2009 at 12:33 am

Good photos! So lively. The recipes you have shared looks good,and it feels like we are in the trip you’ve been through. Looking forward to check more of your post.

david wallen November 23, 2009 at 6:14 am


anna l'americana November 23, 2009 at 9:40 am

You had me with that shot of Via della Scala…….

2friendscooking November 25, 2009 at 3:49 am

Try the gelato in Via dei Gracchi in a tiny shop called Gelateria Gracchi. Very fresh and seasonal! Love your blog!

Culinary Cory November 25, 2009 at 8:23 am

Amazing pictures! And that tart looks wonderful!

Janelle December 7, 2009 at 6:09 am

So glad I read this NOW before the trip to Italy this summer…..though I have to say, living here in Taipei, I may give Rome a run for its money…..

Lauren January 9, 2010 at 1:44 pm

But yet… Romans are pretty thin! Are you sure you were smoking enough?

Harry January 16, 2010 at 8:18 pm

I’m in love with Italy, especially italian food and their passion about food. nice blog you have here, there’s a Gelato Bar near Vatican, the most famous there. you have to visit when u r in Italy.
Molto Bene


This Time Now June 1, 2010 at 3:15 am

Going to Italy on a working vacation, believe me, I’m going to starve myself at least a day before I get on the plane. I can’t wait to go crazy with real Italian food.

Felicia, This Time Now

Fabrizio July 13, 2010 at 12:30 am

Really nice post. I know it’s hard to resist to temptations in Rome. But believe me, cities like naples or catania are even more tempting when walking around. Excellent food is almost thrown to your mouth.
Ciao from a Naepolitan in Rome

Ragge July 23, 2010 at 12:51 pm

My first time on your site (well, the first REAL time) and I just want to say I love his post. Looking forward to exploring the rest!

Nancy October 9, 2010 at 6:48 am

Hee hee, I LOST 3 lbs. in one week in Rome! I had gelato daily…breakfast was pastry. Lots of chocolate…but on the other hand, this was kinda my lunch and dinner! I did have a few decent meals of pasta and wine, but traveling alone I often felt out of place going into a restaurant, hence the sweets and ice cream. (I know, I have to go back with other people next time!).

And I walked 12 miles or so a day. But next time, your way is the way to go–nine lbs. or not.

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